Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is unveiling a new TV ad in Iowa this week to showcase his record combatting violence against women, according to details shared exclusively with The Daily Beast.
The 60-second spot, which will air on television in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, is part of Biden’s new plan to highlight his efforts to expand on the Violence Against Women Act during his first 100 days in office. It is the newest installment of his $4 million paid media campaign that is running through the caucus early next year. The ad will also be featured on digital platforms YouTube and Hulu across the Hawkeye State.
“Someone like myself who has gone through domestic violence has been physically and mentally broken down,” Chrissy Simonds, a New Hampshire resident, says while recounting a personal story of abuse during a town hall at Colby-Sawyer College in New London earlier this month. “And then one day, you read in the newspaper that a senator you don’t even know is fighting for a bill to be passed to ... provide transitional housing.”
“I was homeless due to domestic violence,” she goes on. “Joe Biden became my hero that day because he didn’t even know me and he was fighting for me and my son.”
The ad, with its emotional underpinnings, is an effort to refocus the conversation on one of Biden’s biggest legislative accomplishments: the passage of VAWA in 1994 as part of the crime bill, for which the former vice president has taken some grief. It’s also part of his broader strategy to speak to one of the most loyal voting constituencies in the party. Democratic primaries are on average 59 percent female.
“The goal for all paid media is to create a long term relationship with voters, and to do that with deeply personal content,” a Biden campaign official told The Daily Beast about the strategy behind the ad. Biden’s “empathy is a key and defining characteristic of who he is and creating ads that are emotional is what’s helping us spread his message,” the official added.
Despite wide popularity, the Violence Against Women Act lapsed earlier this year. The House passed a reauthorization, and last week, Senate Democrats signed on to the companion version. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has so far declined to bring the reauthorization bill to the floor for a vote, leaving the law’s future in doubt.
Biden has not only called for its reauthorization of the law. He is hoping to expand on it once in office. A top priority for Biden, according to senior campaign officials, is to create a comprehensive grant program that would make it easier for victims to retain federal housing subsidies. The proposal would also allocate $5 billion to community organizations to provide cash grants to survivors and would amend the tax code to allow individuals to tap into their retirement savings without the standard penalty.
In addition, the former vice president would increase funding for the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to $100 million annually and will invest $20 million per year in creating training programs that would on better investigating and prosecuting sexual assault crimes, with incentive grants law enforcement officials to attend.