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Biden Turns 81 — Say, How’s That ‘Bridge’ Coming?


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National Review

Jim Geraghty

November 20, 2023

On the menu today: Don’t expect the White House to make a big deal of it and remind everyone about one of Joe Biden’s biggest campaign liabilities, but today is the president’s 81st birthday. NBC News greeted the president with a new poll showing him trailing Trump nationally and his approval rating hitting the lowest number ever recorded in its survey. Even young voters, traditionally a demographic that Democrats win handily, appear surprisingly split about their options in a Biden–Trump rematch. Finally, former Obama chief strategist David Axelrod warns that Biden’s odds in a matchup with Trump are less than 50–50, and that, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016, Biden is relying on Trump’s odiousness to put him over the top — an unsafe bet. And if Axelrod is saying that publicly, how likely is it that former president Obama concurs privately?

Happy Birthday, Joe Biden

Today is President Joe Biden’s 81st birthday.

Over the past few weeks, when referring to Biden I’ve often written, “The president, who turns 81 in November, is . . .” Particularly over at that other publication, there are readers who grumble in the comments that mentioning his age is a not-so-subtle shot at Biden. But it’s just a fact. Whether you like hearing it or not, Biden is now past the big eight-oh.


Back in 2019, Biden himself reportedly signaled to aides that he would serve only a single term. There was a lot of talk back then about Biden being a bridge to a new generation of Democratic leaders, and more than a little of that talk came from Biden himself. “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else,” Biden said at a March 9, 2020, campaign rally with Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Gretchen Whitmer. “There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.” (Looking back at historical events from early March 2020 feels like watching events from the first ten days of September 2001. The world’s about to suddenly change, and nobody on screen knows it.)

But Biden clearly hasn’t been a “bridge” to anyone or anything. If you wanted Biden to be a transitional president, then the work of preparing the American public for President Kamala Harris would’ve had to start much earlier.


For several years now, on those rare occasions when Biden has taken questions and been asked about voters’ concerns about his age, he has usually responded with a grin, confidently daring the skeptics, “Watch me.” Well, the American people have watched him, and they’ve decided he’s too old to do the job for another four years. This doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to vote for the Republican alternative, but they’re really looking around for a better option. (Yesterday’s new NBC News poll indicated that any Republican but Trump beats Biden by eleven percentage points, and any Democrat but Biden beats Trump by eight percentage points. Both parties are bizarrely hell-bent on nominating the least-popular option they can offer.)


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Nov 20, 2023

Megyn Kelly is joined by Emily Jashinsky, culture editor for The Federalist, and Eliana Johnson, co-host of the Ink-Stained Wretches podcast, to discuss President Joe Biden turning 81 today and whether he can last through another term, new terrible polls showing disapproval of Biden’s presidency, why Donald Trump is suddenly the 2024 frontrunner now, and more.

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