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Former US vice president Biden announces 2020 run for White House

The 76-year-old senior statesman becomes the most experienced and recognised Democrat in the presidential race, a popular former vice president dominating early polls following months - even years - of campaign planning.

Former vice president of the United States of America Joe Biden. Picture: World Economic Forum.

WASHINGTON - Former US vice president Joe Biden announced on Thursday he was running for the White House, positioning the veteran Democrat as a frontrunner among the many candidates seeking to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.

The party's 76-year-old senior statesman became the most experienced and recognised Democrat in the race, a popular former vice president dominating early polls following months - even years - of campaign planning.

In a tweet accompanied by a three-and-a-half minute video, Biden said he could not stand idly by as US President Donald Trump "fundamentally altered the character of this nation".

"The core values of this nation... our standing in the world... our very democracy... everything that has made America - America - is at stake," he wrote in the post.

"That's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

Biden, whose working-class appeal remains intact despite nearly half a century in Washington politics, is seen as a comforting, known quantity for American voters who will be vetting some 20 Democrats now officially in the presidential field.

But recent controversy over his tactile style, particularly with women, could dampen a rollout that he envisioned as the final main entry to the Democratic primary battle.

Even before his official announcement, Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama's vice president, led most surveys of Democratic voters.

The RealClearPolitics poll aggregate puts him as favourite with 29.3% support, followed by independent Senator Bernie Sanders at 23%.

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