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Hillary Clinton gets in dig against Joe Biden over his age

 May 23, 2023

Former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has candidly expressed her thoughts regarding the advanced age of President Joe Biden, acknowledging that voters might reasonably harbor reservations about his fitness for office. Clinton's remarks were made at a recent summit hosted by The Financial Times.

She responded to a question about Biden's stumble at the G7 Summit in Japan, suggesting that the president's age was indeed a pertinent issue for the upcoming 2024 election. She said, "His age is an issue, and people have every right to consider it," the Daily Mail reported.

Presidential Age a Broad Concern

Clinton emphasized that the apprehensions weren't unique to Biden but were valid for any presidential candidate of advanced age. The former Secretary of State, now 75 herself, also referenced previous incidents involving younger presidents experiencing similar physical mishaps, arguing that these incidents didn't prompt public panic.

"We've had presidents who had fallen before who were a lot younger, and people didn't go into heart palpitations," she commented.

Joe Biden and 2024: A Second Term?

Despite her expressed concerns, Clinton remained hopeful for Biden's ability to stay competitive in the next election, stating that he deserved more credit for his contributions to jobs and growth. "I obviously hope he stays very focused and able to compete in the election because I think he can be reelected, and that's what we should all hope for," she told the audience.

This perspective diverges from many of her fellow Democrats, who have routinely dismissed concerns regarding Biden's age. The current president, the oldest to ever hold office in American history, would be 86 years old at the end of a potential second term.

Questions About Biden's Fitness

White House staff have consistently downplayed concerns about the president's mental and physical fitness. Last Summer, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in an interview with CNN, said: “That is not a question that we should be even asking.”

“Oh, my gosh, he’s the president of the United States, you know, he … I can’t even keep up with him,” she added.

However, a recent incident in which Biden was given answer cards to assist him with pre-approved journalist queries during a tightly controlled press conference has fueled the ongoing debate.

President Biden, on his part, shrugged off a question about his age during an event with South Korean President Yoon Sun Yeol. He asserted that voters had every right to scrutinize his age and said he himself did so before deciding to run.

Public Opinion

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 63% of Americans believe Biden isn't mentally sharp or in good physical shape to govern effectively.

Similarly, in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 52% of Democrats said they did not believe Biden should run for re-election in 2024, considering his age.

Call for Mental Health Fitness Tests for Presidential Candidates

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has recently proposed mandatory mental health fitness tests for anyone above 75 seeking office, Politico reported. This move is seen as an indirect critique of both Biden and former President Donald Trump. Trump, interestingly, expressed his support for the idea, emphasizing the necessity of "great mental acuity and physical stamina" for the presidential role.

Republicans have consistently criticized Biden for numerous verbal slip-ups, urging him to undergo a cognitive examination. Biden received a clean health bill in February following his annual physical, though it remains unclear if his cognitive abilities were assessed.

2024 Election Campaign: A Test of Fitness?

With the upcoming campaign likely to expose Biden to public scrutiny more than ever, his physical and mental condition will inevitably be a topic of widespread discussion. During the 2020 campaign, Biden was largely confined to online appearances and infrequent trips outside of Delaware due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the coming year's campaign will present more opportunities for the president to interact with the public, showcasing his fitness for service.

Former President Trump was 70 years old when he first assumed office in 2017 after defeating Hillary Clinton in the election. If he secured a second term, he would become the second oldest president, behind Biden, at 78.