President Biden may need a “Bubble Wrap” strategy to protect him for the rest of the 2024 campaign, some Democrats reportedly admitted on Sunday.
New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker reported on comments from “current and former administration officials” on the strategy to handle concerns over Biden’s age ahead of his 81st birthday.
Biden, currently the oldest person ever to serve as President of the United States, turned 81 years old on Monday. If he is re-elected, Biden would be 86 years old upon leaving office.
While some told Baker Biden “needed to start getting out on the campaign trail more to show his vigor, deploy more humor to defuse the matter and even boast about his age rather than ignore it,” others promoted a more protectionist approach.
“Others, however, said he needed to be protected even more, allowed more time to rest and not sent on so many draining international trips — what some cheekily call the ‘Bubble Wrap’ strategy, as in encasing him in Bubble Wrap for the next 12 months to make sure he does not trip and fall,” the article read.
A recent NBC poll indicated 59% of registered voters have “major concerns” about Biden’s physical and mental health as he eyes a second term, with an additional 27% having either “moderate” or “minor” concerns.
However, Biden officials allegedly insist the issue is only “an obsession” of the mainstream media.
“Nothing irritates White House officials more than discussion of Mr. Biden’s age, which they view as an obsession of the news media that does not correspond with the energetic and mentally sharp president they describe inside the Oval Office. While Mr. Biden shuffles when he walks, talks in a low tone that can be hard to hear and sometimes confuses names and details in public, they note that he maintains a crushing schedule that would tire a younger president,” Baker reported.
The Times article also featured on-the-record comments from political strategists who similarly offered different perspectives on the issue of Biden’s age.
“I think a lot of voters, and young people in particular, who are not at all put off by his political positions or accomplishments, are put off by his utter failure as a regal persona,” longtime analyst John B. Judis said. “And I don’t know how that can be fixed. Not by bicycling. Biden’s best hope in that regard is the voters’ perception of Trump as a bad or even evil father who wants to wreck the family.”
By contrast, veteran Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg said, “He’s been successful because of his age, not in spite of it…We’re all going to have to make that case because it’s true. We can’t run away from the age issue. It’s going to be a major part of the conversation, but we would be making a political mistake if we don’t contest it more aggressively.”
“If some of this is contradictory, it may be because there is no easy answer, much as Democrats have been obsessing about Mr. Biden’s age. One thing the White House cannot do is make him younger,” The New York Times report concluded.
Baker further reported on Monday that the Biden administration will not be holding a public celebration for the president’s birthday in order to not draw attention to his age.
“You’re not going to see a big lavish celebration the way Barack Obama celebrated his 50th birthday in office or Bill Clinton celebrated his birthdays in office with fundraisers and concerts and all that,” Baker said on MSNBC. “You’re going to see basically almost nothing.”