The New York Times correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg faced backlash for appearing to defend President Biden’s age against concerns it could affect his potential 2024 re-election campaign.
Biden’s age, turning 80 on Sunday, has been a common theme among Republican critics and even some Democratic allies and media pundits. Should he win re-election in the 2024 presidential race, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term.
Stolberg wrote that aging experts state that octogenarians who are “active, engaged, and goal-oriented can stay productive and healthy — and that wisdom and experience are important factors to consider.”
“Mr. Biden, these pundits agreed, has a lot in his favor: He’s highly educated, has plenty of social interaction, a stimulating job that requires a lot of thought, is married and has a strong family network — all factors that are, studies show , protects against dementia and promotes healthy aging. He doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol and, according to the White House, exercises five times a week. He also enjoys top-notch medical care,” Stolberg wrote.
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She noted that the New York Times spoke to 10 experts on the subject, despite saying “Mr. did not examine or treat Biden.” Furthermore, these experts argued that “the brain continues to develop as we age” and “some brain functions may even improve.”
Stolberg concluded: “The question of whether age should matter in an election was raised by Dr. Nir Barzilai, who leads a study of centenarians and directs the Institute for Research on Aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, to put it simply: ‘Age,’ he said, ‘is not something to consider.'”
Some social media users disagreed with Stolberg’s reporting, calling the article an attempt to defend President Biden.
“He’s not 90?” Substack author Jim Treacher tweeted.
“You have to be at least 85 years old to hold an important position in DC these days,” joked Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel.
Adam Singer, AdQuick’s vice president of marketing, wrote: “We have age restrictions if we are too young to run for president. This is theoretically a form of ageism unless we block the other end as well. Biologically it makes sense too. Please stop normalizing the below. Is crazy that we picked people who are not in their prime physically to lead…”
Novelist MA Rothman wrote: “This is ridiculous. I would argue that there should be an age limit, but since there isn’t one I would say there should be mandatory cognitive assessments with a minimum limit. We don’t need mentally disabled people to represent us, regardless of age.”
“No red wave so we need to start talking about how healthy he is now,” Conservative commentator Noam Blum tweeted.
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Despite Stolberg’s article, New York Times columns and previous reports have written that Biden’s age is an “uncomfortable issue” for the Democratic Party. In December, columnist Bret Stephens even begged Biden not to run for a second term because of his age.
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“Is it a good idea for Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024? And if he runs again and wins, would it be good for the United States to have a president who is 86 years old — the age that Biden would have at the end of a second term?” he wrote. “I have these questions bluntly posed because they need to be discussed openly and not just whispered about all the time.”