Last week, notable past Democratic contender for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, graced ‘Alex Wagner Tonight’ on MSNBC, offering her thoughts on the looming 2024 presidential race. Within the course of their discussion, Clinton acknowledged the validity of voters’ concerns pertaining to incumbent President Biden’s advancing age, a topic amplified recently after the release of special counsel Robert Hur’s revelatory report.
The report detailed a series of memory lapses by Biden during his interview with Hur, which raised eyebrows due to its implications on the handling of classified information.
Wagner seemed palpably thrilled during the course of the conversation, utilizing the opportunity to engage Clinton with a series of favorable questions. One such query focused on how Biden should approach these questions concerning his age during his campaign. ‘How should he navigate through this?’ questioned Wagner. ‘Should he focus on demonstrating his enduring vitality or embrace the depth of wisdom that can only be gleaned from an eight-decade journey?’
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offers her advice for how President Joe Biden should address concerns about his age. pic.twitter.com/2WwVNQm5S6
— Alex Wagner Tonight (@WagnerTonight) February 10, 2024
In response, Clinton advocated for a dual approach. ‘All of the above,’ she stated. ‘I’m in regular contact with individuals at the White House. And it’s no secret that this is an ongoing concern.’ She was careful to contextualize Biden’s age within the wider political landscape, noting, ‘It’s as pertinent an issue for Trump as for Biden, with only a trifling three-year difference in their ages. Having said that, it becomes crucial to shift the focus back to the implications of the upcoming election.’
As reported earlier by the DC Enquirer, there’s been a mounting skepticism regarding Biden’s fitness to serve another four years in office. The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll bears testimony to this sentiment, with a staggering 86% of surveyees expressing doubts over his ability to sustain a further term. The age question is looming over Biden’s campaign and is likely to gain even more prominence as the findings of the Hur report become increasingly public knowledge because of the strong critique emerging from Biden’s own camp.
The report made a significant impression. ‘During our interview, the president’s recollection seemed evidently clouded. He was unable to accurately recall the dates of his vice presidential tenure, even confusing the years of beginning and conclusion – a discrepancy of almost half a decade,’ it noted. ‘Further, there were noticeable gaps in his recollection of significant personal moments, including the unfortunate demise of his son Beau, or even the contours of the debate on Afghanistan, once a matter of deep personal investment for him.’
It continued: ‘During a trial situation – as he did during our interview – Mr. Biden might attempt to frame himself as a compassionate, well-meaning elder statesman grappling with memory issues.’ The report’s findings only serve to heighten concerns over Biden’s capacity to effectively carry out the responsibilities of his office.
The recent revelations have the White House scrambling to find ways to mitigate any potential damage, especially since Biden’s own previous comments regarding age-related concerns for a president are not helping reassure doubts. Back in 2018, during an interview, Biden had himself underlined the importance of considering age as a critical factor when choosing a president.
He had expressly said at the time, ‘One understandable way people might gauge my effectiveness in the role is by judging my vital spirits. Can I scamper up the steps of Air Force Two? Am I physically healthy? Is my mind sharp? Am I full of energy?’ In doing so, he acknowledged the validity of such considerations, implying that age, indeed, was what he termed, ‘absolutely legitimate’.
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