CBS News White House correspondent Steven Portnoy asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about concerns regarding President Joe Biden’s age after he announced his reelection bid Tuesday.
Biden made the official announcement in an advertisement posted to social media at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The reporter asked the press secretary why the 80-year-old president is running for reelection, citing a Tuesday CBS News poll finding that 22% of Democrat-leaning voters are “excited” about him running.
“The president is 80 years old … will be 86 at the end of his second term,” Portnoy asked. “A CBS News poll this morning shows that only 22% of Democratic-leaning voters are excited about the prospect of President Biden running for reelection. I want to ask you this — as a young man who is coming of age, the president was inaugurated in 1961, said the torch had been passed to the next generation. Why has President Biden not decided to pass the torch at this point, why does he still want to hold it?”
“When it come to age, it’s the same thing that we heard in 2020,” Jean-Pierre responded. “We heard that over and over again in 2020. And if you look at what the president has done these past two years, he’s been able to deliver and get things done. Where Republicans in Congress, Republicans on the other side of Pennsylvania [Avenue], are trying to pull us back, not move us forward.” (RELATED: ‘Am I Slowing Up?’: Biden Says Questions About His Age Are Legitimate)
The press secretary pointed to returning manufacturing jobs to the U.S., and the bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed in 2021 as major accomplishments and accused Republicans of being unable to “get things done.” She then disputed the polls finding that a majority of Americans do not want Biden to run for a second term, touting that an expected “red wave” did not occur in the 2022 midterm elections.
The CBS News poll found that 54% of the voters surveyed are “accepting” of Biden running again, while 28% are “confident” and 27% are “nervous” about a second term. The poll was surveyed between April 21 through 24 with a 5.6% margin-of-error.
Biden would be the oldest president to hold public office in history and is currently the oldest presidential candidate, causing Democrats to express concern about his ability to lead given his old age. A Yahoo/YouGov poll from March found that 68% of likely voters, including 48% of likely Democratic voters, believe Biden is too old to serve a second term.
A New York Times/Siena poll from July 2022 found that 64% of Democratic voters do not want Biden to run for a second term. The president previously misconstrued the poll by telling reporters that they want him to run, though he cited the portion of the poll hypothesizing a rematch between him and former President Donald Trump, in which 92% of Democrats said they prefer Biden.