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Allies Scramble to Counter Biden Age Questions After Damning Report

A fierce debate rages behind the scenes in Democratic circles: how to combat renewed scrutiny over President Biden's age and mental acuity following a bruising special counsel report.

Joe Biden
The report immediately sparked murmurs of concern from House Democrats gathered for their annual retreat on Thursday. Biden staunchly defended his fitness with a fiery speech, but the questions linger.

While dismissing the report as a partisan attack, Biden's team grapples with the stark reality that voter perceptions of his age and mental decline pose an existential threat. Polls and focus groups consistently flag apprehensions over whether the 81-year-old can handle four more years steering the ship.

The president's gaffes reinforce the doubts, like recently mistaking French President Macron for long-dead leader Mitterand. The careful bubble his staff creates, shielding Biden from chances at embarrassing flubs, perversely fuels doubts by limiting public appearances.

Yet Biden flourishes off-script. Aides plan more retail politicking stops to spotlight his dexterity chatting up store owners. They know the best antidote is for Americans to see Biden's sharpness themselves instead of filtered through the media.

Still, each unscripted moment invites potential blunders. And while allies dismiss slip-ups as irrelevant next to Trump's word salads, they chafe at Biden's propensity for propitious snafus when democracy itself feels imperiled.

Some allies discreetly suggest cosmetic adjustments, like improved makeup and lighting or always sitting while speaking to conceal suspected arthritis issues. Others advocate limiting bike rides and beach trips to avoid falls that risk feeding age questions.

But Biden's inner circle sneers at outside advice, still relishing their underestimated candidate defying 2020 expectations. They believe economic achievements will overshadow baseless age smears.

Undoubtedly, the report's searing potshots at Biden's memory cut deep, especially allusions to his deceased son Beau. The normally genial Biden reacted with uncharacteristic fury backstage before confronting House Democrats.

"How would I f****** forget that?" Biden spat about the year Beau died, showing the political wounds struck close to home.

While some House Democrats left recent Oval Office meetings convinced of Biden's undiminished sharpness, qualms persist on selling this to voters. Polishing visual optics can only go so far for a candidate defined by retail politics dexterity.

Ultimately Biden must confront the issue head-on before it further metastasizes. Perhaps leaning into self-deprecation and contrasting his steady hand against Trump's volatility can diffuse the problem.

Because as much as Biden's team tries swatting away age questions as recycled 2020 GOP attacks, the uncomfortable reality is that the 2024 opponent isn't a real person - it's the merciless passage of time itself.



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