Biden turns 81, marking another milestone birthday for a US president

  • President Joe Biden turns 81 today, another milestone for the country’s oldest president 
  • He will mark the occasion Wednesday in Nantucket surrounded by six of his seven grandchildren 
  • Poll after poll shows Americans expressing deep concerns about his advanced age  

President Joe Biden turns 81 today and will celebrate the occasion Wednesday in Nantucket surrounded by six of his grandchildren, has learned. 

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that the family will have coconut cake to mark Biden’s birthday.  

Before Biden was sworn-in at age 78, President Ronald Reagan held the record for the oldest president. He turned 77 in the White House before departing in 1989. 

Now, every year he is in office, Biden sets a new age record and that is poised to be a defining issue in the 2024 campaign. 

Poll after poll shows Americans expressing deep concerns about his ability to be effective into a second term – where he’d leave office at age 86 – especially after a series of falls and gaffes.

The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that when Americans were asked which they were more concerned about – former President Trump‘s 91 criminal charges or Biden’s age – the results were a statistical tie.

President Joe Biden blows out a candle last year when he turned 80. On Monday he turns 81, which is another milestone birthday for the country's oldest president. Before Biden, President Ronald Reagan held the record for age, turning 77 while in the White House

Poll after poll shows that Americans are deeply concerned about the president's age and whether he can be an effective leader for four more years should he win reelection next year. It hasn't helped that he's made gaffes and fallen, including off his bike in June 2022

Gallup’s polling, which goes to President Harry S. Truman, found Biden’s quarterly approval rating is lower than all but one of the post World War II presidents, only beating President Jimmy Carter, who had an average approval rating of 31.4 percent. 

Biden’s October approval rating came in at 37 percent, down from 41 percent in September and averaging 40 percent over the last quarter. 

Trump’s average approval rating during this point in his tenure was 40.7 percent. 

Both Carter and Trump were one-term presidents. 

Democratic allies of the president have pointed out that Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 GOP nomination, also has liabilities when it comes to age. 

The Republican ex-president is only three and a half years younger than Biden, at age 77.

At the time he left office in 2017 Trump was 74, making him at that point the second oldest president, trailing Reagan by three years.

If Trump is re-elected in 2024 he would potentially become the second octogenarian president after Biden, leaving office at age 82, should he serve a full term.

However, there is a public perception that Biden’s age is more of a problem than Trump’s.

widely-cited AP-NORC poll from August found that 77 percent of Americans said Biden was too old to be effective for four more years, while 51 percent said the same of Trump. 

Political consultant Mary-Patricia Wray, who did work for Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, pointed out that Biden’s ‘experience is very valuable.’ 

The previous oldest U.S. President Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office 1989 after two terms. By the time he departed there was already speculation about his cognitive decline and six years later he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's

Former President Donald Trump (left) and former first lady Melania Trump (right) depart the White House on President Joe Biden's inauguration day in 2021. At that time he was 74. He'd be 82 if reelected in 2024

But his age is ‘also a large liability for an elected official that’s trying to convince a younger and younger electorate.’

She told that the ‘power of surrogacy’ will be the key to Biden’s success – encouraging the campaign to send younger Democrats out on the road. 

‘And that is, ultimately, really the only good strategy for pivoting away from the fact that you are old,’ she said. ‘It’s to say, “hey, look at my cool, young, hip friends.”

‘And I will say that is an advantage to Democrats because, in general, we are cooler and younger and hipper,’ she added. 

Some of the most dynamic younger Democrats, Wray pointed out, weren’t successful in their races, using former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who ran for a number of higher offices, and Rep. Tim Ryan, who lost to Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance last year, as examples. 

They did, however, build up voter networks and data. 

‘In my perfect storm I would take Beto and Tim Ryan’s data and I would get Taylor Swift to send a message to it,’ she said.

She said the Biden campaign should also look for more female surrogates and celebrities ‘whose likability transcends demographics.’ 

‘Your Tom Hanks-types,’ Wray said. 

The campaign should also look for surrogates ‘who might traditionally be more conservative,’ pointing to someone like a Kevin Costner, who voted for Biden in 2020.  

‘Someone who’s like, doing that old western traditional white man thing, so he feels kind of like an old school Charlton Heston. But actually is then for Biden – oh, plot twist!’ she said. 

Wray also suggested macho ‘military’ types. 

‘The Jon Hamms of the world,’ she said. ‘As a straight white lady I’m for that too, let’s see more of that. Let’s put Jon Hamm on everything.’ 

Democratic political consultant Brendan Martin agreed that Biden should use the ‘standard mix of Democratic politicians and celebrities as campaign surrogates to effectively reach a broad range of voters and amplify his message.’ 

‘However I think they will also embrace and highlight the stories of average Americans who have benefited from his presidency,’ Martin continued to ‘These individuals serve as powerful testimonials to the positive impact of Biden’s policies and can help connect with voters on a personal level.’ 

‘Everday Americans who have seen their lives improve under Biden’s leadership, the campaign will effectively counter the narrative of economic hardship and disillusionment that has been promoted by his critics,’ Martin added. ‘These stories can demonstrate that Biden’s policies are making a real difference in the lives of ordinary people.’ 

But another Democratic strategist, who declined to be named, echoed the sentiments of Biden primary rival Rep. Dean Phillips, who is running, in part, because he felt that Biden had pledged during the 2020 race that he’d be a holdover candidate who woud pass the baton the younger members of his party – and not run for reelection at age 81. 

‘I think I’m probably like a lot of Democrats in that I think President Biden has done a pretty good job but also wish he would step aside and let a younger generation lead,’ the source said. 

‘He seems determined to run, so it’s time for people like me to quit b****ing and get in line,’ the Democrat added.  


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