Jill Biden seemingly confirms voters' doubts about president's abilities with frequent campaign surrogate appearances

 May 28, 2024

Many Americans have doubts about President Joe Biden's current physical and mental capabilities to lead the nation, much less effectively campaign for another four-year term in office.

Those doubts about the president have seemingly been confirmed by the increasing frequency of surrogacy on his behalf by the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, who will soon deliver a commencement address at a small community college in Pennsylvania, according to WPHL in Philadelphia.

Set to address small community college graduation ceremony

To be sure, the first lady's commencement speech is not an official campaign appearance on behalf of her husband, but it isn't hard to imagine that she will use the opportunity to make the case, perhaps in a roundabout way, for his re-election.

Per the local media outlet, Dr. Biden is scheduled to speak at the June 1 graduation ceremony for Erie County Community College, not necessarily in her role as a campaign surrogate for President Biden but rather as a community college professor herself and advocate for higher learning.

The event will be small, as there are only around 80 students in the graduating class who are set to receive associate degrees or other certificates, and the ceremony is only open to graduates and their guests, though it will reportedly also be live-streamed for a wider audience.

Jill Biden takes on leading surrogate role

Politico reported in February that President Biden's campaign was prepared to unleash its "secret weapon" in the quest for a second term in office -- his wife, the first lady.

She had already proven herself to be adept at fundraising and had played the surrogate role to great effect in the president's prior campaigns for the Senate and vice presidency, as well as during his successful 2020 run. She is also seen as having broad appeal to certain demographic groups that Democrats rely upon for electoral victories, most especially including educated women in the suburbs.

"There’s no greater time to emphasize her role, because of all of the really impactful events happening around the world that are consuming the White House and consuming the President in his day job," the first lady's former spokesman, Michael LaRosa, told the outlet at the time. "Dr. B is his most effective surrogate to the country."

Just about a week after that report, as if on cue, the Associated Press reported in late February that the first lady would take the lead in a "Women for Biden-Harris" sub-campaign that would have her travel nationwide to mobilize and rally women voters in support of the president's re-election bid.

In April, ABC News reported that the first lady was also at the head of another sub-campaign known as "Educators for Biden-Harris," in which she would similarly seek to "engage and mobilize teachers, school staff, and parents" to support and vote for another term for her husband.

Biden trailing in polls amid voter doubts about his abilities

President Biden could use all of the help he can get, as RealClearPolling's average of national general election polls shows that former President Donald Trump is leading the incumbent by around 1.1 points -- a stark change from the same time during the 2020 election when then-challenger Biden led then-incumbent Trump by 5.3 points.

The polling also showed that despite the purported tightness of the national race in 2024, Trump holds marginal to solid leads in all seven of the main swing states that typically decide close elections -- Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

One likely possibility for the bad polling numbers for Biden, according to a Fox News report in April, is that a majority of American voters have serious doubts that the president has the necessary physical and mental capabilities to continue serving as the nation's foremost leader.

That report highlighted a Pew Research Center survey which found that only around a third of voters had any confidence in Biden's physical and mental fitness while roughly two-thirds of voters had "little or no confidence" in the president's capacity to meet the requirements of the demanding job of the presidency.

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