Joe Biden says 2020 Democratic candidates must secure US science cred

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Biden family took their two young daughters on their first European trip

Vice President Joe Biden has said that Democratic presidential candidates in 2020 must bring home US credibility when it comes to science.

Speaking to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Mr Biden said he was “doing things that nobody else has done” in advancing science.

This would be the main reason for his potential presidential bid, he said.

All of his prospective rivals have promised to act on climate change.

Mr Biden said he was planning to throw his hat in the ring, and would make science his top priority.

“We will fight Omicron with science and speed. We will go toe-to-toe on, and every scientific issue we have before us will be part of our effort to win.”

Mr Biden won a national reputation for his “Science Fair” events, which featured aged-brick-oven-holding events, over the course of his 2008 presidential campaign.

He continued these efforts, working to improve science in the US, and joined other politicians in a push to improve science coverage in the US media.

The Vice President said that on every issue affecting the nation, science and research was “at the heart of the decision-making”.

Mr Biden’s family was at the National Academies in Washington, DC for the event, which was held to “showcase research and innovation” that was done by the US government.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Joe Biden’s wife Jill and daughters Ashley and Ashley (L) with the daughters of US President Barack Obama, Malia and Sasha, during an event at the National Academies

Bill Nye, the “Science Guy”, is among those who believe Mr Biden’s science credentials should give him a leg up in a 2020 presidential bid.

“Joe Biden deserves that chance because he’s done the job on scientific matters, and policies like the automotive fuel standard, and fighting to reduce the number of coal-fired power plants,” he told the BBC.

Science and climate

President Trump, who became US President in January 2017, has made the withdrawal from the Paris climate deal and declared that climate change is a hoax.

This has not stopped him appointing US oil tycoon Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr Pruitt has raised eyebrows by appearing to lack the evidence he needs to make policy decisions.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran for president in 2016, told the BBC he was also planning to run in 2020 but that he was “pretty convinced” that “his leading challenger” for the Democratic nomination would be Mr Biden.

“He’s the only Democrat with any broad appeal to the American people,” said Mr Sanders.

“He understands that the issue of health care is one of the most important issues in this country. In a world in which healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive, what Joe Biden understands is there is no excuse in this country for people to be denied access to healthcare because they cannot afford it.”

News: 2020 Presidential Election

The BBC’s Robert Pigott said many of Mr Sanders’ supporters felt concerned that Mr Biden was too old and did not have a clear route to victory.

“Joe Biden has a very strong record as a senator and vice president, but at 74 he is relatively old. His last primary campaign was in 2008, and any potential run by him in 2020 might not be a surprise considering his family tragedy,” he said.

Mr Sanders said Mr Biden was “totally credible” as a presidential candidate because of his accomplishments, and the main goal of all Democrats campaigning for the 2020 nomination would be to keep the White House out of Republican hands.

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