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Former Democratic Rep. and South Carolina governor candidate Joe Cunningham said Thursday that he does not think former President Biden should run again in 2024 due to his age.
Asked on CNN’s New Day if he thought Biden, 79, was too old to run for reelection, Cunningham replied: ‘Yeah. I think we need to have a new generation of leadership.’
‘The whole system of government is being run by a geriatric oligarchy,’ Cunningham said.
The one-term congressman had just put out an ad advocating for age limits in government. ‘Democrats have a very deep bench, and it’s time to allow a new generation to emerge and new talent.’
‘This isn’t about, personal about Biden, but he’d be 82 [by the] time of the next election. If he served out a second term, he would be 86 years old. I’m not sure if any of us know any 86-year-olds who should be running the entire country,’ Cunningham said.
The 40-year-old gubernatorial candidate also said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., should retire at 81. He noted that in the Palmetto State judges have to retire at age 72.
Former Democratic Rep. and South Carolina governor candidate Joe Cunningham said Thursday that he does not think former President Biden should run again in 2024 due to his age
Asked on CNN’s New Day if he thought Biden, 79, was too old to run for reelection, Cunningham replied: ‘Yeah. I think we need to have a new generation of leadership’
‘This isn’t anything personal. I mean, we set out – we draw a line, age 72, South Carolina state law is judges have to retire at age 72. So my question and the point that I’m making, if you’re too old to interpret the law, are you not too old to be making the law?’ he asked.
Biden has made it clear he intends to run again, and still Democrats are quietly setting the stage for a presidential race without the incumbent on the ticket.
The outlook for who would replace Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket is murky as his second-in-command Kamala Harris is beleaguered by low poll numbers. Her own presidential campaign in 2020 faded out quickly.
Meanwhile, Americans are not particularly jazzed about another Biden run – 61 percent said they do not think the president should seek a second term, according to a May Rasmussen poll.
It’s rare for a president to bow out of the fight after only one term – only six have ever done so.
There was a new round of scrutiny about President Joe Biden’s age earlier this month after the New York Times quoted a mix of rank-and-file Democrats and senior figures raising concerns about the issue as the mid-term elections approach.
The paper’s Sunday front page treatment of the subject that dogged Biden, 79, throughout his most recent presidential campaign, comes amid low approval ratings and fears among some Democrats that he remains vulnerable to a restoration effort by former President Donald Trump.
‘I need an equivalent of Ron DeSantis, a Democrat, but not a 70- or 80-year-old — a younger person,’ Maryland data analyst Alex Wyshyvanuk, 33, told the paper. ‘Someone who knows what worked for you in 1980 is not going to work for you in 2022 or 2024,’ he said.
The paper also quoted a Democratic National Committee member from Florida, Steve Simionidis, saying Biden ‘should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.’
But the publication cited ‘deep concern’ about Biden’s political viability among dozens of officials who would not provide on-record comments. Biden would be 82 at the time of the next Inauguration Day. The airing of concerns comes at a time when the House Jan. 6 committee was busy laying out evidence gleaned from hundreds of interviews about Trump’s election overturn effort.
‘The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,’ said David Axelrod, 67, who helped propel Barack Obama’s ascent with a campaign that featured youthful energy and a ‘hope’ slogan. Obama was 47 when he took office, after failing to complete his first term in the Senate.
The story set off a new round of speculation about Biden’s age, amid fretting that his age, amid record inflation, a war in Ukraine, and a now tumbling stock market could imperil an effort to beat back Trump.
Axios chimed in with a story on the American gerontocracy, noting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 82 and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer is 71.
Even longtime commentator David Gergen, 80, told PBS NewsHour: ‘I think people like Biden and Trump ought to both step back and leave open the door to younger people.’
The Times has run similar pieces before, including one in 2019 where Democrats were fretting that the candidate, then 76, was ‘slow off the mark, uncertain about how to counterpunch,’ according to the paper, in a debate that featured then Sen. Kamala Harris. He went on to capture the nomination and win the presidency.