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CNN correspondent John Harwood defended President Biden against critics who have concerns over the president’s age during a segment on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources.”
On Thursday, The Atlantic writer Mark Leibovich penned an article pleading Biden not to run for re-election in 2024 due to concerns over his age. Biden, who is already the oldest person to hold the office, will turn 80 in November and would be 82 by the beginning of a potential second term.
“Let me put this bluntly: Joe Biden should not run for re-election in 2024. He is too old,” Leibovich wrote.
CNN host Brian Stelter discussed how there is a growing concern among those in the media and politics, that Biden may be too old to run for president for a second term. While Harwood agreed that Biden is old, he said it was false that Biden is incapable of doing his job.
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“Without taking a stand on whether he’s too old to run for reelection, let me run through what’s true, what’s false and what gets conflated. What’s true is the presidency is a hugely taxing job mentally and physically, and Joe Biden is old. He doesn’t talk or walk as smoothly as he once did. That suggests challenges, and when you get your 80s, which he’s about to do, the risk of health problems grows with every year,” Harwood said. “On the other hand, what’s false is that he is not capable of doing the job right now or he’s not mentally in tune with the demands of the job. Anybody, any aide who engages with him or reporters, we can see this. The gears of his mind are working. That’s an issue pushed by right-wing media, but it’s not correct.”
However, Harwood conceded that, regardless of his age, Biden is now in a weak political position at only a 39% approval rating.
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“President Biden is in a weak political position right now. And because he’s old, people think he’s weak because he’s old. His biggest political problem right now is five dollar a gallon gas. Gas is not five dollars a gallon because Joe Biden is old. His legislative program is not stymied in Congress because Joe Biden is old. It’s because he got a 50-50 Senate, and one of the members of that Democratic Senate comes from a Trump +39 state,” Harwood said.
Ultimately, he was optimistic about Biden’s chances in 2024, comparing him to former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
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“I think the other thing that we should point out is that younger more vibrant presidents like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, also had tremendous political problems in their second years, got hammered in midterm elections, and they ended up politically healthy. So Joe Biden would look a little bit younger if he was at 50% than at 40%, but he’s not, so he’s going to have to deal with those stories for some time,” Harwood concluded.