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Is Biden too old to run for reelection?

President Joe Biden during a press conference on Jan. 19, 2022. (White House/Released)
June 13, 2022

Democrats are expressing concern over President Joe Biden’s age and how it will impact a potential second term, including one top advisor to former President Barack Obama, who said Biden’s age during a second term would be a “major issue.”

David Axelrod, former chief strategist for Obama, told the New York Times on Saturday that he is concerned about Biden’s age. 

“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” Axelrod said.

Biden’s approval rating has continued to plummet amid soaring gas prices and debilitating inflation, but Axelrod insists it’s the president’s age that is having a negative impact on his public image, arguing that Biden “doesn’t get the credit he deserves” for his so-called successes because “he looks his age.”

“Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House,” he added. “And part of the reason he doesn’t is performative. He looks his age and isn’t as agile in front of a camera as he once was, and this has fed a narrative about competence that isn’t rooted in reality.”

Biden, 79, has said on multiple occasions that he plans to run again, but if the president seeks a second term, he’ll be 82 by the time it begins.

David Gergen, a former senior adviser to four American presidents – Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton – echoed Axelrod’s concerns about another geriatric presidency.

“Well, I do think that, as much as we don’t like to talk about age, age is an issue if those are the two nominees, because we would have Biden and Trump. One of the men would win. And that winner would be becoming president with what is the hardest job in the world with health that is just unreliable and a vulnerability that is out there and potential weaknesses,” Gergen said on PBS News Hour.

“I think it’s inappropriate. And I think people like Biden and Trump ought to both step back and leave open the door to younger people from the next generations to serve as president,” he added. “We just can’t take the risks that are involved, and especially on health.”