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

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale 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 TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection 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 ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema 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.