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Pelosi becomes latest top Democrat to endorse Biden

Joe Biden with Nancy Pelosi.

US House Of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid, expanding the list of high-profile Democrats who have rallied around the former vice president.

The California Democrat, in video remarks, said Mr Biden offers “hope and courage, values, authenticity and integrity”.

She said he would be a “voice of reason and resilience” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Pelosi also cited Mr Biden’s work as President Barack Obama’s vice president during the 2010 health care overhaul and the economic recovery acts after the 2008 financial collapse.

Her support was not unexpected now that Mr Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee to take on President Donald Trump in November.

Still, her backing ratifies Mr Biden’s contention that he is the party’s best chance to keep the House majority and regain Senate control from Republicans.

Ms Pelosi spearheaded Democrats’ midterm House victories in 2018, when Democrats won more than 40 Republican-held seats to take the majority and hand Ms Pelosi a second turn as the first woman speaker in US history.

Mr Biden argued that Democrats succeeded in the 2018 midterms because they did not move too far to the left in historically Republican-leaning districts.

Ms Pelosi has said repeatedly that Democrats win when they recruit candidates who “fit their district”.

The approach has exposed both Mr Biden and Ms Pelosi to criticism from Democrats’ left flank.

Both argue against the “Medicare for All” single-payer insurance proposal advance by progressive Democrats, including Mr Biden’s former primary rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Biden counter with the argument that winning elections is the way to advance liberal policies.

In the case of health care, their preferred next step is a “public option” government insurance plan that would compete with, but not replace private insurers.

Mr Sanders and Ms Warren have both previously endorsed Mr Biden.

Later, Mr Biden also received an endorsement from House progressive leader Pramila Jayapal.

Ms Jayapal, who had previously backed Mr Sanders for president, noted she has “not always agreed with Vice President Biden on matters of policy”. Yet she struck a pragmatic bottom line about the prospects of a second Trump term.

“Any progress toward a better future requires defeating him this November,” Ms Jayapal, 54, said in her own statement.

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