Biden celebrates 80th birthday
He’s the first octogenarian president in US history.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden turned 80 on Sunday, a milestone for the already-oldest president in U.S. history as some Democrats question his intention to run for reelection in two years.
The president and his family were scheduled to celebrate at a brunch organized by first lady Jill Biden at the White House.
Biden has said he intends to run for a second term in 2024 and will make a final decision early next year. He has brushed off concerns about his age and fitness to handle another campaign and potentially four more years in office.
“I’m in good health,” Biden told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart last month. “Everything physically about me is still functioning well. And mentally, too.”
Polls show voters — including those in his own party — have reservations about the president’s age. A November Reuters/Ipsos poll found 70% of voters agreed that the statement “too old to work in government” strongly or slightly described Biden. Among Democrats, 59% agreed.
In the same survey, 55% of all respondents said former President Donald Trump is too old for public service. Trump, who entered the 2024 race on Tuesday, turned 76 in June. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the No. 2 choice of GOP primary voters in polls, is 44.
Concerns about Biden’s age coincide with a generational shift in House Democrats’ top ranks after Republicans retook the chamber. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, announced last week that she will not seek reelection to leadership.
“The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus,” Pelosi said Thursday.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, also said he will not seek a leadership post in the new Congress. Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, 82, did not indicate his plans but said he would back a younger slate of candidates for leadership roles.
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, seen as Pelosi’s heir apparent, is 52.
Biden would be 82 on Inauguration Day in 2025.
In an interview on “The Willie Moore Jr. Show” that aired Nov. 7, the president was asked what he would say to a 50-year-old version of himself.
“That I’m still 50,” Biden said. “I can’t even say that number 80.”
Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left the White House, but Biden would be 86 by the time a second four-year term ends, should he win it. Trump would be 82 when he left office if he won in 2024.
As a society, the United States is aging, and working until later in life. The 65-and-older population is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. By 2026, more than one in four men over 65 will still be working, the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau projects.
Some Americans have concerns about the advanced age of the two most likely 2024 candidates.
Biden's occasional verbal stumbles and tendency to meander off script during live appearances have been seized on by his Republican critics as proof he's too old for the job. His supporters say the president, who overcame a childhood stutter, has been ad-libbing in public speeches for decades.
Biden's prospects for a second term got a boost when the Democrats did better than expected in midterm congressional and gubernatorial elections.
Asked about concerns over Biden's age ahead of his 80th birthday, the White House said his recent record speaks for itself.
"As then-candidate Biden said in 2019, 'watch him,'" responded spokesperson Andrew Bates.
Some Biden supporters said they admired Democrats' success under Biden, but were still uncertain about a possible next term.
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