The anniversary of President Joe Biden’s birthday is sparking debate about age, wisdom and the mature presidency. The US leader, who turns 81 on Monday, will mark the moment with a low-key family party as he prepares for a demanding election year, CNN reports. Although his team publicly maintains that Biden still has a lot of energy and is honoring all of his commitments, people on his campaign staff say his age is problematic and efforts are being made to project strength and vigor and reduce blunders. public space generated by old age.
However, even as America’s first family celebrates the president’s birthday with a small party, it is discretion that highlights his greatest weakness on the campaign trail: advanced age and, with it, voters’ perception of declining ability his physical and mental.
White House officials and those on the campaign team narrowly acknowledge that this is a problem, and are both trying to iron out potential blunders and project strength. This year, Biden was recommended custom-made orthotics to help with his legs after his annual medical check-up determined he had a “stiff gait.” In recent months, when Biden travels on Air Force One, he has begun using a smaller, shorter set of stairs to get on and off the plane more often.
Biden also made an effort to outrun reporters during vacation bike rides in Delaware, stopping occasionally to answer questions.
Joe Biden’s advanced age worries voters
However, the political vulnerability of age is becoming clearer by the day. A number of recent polls, including a new poll conducted by CNN, indicate that this is an issue that consistently resonates with voters.
And critics invoke it every chance they get. On Saturday, former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, called Biden “a stupid person” who “can’t get off the stage … until what he’s doing wears off.” drawing cheers from the crowd in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
On Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 45, said in an interview with CNN that the passage of time cannot be fought, talking about age as an issue for both Biden and Trump, who is 77. year old.
Biden is the oldest president in US history
Biden is already the oldest president in history, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who was 77 at the end of his second term. If elected in 2024, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term. Trump, who would turn 83 at the same time, would take over the baton for the oldest president in history if elected.
Biden’s advisers argue — and complain, too — that there is a double standard on the topic of age regarding the current White House chief, with media coverage focusing more on Biden’s age than Trump’s. However, they insist voters are paying attention to other issues and that age will not be a deciding factor next November.
“I don’t think this campaign should be focused on anything but the record,” said Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia of California, a member of the Biden campaign’s National Advisory Committee.
“Anything else about people’s biographies or when their birthdays are … that doesn’t matter. People want to know what they’ve done and what they’re going to do,” Garcia added.
What will President Biden’s birthday program include
On Monday, the anniversary of Biden’s birthday will be marked, but without much fanfare. His birthday program will include the pre-Thanksgiving tradition of the “presidential pardon” of the turkey. He is also expected to receive briefings from his national security advisers on global crisis situations.
According to staff, the campaign is not neglecting Biden’s birthday. A Democratic National Committee official told CNN they plan to mark the anniversary with a social media post, as they have done every year since 2011.
The Democratic congressional campaign staff is also urging supporters to sign a virtual birthday card for the president.
Both Biden and Trump try to feint the issue of age
The former president, who has been an outspoken critic of Biden on almost every issue, showed unusual restraint when it came to directly attacking the president’s age.
It’s a sensitive subject for both men, and Trump appears to be aware of the dangers of contradicting Biden over the issue of their exact ages — which is three years and five months. In a recent interview, Trump avoided directly attacking Biden’s age.
“He’s not too old, he’s incompetent,” Trump told Megyn Kelly in an interview last month on her Sirius XM show.
“Age is an interesting thing, because some people are very sharp and others lose that sharpness, but you can lose it at 40, even 50 years old,” he added.
“But no, he’s not too old at all. He’s grossly incompetent,” Trump added.
For its part, Biden’s campaign team has begun to convey that it is not afraid to attack Trump on the subject.
“Donald Trump is okay?”, it was mentioned recently on an official Twitter account of the Biden campaign.
On the social network, Biden’s campaign team posted a video clip of Trump’s blunders – when he confused the city he was in, when he called former President Barack Obama “his main political opponent” and when he confused his country of origin of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Biden sometimes laughs at his age
“I don’t show it, but I’m 180 years old. I’ve been here a long time,” he joked to donors at a recent fundraiser. But more often than not, both he and other officials tout their age as a source of wisdom and experience.
“I have more experience than any president in the history of the United States. One of the things that comes with age, hopefully, is wisdom,” he said at another fundraiser.
John Kirby, who coordinates the National Security Council’s strategic communications, suggested that Biden’s experience — particularly in the field of foreign policy — is a positive thing.
“I have never seen a more turbulent world, and at a time like this, when things are as troubled and uncertain and, in some cases – frightening – as they are now, you want to have someone at the helm who has seen the world , who has developed relationships with world leaders, who has experienced issues like these over and over and over and over, and who understands history beyond the present moment,” Kirby told CNN.
Biden “contributes to the leadership of foreign policy with a firm hand, wisdom and experience. That is irreplaceable,” Kirby added.
His White House aides also point to the president’s ability to take part in grueling travel and high-stakes meetings with world leaders as evidence of his resilience. He often leaves his colleagues exhausted, they say.
Kirby pointed to instances where Biden pressured his colleagues to add events or engagements to an already busy schedule. He also added a phone call with the emir of Qatar on Friday morning ahead of meetings at the APEC summit in California. He also popped up with an impromptu chat with reporters on Air Force One after a grueling trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, last month.
Problems with surveys and “Father Time
Polls show that question persists. In an August AP-NORC poll, 77 percent of respondents agreed with the assessment that Biden is too old to effectively serve another four-year term as president, while 51 percent of respondents they said the same thing about Trump.
In a nationwide CNN poll conducted by SSRS earlier this month, only 25 percent of registered voters believe Biden has the stamina and grit to effectively serve as president, while 53 percent believe Trump does. .
And in the latest CNN poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, 56 percent of Democratic voters in the Granite State cited the president’s age when asked to name their biggest concern about Biden as a candidate.
When New Hampshire adults were polled more broadly about a list of candidate personal attributes, Trump scored worse on each of them (temperament, honesty and integrity, political views, decision-making skills ) than Biden — except for physical and mental skills.
A majority of voters — 58 percent — gave a poor rating of Biden’s physical and mental abilities, compared to 53 percent who gave Trump poor marks. Still, these numbers reflect clear voter concerns on the matter for both candidates.
There is, of course, the possibility that Biden will face another opponent in the general election. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is running second in the polls for the New Hampshire Republican primary, has proposed “mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75.”
the vision of a younger generation
The president’s age is often one of the first topics to come up in conversations with young voters — often as a topic of discussion about his fitness to hold office.
“I don’t want to say that his age alone could be a deterrent for young voters,” said Kerry Singleton, a senior at Morehouse College in Atlanta. “I will say it’s about keeping the promises made to many young voters.”
Rachael Carroll, who graduated from Clark Atlanta University last year, said she thinks Biden is from a different era, where he doesn’t understand the progressive views of many Democratic voters.
“No offense, but yeah, he looks a little old to me,” Carroll said, adding that Trump’s age should concern Americans just as much. “They don’t understand what we’re going through now, because we’re living in two completely different times.”
Nabilah Islam Parkes, who last fall became the youngest woman elected to the Georgia state Senate, said she doesn’t think age is the main concern about Biden. She said questions about how the administration handles the Middle East — and its worldview — are far more important.
“As long as we feel he reflects our values,” she said, “age shouldn’t be an issue.”
Progressive groups working to mobilize young voters also said they don’t believe Biden’s age will ultimately be a relevant factor in determining whether young voters turn out for him.
“It’s so low on the list of things we think about and things that actually impact our lives,” said Jack Lobel, national press secretary for Voters of Tomorrow, an organization focused on Gen Z voters.
“It’s not a priority concern.”
Editor: Andreea Smerea