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13 Feb, 2024 12:11

Biden age a ‘legitimate issue’ – Hillary Clinton

The former US secretary of state has said the president shouldn’t dismiss concerns about his mental state
Biden age a ‘legitimate issue’ – Hillary Clinton

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said President Joe Biden’s advancing age is a “legitimate issue” on the campaign trail, as he seeks to secure a second term in the White House in the election later this year.

Speculation about Biden’s cognitive abilities was once again raised last week when the 81-year-old confused the leaders of Egypt and Mexico, shortly after dismissing claims that his mental state is declining.

The verbal misstep followed an announcement that Biden will not face criminal prosecution for mishandling classified government documents, after a prosecutor described him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.” 

According to Clinton, who unsuccessfully ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential race, the debate about Biden’s age is valid.

“I talked to people in the White House all the time, and you know, they know it’s an issue, but as I like to say, ‘look, it’s a legitimate issue,’” Clinton told MSNBC last week. “It’s a legitimate issue for Trump who’s only three years younger, right? So it’s an issue.” 

But instead of seeking to ignore concerns about his age, Clinton said that the Biden campaign team should expand on his experience as a legislator ahead of November’s election.

“I think Biden also should lean into the fact that he’s experienced and that experience is not just in the political arena,” Clinton said. “It’s like, the stuff of, you know, human experience, character, wisdom.” 

A poll published last week by NBC News found that some 76% of respondents had concerns over Biden’s age and health, should he be reelected to another four-year term. Similar concerns were voiced by 61% regarding Trump, who will be 78 by the time of the election in November.

In October, the Republican frontrunner sparked questions of his own mental acuity when he incorrectly referred to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as the leader of Türkiye.

Meanwhile, Biden’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer, on Sunday described special counsel Robert Hur’s description of the US president’s mental wellbeing as a “shabby work product.” The Republican-led critique of Biden was “misleading,” Bauer told CBS, adding that the report into his retention of classified documents “went off the rails.” 

According to a YouGov poll of 1,000 US citizens earlier this month, Trump holds a one-point advantage over Biden in a hypothetical match-up between the two likely presidential candidates.