For the first time on Wednesday during an interview with ABC’s David Muir, President Joe Biden added the word “if” to his statement about whether he will run for a second term in 2024.
“You said you would absolutely serve eight years if elected,” Muir told the president. “Do you plan to run for reelection?”
Biden immediately answered in the affirmative, but added a caveat that had never been there before.
“But look,” he continued. “I’m a great respecter of fate. Fate has intervened in my life many, many times. If I’m in the health I’m in now, if I’m in good health, then in fact I would run again.”
It was the first admission by Biden that his health could decline over the next three years, making another presidential run and term difficult.
Observers have noticed that his confusion and seeming memory lapses have increased over the last year, and Biden skillfully avoided a cognitive exam when he got a physical in November.
The lack of cognitive assessment has fueled speculation that he is mentally declining due to dementia or another disease.
He was the oldest president to take office in January, and is now 78 years old. He will be 82 years old when he takes the oath of office in 2025 if manages to get re-elected.
Is re-election likely?
The likelihood of re-election looks slim at best at this point, though, as the decline in his poll numbers may be even more rapid than his perceived mental decline.
His approval ratings have steadily fallen into the low 40s or high 30s in most polls since August, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan just before a U.S. military pullout, which most Americans feel Biden botched by leaving hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies behind.
Rapidly on the heels of Afghanistan, it became apparent that inflation was worsening at an alarming rate, with gas and energy prices leading the spike. By September, the chant “Let’s Go Brandon!” had evolved from “F*** Joe Biden!” while carrying the same meaning, and was being heard in numerous places around the country.
One has to wonder whether Biden’s sudden qualification about whether he will run again has something to do with his sudden unpopularity, and whether his health will become the excuse his handlers need to try to stay in power for four more years with someone new.