Joe Biden is very much alive and running for re-election.” That was the message from the US president’s second-in-command, Kamala Harris, at the end of October. It wasn’t the most PR-savvy response to a question from a reporter asking what would happen “should something befall Biden and he’s not able to run”. But questions like this – which all centre on Biden’s age – have not only hounded him since he was elected in 2020, but are becoming increasingly frequent in the run-up to the next presidential election in 2024.
And it’s not out of left field. When Biden turned 80 last November he became the first octogenarian ever to serve as US president. On Monday 20 November, he’ll be 81. He’s already the oldest president in US history, and if he completes a second term in the Oval Office, he’ll be 86 when that term ends. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that 77 per cent of Americans say Biden is too old to run again. And like the passage of time, it’s an issue he can’t seem to escape.
So what does it look like to have an OAP in the White House, and what does it take to keep him on the road? And, more importantly, are we right to care?
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