Joe Biden has already taken political hits about his age. After all, he’s been in the Senate since there were segregationists there.
But of late, Democrats trailing him for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination have begun taking off the gloves and punching away at the 76-year-old.
The Washington Examiner compiled a list of recent broadsides against the candidate, who would be an octogenarian by the end of his first term if he were elected.
Former South Carolina state Sen. Bakari Sellers, a Kamala Harris advocate, this week pointed out that Biden has been in public office “since before I was born.”
Biden first took office in 1970.
Sellers explained to the Examiner: “Joe Biden is nearly 80 years old and he’s running to be president of the United States. My dad was president of an HBCU and will be 75 this year and his doctors told him he couldn’t do it anymore. He didn’t have the energy and strength to lead that campus anymore. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great man and a great leader and a great visionary. But it is a justifiable conversation.”
One critic, an anonymous adviser to one of Biden’s opponents, told Politico, “It’s like the corpse is already rotting.”
Donald Trump is 73 approaching the last year of his first term. Biden would be 78 at his inauguration if elected. Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office, and a short time later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, recently said: “I just think Biden is declining. I don’t think he has the energy. You see it almost daily. And I love the guy.”
Trump has famously labeled Biden “low-energy” for some of the same reasons.
Among other comments compiled by the Examiner:
- Jennifer Ridder, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s campaign staffer: “Biden may be unable to take down” Trump.
- Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, “You cannot go back to the end of the Obama administration and think that’s good enough.”
- Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, “Don’t listen to anybody in either party who says we can just go back to what we were doing.”
Biden, while insisting he’s not too old, admits questions are fair.
“All I can say is, watch me. Just watch me.”
But along with the gaffes for which he is famous, lately, people have been noticing he remembers things that didn’t happen.
Alana Goodman at the Washington Examiner pointed out six times Biden “described major events in his life that never happened.”
One was when Biden “claimed twice recently that he met with Parkland, Florida, shooting survivors when he was vice president, despite the fact that he was already out of office when the attack took place.”
Another was when Biden said his helicopter was “forced down” near Osama bin Laden’s lair in Afghanistan.
“Biden claimed in multiple speeches in 2008 that he knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding because his helicopter had been ‘forced down’ nearby in the mountains of Afghanistan,” the report said.
The Examiner quoted Biden: “If you want to know where al Qaeda lives, you want to know where bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me. Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”
The AP, however, reported the helicopter had landed to wait out a snowstorm.
“The pilot landed as a precaution, and a U.S. military convoy picked up the senators and took them to the main American airbase,” the report said.
Then there was Biden’s claim he was a coal miner.
“I hope you won’t hold it against me, but I am a hard-coal miner, anthracite coal, Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Biden said. “It’s nice to be back in coal country. It’s a different accent [in Virginia], but it’s the same deal. We were taught that our faith and our family was the only really important thing, and our faith and our family informed everything we did.”
Biden’s campaign insisted it was a “joke.”
Then, Biden recalled the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy “in the 1970s.” Both were assassinated in 1968.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson spotlighted the concern.
“It’s hard, in fact, to imagine a candidate more out of step with the moment he is running. Biden is old and pale at a time when his party worships youth and diversity. Biden spent decades cultivating a reputation, deserved for not, as a moderate at a time when his party is moving hard to the left,” Carlson wrote in an opinion piece for FoxNews.com.
“Biden is running on electability, the notion that only he – only Joe Biden – can beat Donald Trump. Biden’s new campaign ad portrays him as ‘strong, steady, stable.’ Not doddering, flaky, and weird. No. Strong, steady, stable. That’s Joe Biden’s self-description,” the Fox News host said.
“He is the most experienced candidate in the race, Biden often says. In fact, he is the only vice president in American history who served more than two full terms in office. And that’s how he met the survivors of the Parkland shooting at the White House just last year – last year. And the rest of us assumed that Mike Pence was the vice president, but no.”
Carlson went on, “But it turns out there are a lot of things you didn’t know about Joe Biden.”
He cited Biden’s claim to being a coal miner.
“You should also know that Biden was also, at various times, a fireman, a hard-boiled homicide detective, a gold miner in the Yukon, and a wise old Indian chief who slew many a bear in his day. Not your average politician for sure,” Carlson wrote.
“Needless to say, Biden was also a war hero. Of course, he was not in his generation’s war; deference kept Joe Biden out of Vietnam. No, he was the oldest American soldier/U.S. senator serving in Iraq, braving relentless enemy fire to bring democracy to that benighted nation,” he said.
Biden also claimed in 2009 when during his “hours alone” with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office he rebuked the president over his foreign policy.
“I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office,” Biden told CNN, “‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader.’ And I said: ‘Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one is following.’”
Bush aides said they didn’t remember any such meeting.
As the Examiner’s Goodman pointed out, the exaggerated claims aren’t entirely new either. In 1988, Biden was “forced to drop out of the presidential race after he was found to have exaggerated his academic record, plagiarized a law school essay, and used quotes from other politicians in his speeches without attribution.”