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Report: Biden Donors, Advisers Struggling Over How to Address President’s Age

© Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Go to the mediabankUS President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.11.2023
US President Joe Biden, who turned 81 on Monday, is the oldest president in the country’s history. Insiders are reportedly worried about how to respond to voter apprehension over his age.
Advisers to Joe Biden are reportedly considering a number of strategies to address concerns about the American president’s advanced age.
“The one number in the polling that was concerning… had to do with age, and that is one thing you can’t reverse no matter how effective Joe Biden is behind the scenes,” said Democratic adviser David Axelrod, referring to polling showing the majority of Americans believe Biden is too old to serve another term as president.
“In front of the camera, what he’s projecting is causing people concerns, and that is worrisome,” said Axelrod.
Biden’s advisers have reportedly acknowledged the president sometimes appears frail in public appearances. They’ve responded to the issue by considering minimizing the distances the president walks on camera and having him wear more comfortable shoes.
Advisers are also attempting to prevent the president from climbing stairs when possible. Biden generated attention early in his term when he was filmed stumbling while ascending the stairs to Air Force One; the octogenarian president has slipped while walking up the steps to the presidential plane as recently as September.
Biden also attracted attention last year when he fell from his bicycle while exercising in his home state of Delaware, turning an attempt to demonstrate the president’s physical fitness into another gaffe.
President Joe Biden waves during a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Washington.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2023
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While Biden allies admit he occasionally appears physically weak, they insist he’s still mentally capable of fulfilling responsibilities. But the president has been widely known for being gaffe-prone throughout his career. Some worry his propensity towards verbal flubs is only exacerbating worries over this age.
Donors are advising Biden’s team to “lean in” on the issue, portraying the president’s age as a source of wisdom and encouraging them to portray him as an affable “Grandpa Joe” in contrast to his likely rival, former US President Donald Trump.
“I think the strategy is not to even address it, to consider questions like that stupid or silly,” said one anonymous donor who took issue with the campaign’s strategy thus far. “Literally everyone is talking about it, even amongst donors. But the response is always: ‘What are you going to do?’”
One political operative worried the campaign has become defensive over the issue, claiming, “They bristle in ways that aren’t helpful.”
Some analysts have noted Trump’s age as well – the billionaire former president is just four years younger than Biden. Political scientist Kyle Kondik says Trump is judged less harshly than Biden because Trump is known for speaking in a more informal, off-the-cuff manner.

Biden was 78 years old when he won the presidency in 2020, making him the country’s oldest elected president.

He’s the only US president classified as a member of the Silent Generation, an age group shaped in their early childhood by the lingering economic disruption of the Great Depression and America’s entry into World War II.

Biden was known for his testy relationship with younger voters during his presidential campaign; he once claimed to “have no empathy” for the challenges of Millennials and Generation Z. He’s tried to cultivate a better relationship with the age group during his time as president, proposing a student loan forgiveness plan that was largely rolled back by the US Supreme Court.
US President Joe Biden departs from Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church in Zephyr Cove, Nevada on August 19, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2023
Biden Too Old to Serve Second Term – Poll
“It’s difficult for him [Biden] to connect with the younger generation,” said one independent voter when asked about the issue on US television. “Our electorate is getting younger and younger and younger and we’re electing people who are getting older and older and older.”
The age of a number of the United States’ most prominent politicians has provoked concerns in some quarters that the country has become a gerontocracy, or a political system dominated by the elderly.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) only recently stood down from her position as leader of the Democratic Party in the country’s lower legislative chamber at the age of 82. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), age 81, has recently suffered two widely commented upon health incidents in public.
Former Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who had become the oldest-sitting member in US Congress, died in office earlier this year at the age of 90. Her mental decline had been noted for some time, with even members of her party saying she had become unfit to serve. Observers speculated Feinstein suffered from dementia as she appeared confused and disoriented while fulfilling her duties in the Senate.
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