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Joe Biden heads to Philadelphia to give pitch on uniting the country

ABC News logo ABC News 5/18/2019
Joe Biden holding a sign: Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a rally with members of a painters and construction union, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Henderson, Nev. © AP Photo/John Locher Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a rally with members of a painters and construction union, Tuesday, May 7, 2019, in Henderson, Nev.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will head to Philadelphia Saturday, for the third and final phase of his presidential campaign rollout -- making his pitch to unite the country.

Biden will hold his first campaign rally in Eakin’s Oval near the famous "Rocky steps" of the Philadelphia Art Museum Saturday afternoon.

The rally, which was announced the same day Biden officially entered the race in April, will focus on his vision for “for unifying America with respected leadership on the world stage -- and dignified leadership at home,” according to a press release from the campaign, and is seen as an unofficial bookend to the campaign launch.

a man holding a sign: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden pauses while speaking at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, May 13, 2019. © Brian Snyder/Reuters Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden pauses while speaking at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, May 13, 2019.

The rally will be much larger than Biden’s previous events in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. A campaign official told ABC News that a crowd of 2,000 is expected at the event.

The campaign has placed a heavy focus on Philadelphia as the "birthplace of American democracy," and announced Thursday the city will also be home to their headquarters.

(MORE: Joe Biden tells South Carolina voters he 'must defeat' Donald Trump)

“Philadelphia is a thriving city and a testament to the American spirit, built by the ingenuity and tenacity of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Its storied history and celebrated diversity will serve as an inspiration for Team Biden, and is the ideal setting to continue our fight for the soul of this nation,” Biden’s campaign manager Greg Shultz said in a press release announcing the headquarters.

Both Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were born in the key swing state that will be vital for any Democrat taking on Trump to win in 2020, and a Quinnipiac poll out this week indicates Biden has strong appeal among Democrats in the Keystone State. Biden took the top spot in the poll, with 39% of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania naming the former vice president as their preferred candidate. The poll also found Biden beat Trump in a head-to-head in a match-up in the state, 53% to 42%.

Since announcing his presidential run on April 25, Biden has focused his message on why he decided to run -- his view that the country is in a battle for the soul of America, and restoring the middle class as the backbone of the economy.

A campaign official tells ABC following the rally Saturday, the campaign will shift to a new phase -- focusing on Biden’s policy proposals, and what he will do as president.

The rollouts will give “specifics of the policies that Vice President Biden has believed in and has fought for his entire career and will make the centerpiece of a Biden White House,” according to the official.

(MORE: Biden defends saying he has 'the most progressive record of anyone running')

After Biden’s rally Saturday, the former vice president will travel to Tennessee, Florida and Texas in the coming weeks -- three states President Donald Trump won in 2016. Biden’s full schedule for those trips has yet to be announced.

Since getting into the race, Biden has taken the top spot all polls of the Democratic field, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker.

Biden has maintained he will ‘not speak ill of a fellow Democrat,’ but his frontrunner status has put a target on his back from his fellow Democrats. Biden has faced criticism from his opponents on issues from criminal justice reform, to climate change -- a sign of what could come in the Democratic debates next month.

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