Joe Biden inadvertently argues against his own re-election campaign: ‘Totally legitimate to do that’

News & Politics

President Joe Biden inadvertently made the case against his own re-election last week.

The 80-year-old president was speaking with ABC News anchor David Muir about his 2024 plans when he acknowledged that questions about his age are “totally legitimate” for Americans to raise. That specific question is one that opponents will use to argue against his re-election.

Noting that both Biden’s supporters and critics are discussing his age, Muir asked, “They know that if you’re re-elected, you would be 82 when you’re sworn in. You’d be 86 at the end of your term. Is your age part of your own calculation into whether to run again?”

“No. But it’s legitimate for people to raise issues about my age. It’s totally legitimate to do that,” Biden responded. “And the only thing I can say is watch me.”

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One of the Biden’s prominent critics who is raising issues about his age — and the age of politicians in general — is Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

The former South Carolina governor is advocating for a policy forcing politicians older than 75 years of age to undergo cognitive testing to measure whether they are still mentally capable of holding critical leadership positions in the government.

“In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,” Haley said in her official campaign launch speech. “We”ll have term limits for Congress and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.”

Haley, 51, later added, “America is not past its prime; it’s just that our politicians are past theirs.”

The proposal, which earned rebuke from politicians like 81-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), would impact 10% of Congress. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who announced this month that she is not running for re-election, is the oldest member of Congress at 89 years old. She is just three months older than Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), who won re-election last November.

For his part, Biden is a “healthy, vigorous, 80-year-old,” his personal physician said in a letter this month after conducting a physical exam.

The doctor, however, said nothing about Biden’s mental capabilities, nor did he say that he conducted any tests measuring the president’s mental cognition.

The omission was glaring because Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, the director of cognitive neurology at NYU-Langone Medical Center, told the New York Times that every 80-year-old should undergo basic mental cognition testing during physical examinations.

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