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'I badly need you': Biden makes impassioned plea to progressive conference

In brief remarks to Netroots Nation, Biden directly asked his party's more liberal voters for their support.
Joe Biden participates in a virtual grassroots fundraiser along his vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware on Aug. 12, 2020.Olivier Douliery / AFP - Getty Images

Joe Biden on Friday delivered an impassioned pitch to a prominent annual progressive gathering, pleading with the leftist wing of the Democratic Party to back him in this fall’s election to defeat President Donald Trump.

Speaking to Netroots Nations, the top annual gathering of progressives, Biden made plain his desire for party unity in November.

“I badly need you, the country needs you,” Biden said in a taped address to this year’s all-virtual gathering.

Biden’s address marked another step in his outreach to the leftist wing, and to the younger voters, of the Democratic Party. He did not attend the group’s annual gathering last year, even after having launched his 2020 bid months earlier.

Biden praised the group’s grassroots members for being “the climate activists,” “the caregivers,” and “the advocates” who first understood that “health care is a right” — but added that their policy objectives can only be achieved if they vote him into office.

“We can do these things, but only if we defeat Donald Trump,” he said.

“Only then can we govern as the most progressive administration since (President Franklin D. Roosevelt),” he added a moment later.

Biden, whose address spanned only a few minutes, was followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a darling of the progressive movement and a finalist to be his running mate, who delivered lengthier remarks and participated in a question-and-answer session with group members.

Warren, however, repeatedly praised Biden during her address, saying that he “is deeply meeting this moment,” praising his selection of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his pick for vice president, and making clear that progressives must support him in the fall.

“Joe Biden is a leader who listens, who builds coalitions,” she said. “There is so much opportunity for progressive victory with Joe Biden.”

Warren also noted that Biden had “embraced the progressive vision” on various issues, including his adoption of her own proposal to bolster bankruptcy protections for people struggling financially — a move the presumptive Democratic nominee made back in March to court progressive voters.