Obama 2012 Campaign Manager: Biden Age Questions on Voters’ Minds Heading into SOTU

US President Joe Biden is speaking to the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Wa
Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jim Messina, who managed former President Barack Obama’s successful 2012 reelection campaign, says that voters head into next week’s State of the Union wanting “to answer any age questions they may or may not have” about President Joe Biden, according to Politico.

Messina spoke with Politico Playbook about what will potentially be Biden’s most prominent platform to reach voters and share a vision for the future before the election: Thursday’s State of the Union address.

Messina told the outlet Biden must accomplish two things: show voters he is doing his job, which carries the age topic, and demonstrate a plan to improve their lives.

“Voters want to see him do his job. They want to see him talk about this stuff. They want to answer any age questions they may or may not have,” Messina said in his first point.

“They want to hear what he’s going to do to make their lives better,” he added. “And this is a format where you can be really expansive about that and really drill down.”

But the speech will be accompanied by risk, as all eyes will be on Biden, who performed poorly at a press conference in February following the release of special counsel Robert Hur’s damning report in the Biden classified documents case. Reporters pressed him on his age and mental acuity hours after the report was published, which described his memory as “significantly limited.”

In one instance, he snapped at a reporter who raised concerns about his age. In another moment, before he began fielding questions, he reportedly falsely claimed the special counsel questioned him about when his son Beau Biden died, remarking, “How in the hell dare he raise that.” A subsequent NBC News report indicated Biden brought the timing of Beau’s death up himself and that Hur had not asked such a question.

Americans’ concerns about Biden’s age have been well-documented. In a Harvard-Harris poll conducted from February 21-22, 59 percent of registered voters said they “have doubts about his fitness for office.” Similarly, 67 percent of all respondents said he is “showing he is too old” for the presidency. The poll surveyed 2,022 registered voters nationally, and a margin of error was not specified.

An NBC News poll conducted prior to Hur’s report, and Biden’s disastrous press conference that followed, found that 89 percent of voters, to varying degrees, have concerns that he lacks “the necessary mental and physical health to be president for a second term.”

That poll sampled 1,000 registered voters from January 26-30, and the margin of error is ± 3.1 percentage points.

Biden currently sits behind former President Donald Trump in national polling and in crucial swing states. Trump leads Biden 47.1 percent to 45.1 percent in Real Clear Polling’s hypothetical two-way general election match-up average, underscoring Biden’s vulnerability as Thursday approaches.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.