Biden appears lost following White House event, needs guidance of first lady Jill to exit stage

December 5, 2023

A strong majority of Americans believe that President Joe Biden's advanced age and declining cognitive capabilities have rendered him unfit to even serve out the remainder of his term in office, much less run for re-election and serve a second term as president.

Those beliefs were seemingly realized on Sunday when Biden appeared lost and in search of direction following a White House event and needed the guidance of first lady Jill Biden to exit the stage, according to Rare.

The president had just finished announcing and greeting this year's Kennedy Center honorees for their contributions to the arts and society.

Biden and the Kennedy Center honorees

Sunday afternoon, in the East Room of the White House, President Biden delivered remarks about this year's honorees for the Kennedy Center, which included comedic actor Billy Crystal, opera singer Renee Fleming, musician and singer Barry Gibb of the Bee-Gees, actress and rapper Queen Latifah, and singer Dionne Warwick.

Biden's speech was full of his typical flubs and gaffes, including repeatedly misnaming some honorees. Still, it was his actions immediately after his speech concluded that drew sharp attention and concern for his state of mind and well-being.

After thanking the audience and briefly shaking hands with the honorees seated on stage, the elderly president turned around and appeared to be momentarily lost until the first lady stepped forward and guided her husband off the stage with an outstretched hand.

Most voters think Biden is too old; president says "Watch me"

Politico reported in November that the public's perception of President Biden's age and health is arguably his biggest liability amid his campaign for a second term in the White House.

Polls show that roughly two-thirds of voters think Biden is too old to effectively serve as president, including around two-thirds of Democratic voters, and a solid majority of voters have real concerns about the elderly president's physical health and mental capabilities to carry out the grueling job of the presidency.

Biden appears to be at least somewhat cognizant of those concerns as he has increasingly taken to making self-deprecating jokes about his age even as the standard narrative to emerge from his defenders and supporters is that his age and health are no big deal and the public's fears are overblown and fueled by opposition propaganda.

Yet, Biden has also been dismissive of those concerns at times as well, such as when he was asked about exactly that by NBC News's Kristen Welker after the 2022 midterm elections, according to Newsweek, and said his simple message to those worried voters was "Watch me."

He has used that same "Watch me" retort to dismiss voter concerns about his age and health on several other occasions, including in a February interview with ABC News's David Muir about the launch of his re-election campaign, though he did at least acknowledge that such concerns were "totally legitimate," according to The Hill.

Voters have watched Biden and are right to be concerned

President Biden is currently 81 and has already set the record for being the oldest president in U.S. history. He will be 82 by the time the 2024 election is held, and if selected to serve a second term, would be 86 upon finally leaving the White House.

To be sure, Biden's advanced age alone isn't the sole issue for voters -- his chief Republican rival, former President Donald Trump, is just three years younger but doesn't suffer from the same negative public perceptions -- but in conjunction with his increasingly obvious moments of confusion and the apparent decline of his cognitive capabilities over the past few years, presents a real quandary for the American public in the next election.

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