First lady Biden leaves president behind to hit campaign trail on his behalf in Pittsburgh

 November 10, 2023

Given President Joe Biden's advanced age and apparent decline in physical and mental capabilities, First Lady Jill Biden has assumed a leading role on the campaign trail of his 2024 re-election bid to make up for his limitations.

On Wednesday, that involved the first lady leaving the president behind to travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to highlight the progress of a White House initiative in that area, Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review reported.

That was just one of numerous solo trips already made by Jill Biden, likely with many more to come, on behalf of Joe Biden to tout his supposed accomplishments, the impact of his policies, and his plans for the future in a prospective second term in office.

Biden's "workforce hub" job-training initiative

In May, the White House announced as part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda that Pittsburgh was one of five cities designated as a regional "workforce hub" that would focus on developing and training workers for future manufacturing and technology jobs.

That initiative utilizes grant funding from different pieces of legislation pushed by the president -- the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act -- to help fuel public-private partnerships involving various stakeholders to build a skilled and "diverse" workforce for the future.

Each of the five hubs has a different focus and specialty, with Pittsburgh's area including advanced manufacturing, bioengineering and robotics, and the development of clean energy resources like batteries, and in addition to fostering the development and training programs the federal funding is also earmarked for improving the infrastructure necessary to support such a workforce, including transportation and water system infrastructure.

Touting the president's accomplishments and future plans

The Tribune-Review reported that First Lady Biden made specific note during her visit of workforce training programs at the Pittsburgh International Airport, a future manufacturing facility in New Kensington, and the Community College of Allegheny County, which reportedly have already helped the region expand its labor force.

Joined by Labor Secretary Julie Su, Biden delivered brief remarks and said, "Businesses are growing. Jobs are coming back. Unemployment is at a record low. Buildings are going up. And, young people are on the path to incredible careers."

"There’s a bright, vibrant future ahead of Allegheny County," she asserted and later added that the progress seen was "All because Joe is investing in Pittsburgh" as she proceeded to clearly campaign in support of her husband's re-election.

Biden campaign views First Lady as a "secret weapon" to be strategically deployed

In January, Bloomberg News reported that the American people could "expect to see a lot more of" First Lady Jill Biden over the coming year as President Biden's re-election campaign intended to deploy her as a "secret weapon" in terms of serving as both a personal adviser and a surrogate on the president's behalf.

The plan banked on the fact that Jill Biden fared far better than her husband Joe in terms of public approval and favorability and was generally well-liked -- or at least not hated -- by most Americans and would be successful in touting the president's accomplishments and agenda to build support and raise funds on behalf of the campaign.

In June, the Associated Press reported that with school being out and the first lady's job as a community college teacher on hold for the summer break, she kicked the campaign fundraising aspect of her involvement into high gear with a number of solo trips around the nation.

"As she has been for all her husband’s presidential campaigns, she will continue to be a formidable presence on the stump," Elizabeth Alexander, a former top aide to the first lady who is now a senior campaign adviser, told the outlet. "Her warmth and approachability combined with her 30-plus years as a classroom teacher, make her an effective messenger on the campaign trail."

Of course, how effective she truly is as an "active" fundraiser and "asset" for the president on the campaign trail can't be fully judged until the results of the 2024 election, roughly one year away, are fully in.

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