The author of a new biography of Joe Biden has said it “wouldn’t be a total shock” if the president cancels his re-election bid by the end of the year.Franklin Foer, whose book The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future is published this week, told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that “it doesn’t take Bob Woodward to understand that Joe Biden is old”, referring the Watergate reporter who, like Biden, is 80.Related: Biden privately admitted feeling ‘tired’ amid concerns about his age, book says“I’m not a gerontologist, and I can’t predict how the next couple years will age Joe Biden,” Foer added.
Asked if Biden could drop out of his re-election bid, Foer said: “It would be a surprise to me, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise to me.”The comments came a day ahead of the president’s Labor Day visit to Philadelphia, where Biden spoke about the importance of trade unions and addressed the potential auto workers’ strike.
“I’m not worried about a strike … I don’t think it’s going to happen,” Biden said.
The president also addressed the age issue, remarking: “The only thing that comes with age is a little bit of wisdom.”Questions about Biden’s age and competency, along with others in legislative positions, have become a recurring theme ahead of a presidential election year.
On Sunday, the former South Carolina governor and Republican nomination hopeful Nikki Haley repeated calls for “competency tests” for presidential and congressional candidates.Last week, the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze up in public for the second time in two months.
“At what point do they get it’s time to leave?
They need to let a younger generation take over,” Haley said.
“This is not just a Republican or Democrat problem.
This is a congressional problem.”But Foer, who is reported to have conducted 300 interviews for the 407-page account of Biden’s career, also said that Biden’s religious beliefs could be a factor in his decision-making.
“When he talks about his life, he uses this word ‘fate’ constantly.
Joe Biden is a very religious guy, and fate is a word loaded with religious meaning,” Foer said.
“When I hear that, to me it’s the ellipses in the sentence when he’s talking about his own future that I account for in thinking about his calculus.”In the book, Foer writes that Biden’s “advanced years were a hindrance, depriving him of the energy to cast a robust public presence or the ability to easily conjure a name.“It was striking that he took so few morning meetings or presided over so few public events before 10am.
His public persona reflected physical decline and time’s dulling of mental faculties that no pill or exercise regime can resist.“In private, he would occasionally admit that he felt tired.”Related: Too old to govern?
The age problem neither US party wants to talk aboutA Wall Street Journal poll published on Monday found that voters overwhelmingly think Biden is too old to run for re-election.
The outlet said negative views of Biden’s age and performance in office “help explain” why only 39% of voters had a favorable view of the White House incumbent.According to the survey, 73% of voters said they felt Biden is too old to seek a second term.
That compares to 47% of voters who held the same view of Donald Trump, who is three years younger at 77.
The poll also found that 46% of voters said Trump is mentally competent for president, compared to 36% for Biden.But voters also expressed concerns about Donald Trump, saying he is less honest and likable than Biden.
A majority also viewed Trump’s actions after his 2020 election loss as an illegal effort to deny Biden a legitimate win.“Voters are looking for change, and neither of the leading candidates is the change that they’re looking for,” the Democratic pollster Michael Bocian, who conducted the study, told the outlet.Biden took the opportunity on Friday to talk up his administration’s economic record, saying: “We ought to take a step back and take note of the fact that America is now in one of the strongest job-creating periods in our history.”But job creation figures released on Friday show that America’s employers added 187,000 jobs in August that have been interpreted as a sign that the US labor market is slowing.