People in their 80s lead countries, create majestic art and perform feats of endurance. One entered the record books for scaling Mount Everest, AP writes.
It’s soon time for Joe Biden, 80 on Sunday, to decide whether he has one more mountain to climb — the one to a second term as president.Questions swirl now, in his own party as well as broadly in the country, about whether he’s got what it takes to go for the summit again.
The oldest president in U.S. history, Biden hits his milestone birthday at a personal crossroads as he and his family face a decision in the coming months on whether he should announce for reelection. He’d be 86 at the end of a potential second term. Biden aides and allies all say he intends to run — and his team has begun quiet preparations for a campaign — but it has often been the president himself who has sounded the most equivocal.
“My intention is that I run again,” he said at a news conference this month. ”But I’m a great respecter of fate.”“We’re going to have discussions about it,” he said. Aides expect those conversations to pick up in earnest over Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a decision not until well after New Year’s.
Biden planned to celebrate his birthday at a family brunch in the White House on Sunday.To observe Biden at work is to see a leader tap a storehouse of knowledge built up over a half century in public office as he draws on deep personal relationships at home and abroad, his mastery of policy and his familiarity with how Washington works or doesn’t. In short, the wisdom of the aged.
“There is something to be said for experience,” said Dartmouth College historian Matt Delmont as he noted the dozens of global leaders in their 80s.
But to observe Biden is also to see him walk now often with a halting gait, in contrast to his trotting on stage on election night 2020. It is to see him take a pass on a formal dinner with other world leaders without a real explanation, as happened on his trip abroad this past week, when he twice spoke of visiting Colombia when he meant Cambodia.
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