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26 Feb, 2024 00:10

Biden’s advanced age makes him successful – top Democrat

California Governor Gavin Newsom has tried to refute concerns about the US president’s mental capacity
Biden’s advanced age makes him successful – top Democrat

California Governor Gavin Newsom has tried to bat down worries that US President Joe Biden is too old to seek reelection by claiming that he is thriving because of his advanced years.

“I’ve seen him up close, I’ve seen him from afar, but here’s my point: It’s because of his age that he’s been so successful,” Newsom said on Sunday in an NBC News interview. “It’s because of the wisdom and the character that’s developed over years.”

Biden, 81, is already the oldest president in US history and would be 87 by the time he leaves the White House if he serves a full second term. Concerns about his cognitive sharpness were heightened earlier this month, when a US Department of Justice special prosecutor investigating the mishandling of classified documents by Biden reported that although he had found evidence of criminal conduct, a jury would be reluctant to convict the sitting president because he comes across as a “well-meaning elderly man with a bad memory.”

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on February 11 showed that 86% of Americans believe Biden is too old to seek a second four-year term. Newsom, who has been accused of running a shadow presidential campaign in case Biden drops his 2024 reelection bid, told NBC that he was bored by such speculation.

“It’s all idle chatter,” the 56-year-old governor said. “You know what? That’s a sideshow. I think what Democrats need to do is worry less, do more, continue to overperform as we have, continue to win, make the case. It’s a damning conversation, frankly, the other side wants us to have.”

The president has made frequent mental stumbles in recent weeks, including erroneous claims that he had spoken in 2021 with French and German leaders who had died years earlier. At a White House press briefing where he angrily denied special counsel Robert Hur’s claims about his failing memory, Biden misidentified Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the leader of Mexico. His verbal gaffes and clumsiness have been frequently mocked by opponents, including his main 2024 rival, former President Donald Trump. 

Newsom, however, argued that Biden’s job performance proves that he is mentally fit for the job. “We’ve seen these bipartisan accomplishments because of his capacity of understanding, because of his leadership, so the opportunity to express that for four more years, what a gift it is for the American people,” he said. “And as a Democrat, what a gift it is for me to make the case for the leader of our party, Joe Biden.”

Asked whether it might be irresponsible for Democrats to nominate Biden for a second term, Newsom said, “Responsible? I revere his record. I mean, what he’s done in three years has been a masterclass.”

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