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Joe Biden's birthday in focus ahead of 2024 US Presidential Polls. Here's why

US President Joe Biden turned 81 on Monday – the oldest person to hold the top post – amid growing disquiet about his health and acuity. Much has been said about his verbal gaffes and stumbling gait as a likely rematch with Donald Trump looms increasingly closer. The White House however continues to insist that Biden remains healthy enough to serve as commander in chief.

“A lot of people seem focused on my age. I get it, believe me, I know it more than anyone. I’m running because democracy is at stake. Because in 2024 democracy is on the ballot once again. And let there be no question: Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy American democracy,” he asserted in September this year.

Opinion polls have repeatedly flagged America’s growing concern with the POTUS’ age. Indeed a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey this month found voters in seven swing states more likely to associate old age with Biden than any other topic. Only a handful of respondents however associated age-related concerns with 77-year-old Donald Trump.

The numbers have been rising sharply against the POTUS as the Presidential elections draw nearer. Ahead of Biden’s 80th birthday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll suggested that 71% of Democrats thought Biden is “mentally sharp and able to deal with challenges”. Meanwhile, 46% believed that he might not be up to the challenge of running in 2024.

Other presidential hopefuls meanwhile insist that both Biden and Trump are far too old for the 2024 polls.

“So, I’ve said publicly, the presidency is not a job for an 80-year-old, that Donald Trump would actually be older on January 20, 2025, than Biden was on January 20, 2021,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told CNN on Sunday.

The perceptions against Biden have also been fueled by several high-profile gaffes – from his fall at Air Force Academy graduation to staircase stumbles boarding Air Force One. People were also less than thrilled to learn that the octogenarian used a medical device to aid his breathing during sleep. Many also took to social media gleefully highlighting his verbal gaffes.

Last week, for example, Biden had referred to his deputy as ‘President’ Kamala Harris for the sixth time.

Taken together, the seemingly innocuous instances have fanned uneasiness among Democrats that the man who has cast himself as the bulwark against Trump’s return is just one illness or injury from plunging his campaign – and the nation – into calamity.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 20 Nov 2023, 06:00 AM IST

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