The question of age is catching up with Joe Biden

1) The New York Times ran a story about growing concerns over Biden’s age, 79, on the front page on Sunday – prime real estate. This piece included these blunt lines:

“His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is no longer what it used to be, and some assistants watch him quietly. doesn’t trip over a wire. He trips over the words at public events, and they hold their breath to see if he gets to the end without a blunder.”

2) A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday showed that 64% of voters planning to contest the 2024 Democratic presidential primary said they wanted the party to nominate someone other than Biden. Of the younger voters (aged 18 to 29) in this group, a core part of the party’s coalition, only 5% — not a typo — want the party to reappoint Biden.

3) Asked why they would prefer someone other than Biden, 33% of Democratic primary voters cited his age, while 32% said his job performance. Among Biden’s rough age cohort — those 65 and older — 60% said age was the main reason they wanted Democrats to nominate someone other than president.

These are striking figures that show that this is not just a summer story carried by the media. It’s a legitimate concern for voters — even those favorably inclined towards the party Biden belongs to.

Consider a few facts.

* Joe Biden is 79 years old. He was the oldest person ever elected president – by five years – when he won the White House in 2020 at 77. (He turned 78 less than a month after the election.)

* If/when he stands for re-election in 2024, he will be 81 on Election Day – and will be 82 shortly thereafter. (Biden’s birthday is Nov. 20, 1942.)

* White House physician Kevin O’Connor said following a review of Biden in November 2021 that the president “remains a healthy and vigorous 78-year-old man, fit to successfully perform the duties of the presidency, including those of Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief O’Connor also noted that “the president’s walking gait is noticeably stiffer and less fluid than it was approximately a year”.

Biden himself, during the 2020 campaign, acknowledged that voters should consider his age when deciding on their vote.

“I think it’s totally appropriate for people to look at my age,” he said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire in 2019. “Just like when I was 29 [when he was elected to the Senate], was I old enough? And now, am I fit enough? I will fully disclose anything related to my health. I’m in good shape.”
Earlier in the campaign, Biden was even more outspoken about his age as an issue. “I say if they’re worried, don’t vote for me,” he said.
At least one of his main opponents — Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan — has made an overt appeal about Biden’s age. “I just think Biden is on the decline,” Ryan said in September 2019, according to Bloomberg News. “I don’t think he has the energy. You see him almost every day. And I love this guy.” Later, in an interview with CNN, Ryan said, “It’s not like I said something that a lot of people don’t think about.”

Just how much of a problem Biden’s age will end up being for voters if he runs in 2024 remains to be seen — and could hinge on whether or not Republicans nominate someone who can lead that. contrast with Biden.

Right now, the leading Republican presidential candidate is Donald Trump, who at 76 is no spring chicken. In a post on his Truth Social app On Sunday, Trump typically tried to have it both ways on the age issue.

“President Biden is one of the oldest 79s in history but, per se, he is not an old man,” Trump wrote. “There are a lot of people in the 80s, and even the 90s who are still so good and sharp. Biden isn’t one of them, but it doesn’t have much to do with his age. In reality , life begins at 80!”