The former vice president is running for president in 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden is leaning on his family tragedy to connect with voters as he once again declares his intention to protect the Affordable Care Act should he be elected president in 2020.

The Democratic presidential hopeful, 76, released a new campaign ad this week called, “Personal,” which draws on the pain he’s endured over the years, and the help his health care provided in easing the burdens.

“I was sworn in to the United States Senate next to a hospital bed,” a stoic Biden says in the clip. “My wife and daughter, they’d been killed in a car crash. Lying in that bedroom, my two surviving little boys. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if we didn’t have the health care they’d needed immediately.”

Biden’s voiceover plays as photos of a young Beau and Hunter Biden in their hospital beds flash. The children were just 4 and 3 years old when they were involved in a 1972 car wreck that killed Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter Naomi.

Joe Biden hospital
Joe Biden
| Credit: Brian Horton/AP/Shutterstock

“40 years later, one of those little boys, my son Beau, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given only months to live,” the voiceover continues. “I can’t fathom what would have happened if the insurance companies had said for the last six months of his life, you’re on your own.”

Beau Biden died in 2015 at age 46, two years after he was first diagnosed with brain cancer.

Biden’s ad continues with him declaring that health care is a “personal” issue to him, considering his family’s history.

“Obamacare is personal to me. When I see the president try to tear it down, and others propose to replace it and start over, that’s personal to me, too,” he says. “We’ve got to build on what we did, because every American deserves affordable health care.”

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Though he did not name names, Biden’s reference to “others” is likely a knock on his Democratic rivals who support Medicare for All, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris.

As his campaign website outlines, Biden wants to protect the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, when he was vice president, and build on it by “giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs and making our health care system less complex to navigate.”

He says he wants to increase the value of tax credits to lower premiums and extend coverage to more working Americans, and expand coverage to low-income Americans.

Still, a poll from Monmouth University released this week said 58 percent of party voters considered it “very important” for the Democrats to nominate someone who supports Medicare for All.

Joe Biden
| Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU

The longtime senator from Delaware’s tragic family history is very public and well-known, though he’s typically shied away from including it in his campaign.

As the New York Times notes, he was uncomfortable when a group that was trying to get him to run for president in 2015 created an ad that focused on his first wife and daughter.

“He has seen the ad and thinks the ad treads on sacred ground and hopes they don’t run it,” a source close to the politician told the Los Angeles Times.

The “Personal” ad will run in Iowa as part of a six-figure media campaign announced last week, according to the New York Times.

As the Democratic National Convention inches closer, polls have shown Biden with a lead over opponents like Sanders and Warren, with a Quinnipiac University poll released this week showing Biden at 32 percent, Warren at 19 percent and Sanders at 15 percent.