White House quips that ‘80 is the new 40’ in response to questions about Biden’s age

‘Every time he beats the naysayers,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tells reporters

Bevan Hurley
Friday 15 September 2023 23:09 BST
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White House Press Secretary makes quip: '80 is the new 40'

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre quipped that “80 is the new 40” when asked about growing concerns that President Joe Biden is too old to run for re-election.

Mr Biden, 80, is already the oldest American president and will be 82 at the start of his second term in January 2025 should he win the 2024 election.

Several recent polls have shown increasing unease among voters that Mr Biden would be able to withstand the rigours of the office into his mid-80s.

An Associated Press-NORC poll in late August found that 77 per cent of respondents believe Mr Biden is too old to be effective for four more years, including 69 per cent of Democrats.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that the Democrat was tied in a hypothetical 2024 election against Donald Trump.

And a separate Wall Street Journal poll found that more than half of US voters believe Mr Biden is “too old” to seek a second term despite being only three years older than the Republican frontrunner.

When a reporter asked during Friday’s White House briefing how Mr Biden planned to convince the American people that 80 wasn’t too old to run for re-election, Ms Jean-Pierre replied: “80 is the new 40, didn't you hear?”

“I get asked this question about once a week, I don’t know, I lose track,” the press secretary said.

"In 2019, he got the same criticism, in 2020, he got the same criticism, in 2022 he got the same criticism and every time he beats the naysayers,” she added.

Joe Biden has faced increasing questions about his fitness to run again in 2024
Joe Biden has faced increasing questions about his fitness to run again in 2024 (Associated Press)

Ms Jean-Pierre touted the president’s record in office of passing bipartisan legislation such as the Chips Act and infrastructure bill, in spite of GOP attacks that have culminated in the opening of an impeachment inquiry this week.

“Look at how he’s been able to bring both sides together to get some really important things done. That matters.”

Mr Biden’s at-times meandering statements at press conferences, such as at a press conference in Vietnam on Sunday, and occasional falls have heightened feelings of unease about his age.

Conversely Mr Trump, 77, regularly makes incoherent, rambling, statements during interviews, on his social media platform and at rallies, but has not appeared to face the same degree of scrutiny over his age.

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