Atlantic Writer: Biden ‘Too Old’ to Run Again

Atlantic Writer: Biden 'Too Old' to Run Again Joe Biden President Joe Biden. (Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:55 AM

President Joe Biden will be too old to run for reelection in 2024, a columnist for The Atlantic wrote in a Thursday piece.

Mark Leibovich, former chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, wrote a column explaining why Democrats would be better served if Biden gave way to younger progressives.

"At the very least, Biden not running would unleash a profusion of youth and energy into the Democratic field," Leibovich wrote in The Atlantic column.

"The non-AARP-card-carrying likes of Pete Buttigieg or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Chris Murphy or whoever it is could stand silently on the soapbox of the Iowa State Fair for five hours, and it would still feel like a refreshing change."

As for Biden, who will turn 80 in November, "he will be 82 if and when he begins a second term. The numbers just keep getting more ridiculous from there," Leibovich wrote.

The former Times reporter also warned Democrats who support Biden because they believe he can defeat former President Donald Trump in a rematch. Trump has not announced whether he will run again, but many allies have said they believe he will.

"[Trump] appears to have kept the devotion of his base voters. Trump has even edged Biden by a few points in a recent batch of way-too-early rematch polls," Leibovich wrote. "Swing voters, independents, and Republicans who voted for Biden in 2020 are among the most unenthusiastic to the idea of his running again, says Sarah Longwell, the Republican political operative who hosts the podcast The Focus Group for The Bulwark. They mainly cite his age, she adds.

"And Republican voters give every indication of being far more motivated right now than Democrats, many of whom are sounding alarmingly demoralized. It hurts to even imagine what another Biden-Trump race could look like."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted Monday that, "To be clear, as the President has said repeatedly, he plans to run in 2024."

Leibovich, however, pointed out that the key words in Jean-Pierre's tweet were "plans to."

The columnist mentioned "another recurring theme" he has heard from "people predisposed to liking the president."

" 'He just seems old,' one senior administration official told me at a social function a few weeks ago," wrote Leibovich, who added that "whispers" about Biden's age were becoming shouts.

The New York Times reported Saturday that dozens of Democrats had been whispering hope Biden will not run, because they fear he cannot rescue a sinking ship.

"Biden is by no means the more eloquent character he was in his younger days," Leibovich wrote. "It can be painful to watch him give prepared speeches. His tone can be tentative, and certain sentences can become hopscotching journeys. His aides in the room look visibly nervous at times.

"Biden worked to overcome a stutter during his youth, and in general it can become more difficult for stutterers to conceal these effects as they age."

Leibovich also said that Biden stepping aside would allow the president "to shed the demands of being a disciplined candidate (never his strong suit)."

"It would be immediately liberating, allowing the president to focus on what he's extremely well suited to: being a familiar mensch and champion and consoler to a country in dire need of one," Leibovich wrote.

"He could off-load all of the burdens and suspicions that come with electoral ambitions. Nothing buys goodwill for a politician like self-removal from consideration."

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