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Across the country, 2020 Democrats appeal to working-class voters

On the 2020 presidential campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden gave his first speech as an official candidate, attempting to appeal to frustrated swing voters and contrast himself with President Trump. Meanwhile, an assortment of other candidates appeared at a union conference in Las Vegas, many of them touting new policy proposals. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As the field of Democratic candidates for president grows, so, too, does the map of states they are visiting.

    Lisa Desjardins takes a look.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Today in Pittsburgh, former Vice President Joe Biden's first speech as a current presidential candidate.

  • Joe Biden:

    The country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers. It was built by you. It was built by the great American middle class.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Choosing his native Pennsylvania, Biden aimed to show he can win with frustrated swing voters.

  • Joe Biden:

    If I'm going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it's going to happen here. It's going to happen here.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Biden's 2020 Democratic rivals have spent little time in Pennsylvania so far. But in Nevada this weekend, a handful of Democrats made similar overtures to working-class voters at a union conference in Las Vegas.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.:

    We must get a $15 minimum wage.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    We're strongest when we stand together.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

    The concerted attacks on organized labor.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Also there, California Senator Kamala Harris and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke. This weekend, O'Rourke also unveiled a 10-year $5 trillion climate change plan that aims to get the U.S. to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. His plan uses an initial government investment to spark private spending.

    Meantime, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker took his Justice For All tour, focused on criminal justice reform, to Florida. Booker is pushing to expand voting rights for felons, something Florida voters approved last year and some in the state legislature are trying to limit.

  • Man:

    Joe is a lot like our firefighters.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But in the endorsement race, Biden scored his first big win, the endorsement of the International Association of Firefighters.

  • Man:

    He's one of the staunchest advocates for working families.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Biden is zeroing in on a key set of 2020 battlegrounds, seeking to rebuild the so-called blue wall, states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, home to many white working-class voters.

    Biden and President Obama won those three states both in 2008 and 2012. But, in 2016, President Trump flipped them red. And Mr. Trump is fighting to keep that bloc. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump held a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He told the manufacturing state that the Japanese prime minister privately pledged to invest billions in new car factories.

  • Donald Trump:

    They're coming back. They want to be back to Ohio, to Pennsylvania.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    And, today on Twitter, Mr. Trump criticized Biden's inaugural speech in Pennsylvania, and said his policies have helped the state, especially its steel industry.

    As the two men spar over Pennsylvania voters, Biden's visit today is likely the first of many visits to the state by both the former vice president and current president.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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