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Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden’s quest for the presidency

The former first lady was unexpectedly beaten by Donald Trump in the 2016 contest after winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College.

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Hillary Clinton (Evan Agostini/AP)

Hillary Clinton (Evan Agostini/AP)

Hillary Clinton (Evan Agostini/AP)

Hillary Clinton has endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy.

Her backing on Tuesday continues Democrats’ unification efforts ahead of an autumn campaign against President Donald Trump.

Mrs Clinton announced her support in a virtual town hall meeting with Mr Biden on Tuesday.

As the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Mrs Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to lead a major party’s ticket.

Mrs Clinton and Mr Biden both ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama, who ended up picking Mr Biden as his vice president and Mrs Clinton as his secretary of state.

Mrs Clinton’s unexpected defeat at the hands of Mr Trump in 2016 handed the White House back to the Republicans.

Although she beat Mr Trump by three million votes in the 2016 popular vote, her opponent won comfortably in the all-important Electoral College by taking several key states, notably in the Rust Belt.

“Just think of what a difference it would make right now if we had a president who not only listened to the science … but brought us together,” said Mrs Clinton.

“Think of what it would mean if we had a real president,” Mrs Clinton continued, rather than a man who “plays one on TV”.

Mr Biden, as a former vice president and six-term senator, “has been preparing for this moment his entire life”, said Mrs Clinton, a former secretary of state.

“This is a moment when we need a leader, a president like Joe Biden.”

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President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

AP/PA Images

President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

Mr Biden has pledged to select a woman as his vice president.

Her endorsement is the latest example of leaders from across the Democratic spectrum rallying behind Biden.

In recent weeks, Mr Biden has picked up support from former president Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and leading progressives such as Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Hillary Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, has not yet publicly endorsed Mr Biden and has kept a lower profile during the Trump era.

The swift unification around Mr Biden stands in stark contrast to four years ago, when Hillary Clinton was unable to win over a significant portion of the electorate’s left flank.

Mr Sanders battled her to the end of the primary calendar and waged a bitter fight over the party platform before endorsing her and campaigning for her in the autumn.

Hillary and Bill Clinton have argued that Mr Sanders’ push deeply wounded her campaign against Mr Trump.

PA