(CBS) - With the midterm elections just seven months away, Vice President Joe Biden's campaign-era Twitter handle, @JoeBiden, is being reincarnated by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to help support their candidates across the country.
The vice president will continue to maintain his official handle, @VP, for the official business of the vice presidency. The campaign handle, with 550,000 followers, has nearly twice the following of the official handle, however.
Although the account will be run mostly by the DNC - Biden will add a postscript of "-Joe" to the missives he sends out himself - it will be an opportunity to the vice president to build his presence on social media ahead of a possible 2016 bid of his own.
Biden is also taking the lead on the DNC's new Voter Expansion Project, which aims to promote voter registration, participation, and accurate vote counts for all registered voters. On the same day as the Twitter handle was put back into use, the Democrats released a video of Biden talking about the history of bipartisan voting rights legislation.
"I've got to tell you, if someone had said to me 10 years ago that I'd have to make a pitch for protecting voting rights today, I would have said 'you got to be kidding," Biden says in the video. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted part of the Voting Rights Act "opened the floodgate to voter suppression," he says.
Biden has been one of the administration's most enthusiastic voices in favor of congressional legislation to restore the full weight of the landmark 1965 legislation,speaking out on the issue at several events already this year. Several states have already moved to change their voting laws, including some that used to have to seek permission from the federal government to do so.
Opponents of voter ID laws say they suppress turnout among typically Democratic voting groups like minorities and students, while proponents insist they are needed to prevent voter fraud (though there is little evidence of such problems).
In the video, Biden urges supporters to sign a petition in favor of voter expansion.
The vice president continues to work on a range of issues that will be relevant to the Democrats in the midterms, including the expansion of educational opportunity. At an event Monday, he announced that the administration will take steps to make it easier for community college students to get academic credit for apprenticeships in business and industry, which also dovetails with a revamp of the federal job-training program that he is spearheading.
Biden also joked that his wife's profession as an educator has deepened his appreciation for their work.
"I thank you for what you do and I mean that sincerely. Jill is probably right, I think I'd have the same attitude did I not sleep with a community college professor every night, he quipped.
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Posted by Melissa Brunner