An elderly man with a weak memory but good intentions...

The recent comments by special prosecutor Robert Hur, appointed by the US Department of Justice, describing President Biden as a 'senile, well-intentioned, elderly man' reignited the debate about Biden's age. Biden's enduring image of being elderly and lacking dynamism seems to be his biggest disadvantage in the November elections. Holding the title of the oldest sitting president in American history, Biden will break his own record as the oldest presidential candidate in the November elections. The fact that Trump, at 77, is running against the 81-year-old Biden will leave American voters with the choice of electing their oldest president. While some argue that age discrimination is unfair, Biden's advanced age has become a significant point of discussion that could influence the outcome of the election. In addition to Biden's memory issues, his controlled and brief appearances in public, contrasted with Trump's more dynamic demeanor, present a serious handicap.

Special Prosecutor Hur conducted an investigation into Biden's alleged mishandling of classified documents outside the White House. A similar investigation was launched against Trump, prompting the Department of Justice to appoint a prosecutor for Biden to avoid the perception of only investigating Trump. While Prosecutor Hur concluded that no prosecution was warranted, his politically charged statements about Biden sparked a storm. Biden's visible anger was evident, and he quickly took to the podium to respond sharply to the report. After asserting that his age was not a problem and that he was the most qualified candidate for the presidency, he inadvertently mixed up Egyptian President Sisi with the Mexican President, undermining his own argument. It was already known that Biden was sensitive to discussions about his age, but the president's defensive stance on the matter sparked a broader debate.

In a mid-February poll conducted among registered voters (Quinnipiac University), Biden is seen with 49% support compared to Trump's 45%. In the same poll, 69% believe Biden is too old for the presidency, while 57% think the same of Trump. These figures suggest that while concerns about age may work against Biden, they are ineffective in changing voting behavior. In other words, voters are critical of both candidates' advanced age and perceive Biden's mental health as a bigger issue. However, it is possible to say that resistance to Trump is stronger than concerns about age. Despite critical voices against Biden's reelection, their muted impact reflects the Democrats' reluctance to risk having Trump back in office. While this sentiment may work in Biden's favor, it remains doubtful whether it will generate the election fervor needed for his reelection.

When Biden assumed office, he was older than Ronald Reagan, who, upon completing his term as the oldest president in American history, was even older than Reagan. Reagan faced questions about his advancing age when running for a second term but managed to turn it in his favor. During a debate with his opponent Walter Mondale, when asked if his advancing age would be a problem in a national security crisis, Reagan gave a clever and witty response that turned the debate in his favor. Reagan's confident and humorous response contrasts with Biden's aggressive defense, indicating his discomfort on the issue. Biden's team's efforts to shield him from the media to prevent his gaffes and memory issues from being exposed also keep the issue in the spotlight.

As the fall campaign enters its final stretch, Biden will need to appear much more prominently in public. If he fails to keep up with Trump's pace, the age issue will continue to work against him. The race will be particularly tough in swing states, testing the resilience of both candidates. Although polls show that the age issue may work against Biden, it has not been enough to change voting behavior. However, if either candidate experiences health issues during the election process, it could change the course of the race. In this regard, the vice-presidential candidates will play a more critical role than in previous elections. It's hard to argue that Kamala Harris has shown a profile capable of filling the presidency so far. If Trump's chosen running mate presents a stronger profile than Harris, Biden's campaign will face an even tougher challenge.

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