At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency


Questions on Mr. Biden’s health have nonetheless taken a toll on his public standing. In a June survey by Harvard’s Heart for American Political Research and the Harris Ballot, 64 p.c of voters believed he was displaying that he’s too outdated to be president, together with 60 p.c of respondents 65 or older.

Mr. Biden’s public appearances have fueled that notion. His speeches will be flat and listless. He generally loses his prepare of thought, has hassle summoning names or seems momentarily confused. Greater than as soon as, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “President Harris.” Mr. Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over phrases like “kleptocracy.” He has mentioned Iranian when he meant Ukrainian and a number of other occasions referred to as Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, “John,” complicated him with the late Republican senator of that title from Virginia.

Republicans and conservative media gleefully spotlight such moments, posting viral movies, generally exaggerated or distorted to make Mr. Biden look even worse. However the White Home has needed to stroll again a few of his ad-libbed feedback, comparable to when he vowed a navy response if China assaults Taiwan or declared that President Vladimir V. Putin “can not stay in energy” in Russia.

Mr. Biden was famously vulnerable to gaffes whilst a youthful man, and aides level to his marathon conferences with households of mass capturing victims or his working the rope line throughout a visit to Cleveland this previous week as proof of stamina.

Mike Donilon, a senior adviser who started working for Mr. Biden some 40 years in the past, mentioned he didn’t see a lot change. “On the best way again from lengthy journeys when the workers is worn out, he’ll need to spend 4 hours planning for a way we hit the bottom operating on home coverage, when all a lot youthful workers need to do is sleep,” he mentioned.

Mr. Biden just isn’t the primary president to confront questions of age. The difficulty got here up repeatedly below President Donald J. Trump, who’s 4 years youthful. Mr. Trump’s diminished vocabulary, tendency to meander, generally incoherent remarks, mild workplace schedule and struggles to course of info led critics to conclude that he was in decline.

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