The first television advertisement for President Biden’s re-election campaign aired on Wednesday, an opening salvo that leans heavily on images of the American flag, warns of domestic threats to democracy and repeatedly invokes the word “freedom.”
The Democratic National Committee bought time for the ad, a 90-second spot called “Flag,” to run nationally on MSNBC and to run locally on stations in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Mr. Biden formally entered the race on Tuesday.
The ad purchase is small, a largely symbolic outlay in parts of battleground states and on a liberal news network. The D.N.C. said it was the first of two ads in a two-week, seven-figure purchase.
But its content signals an attempt to reclaim the mantle of patriotism — and the protection of democratic values, stability and rights — for Democrats, even as Republicans accuse them of pursuing a radical liberal agenda. The ad also portrays Mr. Biden as Americans’ best defender against “an extreme movement that seeks to overturn elections, ban books and eliminate a woman’s right to choose.”
“In small towns and big cities, we raise our heads, our eyes, our hearts, for America, for the idea of this great country,” the ad says. “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.”
The content and tone of the ad echo Democrats’ messaging in Wisconsin before its high-stakes judicial election early this month. Voters there overwhelmingly supported a liberal candidate for the State Supreme Court who openly backed abortion rights and cast the election as a battle for protection of “rights and freedoms.”
A top Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA, also began a six-figure digital ad campaign in the same six battleground states on Wednesday, the group said. It added that it planned to spend $75 million on advertising in those states.
The word “freedom” appears at least seven times in the D.N.C. ad — including the freedom for children to be safe from gun violence and the “freedom for women to make their own health care decisions.” Like much other messaging from Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders, the ad does not use the word “abortion.”
Former President Donald J. Trump — the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024 — is also not mentioned by name, but the ad does feature video of his supporters at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
The American flags that dotted the first 16 seconds of the ad — placed above suburban houses, fluttering atop the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, set against a backyard soccer game — give way to “Trump 2020” flags being waved by angry supporters.