The Daily Telegraph

Embrace Biden’s age as a sign of his wisdom, White House is told

- By David Millward and Rozina Sabur Deputy US editor

THE Biden administra­tion is being urged to embrace his age as a mark of wisdom as he celebrates his 81st birthday today.

Mr Biden is due to spend his birthday pardoning two turkeys ahead of Thanksgivi­ng, as the White House avoids public celebratio­ns amid concerns about his advanced years.

But Democratic Party officials and donors are pushing the administra­tion to use Mr Biden’s age to as proof of a wise head in a time of global turmoil.

Ron Klain, who served as Mr Biden’s chief of staff for his first two years in the White House, said that it’s important to “emphasise [that] it gives him more wisdom and experience, how he’s navigated this difficult problem in Ukraine”.

He told Politico: “I think everyone knows it’s an issue, and we have to address it. He’ll keep on doing the job, campaignin­g with vigour and demonstrat­ing to the American people his energy level, which is quite robust.”

The Wall Street Journal became the latest major publisher to highlight the president’s age over the weekend. “Given Mr Biden’s age and obvious decline, running for re-election is an act of profound selfishnes­s,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote.

Noting that his campaignin­g will be scaled back, it added: “Why would voters think he can handle four more years of a gruelling job, which might include being shaken awake in the wee hours to respond to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan?”

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said that Mr Biden “has used his deep experience to deliver unpreceden­ted benefits”.

While the US president is convinced he has enough in the tank to carry on in the Oval Office into his 86th year, polls show the view is not shared by American voters.

They indicate his mental and physical fitness are a pressing concern not just for Republican voters, but Democrats too.

In a Yahoo News/yougov poll last week 54 per cent of respondent­s thought Mr Biden no longer had “the competence to carry out the job of president” – an increase of five per cent since February. But behind the scenes the Biden camp is being urged to challenge the public fear over his age.

Politico said it spoke to dozens of concerned party officials and donors. John Morgan, a Biden fundraiser and Florida attorney, said he had urged the president’s team to make a virtue of his age.

“There’s nothing that can be done to make him younger,” Mr Morgan said. “I believe that what’s going to carry the day for Joe Biden is the word “wisdom". We want wise men. And to everybody who has a problem with his age, I would tell them that if you had stopped investing with Warren Buffett when he was 80, you would have missed out on 12 years of record returns.”

Last night the president and First Lady Jill Biden were due to join military personnel and their families for an early Thanksgivi­ng meal dubbed “Friendsgiv­ing”.

After today’s pardoning of the Thanksgivi­ng turkey, he leaves on Tuesday for the Atlantic island of Nantucket to spend the Thursday holiday there with his family.

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