Joe Biden refused to rule out serving only one term as president if elected in 2020, claiming he was not ready to “make that judgement at this moment.”
The 76-year-old former vice president, who would be the oldest person ever inaugurated as commander in chief if elected in 2020 save for his Democrat rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), made the admission during an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday in South Carolina when asked if age mattered among White House hopefuls.
“Right now it’s a legitimate question to ask, just like it was legitimate to ask me when I was 29 years old running for the Senate, did I have enough judgment to be a senator,” Biden said. “Right now, my age has brought with it a significant amount of experience in government and hopefully wisdom and some sound judgment.”
When pushed if his age would open up the possibility of serving only one term in the presidency, Biden asserted he was not ready to make such a promise, but also admitted he would not automatically commit to running for reelection in 2024.
“I feel good and all I can say is, watch me, you’ll see,” the former vice president said. “It doesn’t mean I would run a second term. I’m not going to make that judgment at this moment.”
Biden’s comments come as his campaign struggles amid anemic fundraising, questions over his son’s business dealings with foreign governments, and doubts over his own fitness for the presidency. The latter, in particular, has bogged down the former vice president’s campaign since early summer.
As Breitbart News reported, a cadre of allies and staffers began pushing in August for Biden’s campaign to scale down his public appearances, especially in the afternoon and evening — when the former vice president has proven most likely to make a gaffe. The push came after Biden had a series of high profile lapses on the campaign trail, often misrecollecting key events and confusing time and place.
One of the most notable examples of this was in August when Biden inaccurately claimed to have been vice president at the time of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden said during a huddle with reporters in Iowa, before claiming that when the survivors visited Congress, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.”
Many of the reporters on hand, however, were shocked by the statement given that the shooting, which resulted in 17 fatalities and over a dozen injuries, actually occurred on February 14, 2018 — more than a year after Biden left office. In the aftermath of the flub, Biden’s team attempted to downplay the incident, claiming the candidate had simply misspoken. When that approach approved not to be sufficient, the campaign pivoted to attacking the media for pushing it’s own “narrative” by reporting on the gaffes.
“This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative,” Biden’s spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, asserted during an appearance on MSNBC. Sanders even went to the extent of lecturing the media on what it should and should not prioritize to “elevate the conversation” surrounding the election.
“We cannot allow this election to devolve in a tit for tat over name-calling and ‘gaffes,’ something that does not matter,” she said.
The campaign’s argument, though, did not sway many, including some of the left’s most venerated media personalities. Many, such as Jamil Smith, a senior writer for Rolling Stone magazine, have even called on the former vice president’s campaign to “step forward” and explain “what is going on with him.”
This is akin to his repeated Margaret Thatcher gaffe. Or it may be somehow different. I don’t want to speculate about what caused Biden to say it. Again, his campaign needs to step forward, and we need to not be afraid to have a conversation about this. https://t.co/bSouvK3hO9
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) August 10, 2019
Such sentiments have increased as Biden has continued making gaffes, even fabricating an emotional story about the Afghanistan War and forgetting that his former running mate, Barack Obama, was America’s last president.