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Tipsheet

Biden’s Aides Admit the President’s Stamina and Mental Clarity Is Slipping

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden being a step or two behind the curve mentally isn’t an entirely surprising development: he is 80 years old. The 2024 re-election announcement has been made, but COVID is over. That means the aging president with a penchant for fumbling, bumbling, and spewing sentence fragments will need to hit the trail to become more visible than he ever was when he ran in 2020. There will be no basement candidacy, though it wouldn’t shock me if Biden’s surrogate list could number that of a Roman legion. Axios had a behind-the-scenes look at the 2024 Biden operation, where the octogenarian’s mental health was a focus for his aides. The lack of energy is also a concern; no one believes he’s a “night owl.”

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National campaigning is exhausting, and at his age, I doubt Biden will be able to keep up with the grueling pace, once again placing his age at the forefront (via Axios): 

Behind the scenes: Biden's close advisers say he's mentally sharp. But even some of them concede his age has diminished his energy, significantly limiting his schedule. 

Many White House officials say they're amazed at Biden's stamina — often adding the caveat: "for his age.” 

Some White House officials say it's difficult to schedule public or private events with the president in the morning, in the evening, or on weekends: The vast majority of Biden’s public events happen on weekdays, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

Jen Psaki, who was Biden's first White House press secretary, acknowledged this dynamic: She noted that the president's remarks on the Silicon Valley Bank crisis must have been a high priority since he delivered them at 9:15 a.m. 

"President Biden does nothing at 9 a.m.,” she said last month on MSNBC's 

“Morning Joe." "He is a night owl."

Biden has said he takes his time in the mornings. "I'm up at 7, 7:15," he told the "Smartless" podcast last November, adding that he works out from about 8 to 8:45 a.m.

By the numbers: A breakdown of Biden's schedule so far in 2023 reveals how his staff tries to ensure he's at his best:

Only four public events before 10 a.m. 

Just a dozen public events after 6 p.m. — mostly dinners and receptions with foreign leaders or fundraisers. 

12 full weekends with no public events. 

In response to this reporting, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O'Malley Dillon sent a one-word reply: "False." 

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If he’s vivacious and full of mirth, why is he acting like someone who is decidedly not any of those things? He has great stamina, so great that he can’t attend any public appearances for weeks. That doesn’t jive, and the age and mental competency issue will keep rearing its head as long as Joe looks slow and Democrats keep going after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), whose similar health issues has clogged up confirming a slew of Biden judicial nominees. It’s got to the point where fellow Democrats want her to resign, citing the same issues that disqualify Joe Biden from office.

Axios isn’t the first publication highlighting the aging Biden struggling to do his job. The New York Times was rather blunt that Biden had lost it and that his aides do their best to keep the ship afloat, aggressively ensuring that the president’s statements, often riddled with incoherence, don’t trigger any international or domestic fiascos. It’s a point of contention for Biden, who is frustrated at being corrected, insisting that he means what he says, much to everyone’s horror. While most Democrats would prefer a different candidate, the candidate bench isn’t deep. They’re stuck with Mr. Magoo.


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