One day after announcing his re-election bid, President Joe Biden is releasing his first full ad for the 2024 cycle.
Titled “Flag,” it’s the first of two ads the Biden campaign says it will put out in the next two weeks through a seven-figure ad buy.
The 90-second ad — which runs for the next week on national cable channels in six battleground states, not including Florida — presents Biden as America’s defender of democracy.
It indirectly alludes to Gov. Ron DeSantis and more explicitly references former President Donald Trump as authoritarian threats, though neither are mentioned by name.
“Flag” opens with a shot of its namesake, the American stars and stripes, and doesn’t go longer than 10 seconds without again showing it.
“As the sun rises, we raise the flag — a symbol of all that we hold most dear as Americans. Courage, opportunity, democracy, freedom: they’re the values and beliefs that built this country and still beat in our hearts,” a narrator says.
The ad’s tone then grows darker as a four-second series of clips show rioters storming the U.S. Capitol. While there is no shortage of “Trump: Make America Great Again” flags shown on screen, only one American flag appears during the segment, and it’s an altered version.
The ad then intersperses bright shots of Biden at work in the Oval Office and delivering speeches, abortion rights protesters and voters with somber, dimmer images of children being led from a school after an attack and parents at a post-shooting memorial.
“Joe Biden has made defending our basic freedoms the cause of his presidency: the freedom for women to make their own health care decisions, the freedom for our children to be safe from gun violence, the freedom to vote and have your vote counted, for seniors to live with dignity and to give every American the freedom that comes with a fair shot at building a good life,” the narrator says.
“In small towns and big cities, we raise our heads, our eyes, our hearts, for America — for the idea of this great country. Joe Biden is running for re-election to make certain that the sun will not set on this flag. The promise of American democracy will not break.”
Biden then speaks for the first time in the ad.
“Democracy must not be a partisan issue,” he says. “It’s an American issue. As your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being and I’m asking every American to join me.”
Then the narrator returns: “For freedom, for democracy, for America — Joe Biden.”
“Flag” follows a three-minute launch video Biden released Tuesday. The target states and markets are Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona; Atlanta; Detroit, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint-Saginaw in Michigan; Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre-Scranton in Pennsylvania; and Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison in Wisconsin.
“The media-buying strategy reflects a campaign that’s optimizing for reach — buying across a broader set of markets to go deeper into states and reach more voters,” a Biden campaign press note said. “The campaign will release its second ad next week.”