NEW HAMPTON, Iowa — Former Secretary of State John F. Kerry endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday, giving Mr. Biden the backing of the Democratic Party’s 2004 presidential nominee and a past winner of the Iowa caucuses in his most significant endorsement to date.
“I believe Joe Biden is the president our country desperately needs right now, not because I’ve known Joe so long, but because I know Joe so well,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement. “I’ve never before seen the world more in need of someone who on Day 1 can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world Donald Trump has smashed apart.”
The Biden campaign announced Mr. Kerry’s endorsement as Mr. Biden began the sixth day of his eight-day “No Malarkey” bus tour in Iowa, which brought him to New Hampton for an event on Thursday morning. The bus tour and endorsement come just two months before the caucuses here in Iowa, where Mr. Biden is scrambling to regain traction after months of slipping in the polls, amid organizational challenges and struggles to generate enthusiasm.
Mr. Kerry will join Mr. Biden in Iowa on Friday and will also campaign with him in New Hampshire on Sunday, the Biden campaign said.
In his own presidential contest, Mr. Kerry, like Mr. Biden, was perceived as a more establishment, centrist figure, and he struggled both nationally and in the early-voting states in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses. But following a major campaign push in the state, he went on to win there with a message focused on electability, and eventually to become the nominee.
In his endorsement, Mr. Kerry cited Mr. Biden’s legislative accomplishments, and in particular, his work on foreign policy as vice president and as a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“He’s the candidate with the wisdom and standing to fix what Trump has broken, to restore our place in the world, and improve the lives of working people here at home,” Mr. Kerry said.
Those remarks come as Mr. Biden is increasingly highlighting his international experience as a way to contrast himself both obliquely with his Democratic rivals, and more overtly with President Trump. His team on Wednesday released a video detailing what they said were Mr. Trump’s “failures” at a NATO leaders summit in London. By Thursday afternoon, it had amassed nearly 8 million views.
In 2008, Mr. Kerry endorsed Barack Obama, bolstering the younger senator’s campaign with the imprimatur of an elder party statesman. This time, Mr. Kerry, 75, is backing a candidate of his generation: Mr. Biden recently turned 77.
Katie Glueck contributed reporting from New York.