President Joe Biden turned 81 on Monday with much of the talk in the media centering around how his advancing age might affect his reelection chances.
In a recent New York Times/Siena College poll of battleground states, 71% said Biden was "too old" to be president, including 54% of his own supporters. Meanwhile, 39% said the same about former President Donald Trump, 77, the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024.
"For President Biden, who turns 81 on Monday, another birthday may bring more liability than revelry, offering one more reminder of his age to an already skeptical electorate," Peter Baker wrote in The New York Times.
Baker noted that Biden shuffles when he walks, talks in a low tone that can be hard to hear, and sometimes confuses names and details.
"White House aides have reportedly created a safety net of small accommodations for the president, including regularly using a lower set of stairs to board Air Force One, and Secret Service and staff members using flashlights and verbal warnings to guide the president in backstage settings," the New York Post reported.
Biden has been interacting less frequently with the White House press corps, holding fewer formal press conferences and off-the-record sessions on Air Force One, and only sitting for a single interview with a daily newspaper journalist, the Post reported.
At Biden's annual physical examination in February, it was noted that he is being treated for A-fib, hyperlipidermia, gastro reflux, seasonal allergies, stiffened gait, and peripheral neuropathy of the feet. He is also under skin cancer surveillance. The health summary did not include a cognitive test, The Hill noted.
Some current and former administration officials said Biden's staff members should stop treating him like an old man they do not trust and let him interact with the public and reporters more, Baker wrote in The New York Times.
Some commentators point favorably to Biden's various legislative accomplishments in office and his arduous trips to wartime Ukraine and Israel, and say his achievements and world stature will draw a contrast with Trump in the general election.
Trump has openly criticized Biden on just about everything, but has restrained himself when it comes to directly attacking the president's age, CNN noted.
"He's not too old, he's incompetent," Trump told Megyn Kelly in an interview on her eponymous Sirius XM show last month.
"Age is interesting because some people are very sharp and some people do lose it, but you lose it at 40 and 50, also," Trump added. "But no, he's not too old at all. He's grossly incompetent."
The New York Times noted that Trump has exhibited confusion lately, saying "that the country is on the verge of World War II, mixed up the leaders of Hungary and Turkey, and boasted of beating former President Barack Obama in the polls."
If reelected, Biden would be 86 by the end of his second term in office. Republican Ronald Reagan, who had the prior record as oldest U.S. president, ended his second four-year term at age 77 in 1989.
On his HBO show, Bill Maher said the perception of Biden is the president's primary problem.
"Do I think Joe Biden can do the job? Absolutely," Maher said. "I don't think he can win the job. And that's what I care about. He's going to lose. Because the people think he's too old. And perception is reality. I'm sorry."
Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com.
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