On Wednesday, Joe Biden addressed the elephant in the room regarding his re-election in 2024.
The fact that he is already the oldest president ever and will be 86 years old when he steps down if he wins, writes AFP.
The veteran Democrat rarely talks about his age.
But polls show it’s an overwhelming issue for voters and one his Republican opponent will use against him.
At a news conference Wednesday, the day after the low-key launch of his campaign via video, the 80-year-old president said it was normal for people to ask questions.
He admitted that he had thought a lot about the matter himself.
– I respect that they are looking at it carefully. I would take a hard look at that as well – I took a hard look at it before I decided to run,” he said.
Biden, who spoke alongside South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in the White House Rose Garden, said he was confident in what is likely to be a gruelling election campaign while working one of the world’s most demanding jobs.
– I feel good, I feel excited about the future prospects, he said.
Biden tried to joke about his age.
– I can’t even say how old I am. I can’t even say the number – it doesn’t register, he chuckled.
Bad jokes about how long he’s been around — as a senator for 36 years and vice president for the younger Barack Obama for eight years — are usually the only way Biden discusses the age issue.
However, voters are not laughing.
An NBC News poll last weekend showed that 70 percent of Americans, including 51 percent of Democrats, think he should not run in 2024.
Sixty-nine percent of all respondents who said he should not run, cited concerns about his age as a major or minor reason.
If re-elected, Biden will be 82 when he takes office for another term in January 2025. Previously the oldest president was Ronald Reagan, who was 77 when he finished his second term in 1989.
Biden seems driven to continue, not just because that’s what first-term presidents do, but out of a sense of personal agenda to prevent Donald Trump, whom he defeated in 2020, from returning.
Trump is currently the overwhelming favourite for the Republican nomination, despite being the subject of multiple lawsuits.
Asked if Biden, whom Trump likes to call “Sleepy Joe,” considered himself the only person who could defeat Trump, Biden said:
– I may not be the only one, but I know him well, I know the danger he poses to our democracy and we have been on the wrong path before.