Biden at campaign kickoff event: I don't have to be 'angry' to win

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Hill Reporter Rafael Bernal: Biden tries to salvage Latino Support Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report MORE is touting a theme of unity and pushing back on those who may urge Democratic presidential candidates to be "angry" in their bids to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE.

Biden is set to hold a campaign event Saturday in Philadelphia to officially kick off his White House bid, casting himself as a unifier in a crucial swing state that split its popular vote nearly evenly between Trump and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey MORE in 2016.

“Some say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity. That they are angry – and the angrier you are – the better. That’s what they are saying [you] have to do to win the Democratic nomination," Biden will say, according to excerpts circulated by his campaign.

"Well, I don’t believe it. I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That’s what we’ve always been about. Unity,” Biden is expected to say.


While putting the emphasis on unity, Biden is also keeping up the pressure on Trump, bashing him as a ruler with a “hard heart.”

“If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred – they don’t need me. The already have a president who does just that,” Biden will say.

“I am running to offer our country – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – a different path.”

Biden has quickly emerged as the front-runner in the crowded Democratic presidential field, topping every national poll since he announced his White House bid last month and hauling in millions of dollars in donations.

However, he remains dogged by criticism from some on the left over issues such as criminal justice reform and his handling of sexual harassment, with many from the party's progressive flank questioning whether he is the right candidate to lead an increasingly diverse and liberal party.

The former vice president appears set to angle his campaign’s appeal to white working-class voters who traditionally voted Democrat but supported Trump in 2016, a message aimed at winning back Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Biden, a Scranton, Pa., native, is also basing his campaign in Philadelphia. He has repeatedly played up his Pennsylvania roots and "Middle-Class Joe" nickname to suggest he understands the struggles of America’s blue-collar workers.