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How 2020 Democrats are balancing policy with personal connection

Former Vice President Joe Biden has built a sizeable lead over his 2020 Democratic counterparts. But his competition has been hitting the campaign trail hard as well, releasing policy proposals to address the opioid crisis and restructure public education, among other initiatives. One tactic the candidates have in common is contrasting themselves with President Trump. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    We turn to politics now, with the 2020 candidates making their case to voters in early states and, in some cases, beyond.

    In Hampton, New Hampshire, today, Joe Biden laid out what he calls his vision to restore decency and dignity in America, something he says is missing under the leadership of President Trump.

  • Joe Biden:

    We're embracing dictators. The president is embracing oligarchs, poking a finger in the eye of all of our allies as well.

    So it's our example that we have stood for in the past that has allowed the world to unite in the greatest — literally, not figuratively, the greatest alliances in human history.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The former vice president wasn't the only presidential hopeful to hit the trail in early voting states. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker delivered a commencement speech Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University.

  • Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.:

    This is a day that thousands of people have helped to make.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    At a Davenport, Iowa, restaurant, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper called for Democratic unity.

    And in front of hundreds in Las Vegas Nevada, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told the Human Rights Campaign's annual gala that he's concerned about artificial divisions created between groups of voters.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    What I worry about are the very real walls being put up between us, as we get divided and carved up. What every gay person has in common with every excluded person of any kind is knowing what it's like to see a wall between you and the rest of the world and wonder what it's like on the other side.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren veered off the early state trail and into rural red towns, like Chillicothe, Ohio, and Kermit, West Virginia, population 400.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:

    Anyone in here know someone who's been caught in the grips of addiction? Oh, my gosh.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    She spoke with voters, many of whom supported Mr. Trump in 2016, about the impacts of the opioid epidemic in their community, and her proposal to end the crisis.

    Another plan, this one from Julian Castro, the proposal reshapes U.S. public education, calling for universal pre-K, college debt reform, Pell Grant expansion, and a $150 billion investment in public high school infrastructure, all this as the Democratic field keeps growing.

  • Bill De Blasio:

    We will make a final decision this week.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he will make his decision to jump in the race this week. Montana Governor Steve Bullock is widely expected to announce his presidential bid Tuesday.

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