04/23/2024

Biden turns 81, setting new record as oldest prez while staffers think up ways to protect him from stumbles ahead of 2024 election

President Biden will mark his 81st birthday Monday by forgiving turkeys — as his insiders reportedly ramp up their own operation dubbed “Bubble Wrap” to protect the oldest-ever president from his regular stumbles.

The birthday boy will forgive the two turkeys, Liberty and Bell, on the South Lawn of the White House Monday morning, before first Lady Jill Biden later accepts the official White House Christmas tree.

Beyond the president’s daily morning briefing, they are the only official scheduled events for a birthday he will otherwise mark with a low-key family celebration.

Still, the focus remains firmly on Biden’s age — with insiders telling The New York Times that the focus on trying to protect the oldest-ever president from tripping or falling during his reelection campaign is jokingly being called operation “Bubble Wrap.”

“He doesn’t look and speak the part,” John B. Judis, a longtime political strategist and author, told the Times. “He’s not a commanding or charming presence on a presidential or presidential election stage,” Judis noted.

“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,” Judis said.

“And I don’t know how that can be fixed. Not by bicycling.”

But other current and former administration officials have called for the president to “show his vigor” on the campaign trail and “boast about his age rather than ignore it.”

“He’s been successful because of his age, not in spite of it,”

Democrat strategist Simon Rosenberg claimed that Biden has been “successful because of his age, not in spite of it” — but readily conceded that Democrats “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 didn’t contest it more aggressively.”

The president’s doctors have claimed that certain traits — like Biden’s shuffled gait or the re-emergence of his stutter — are unrelated to questions of acuity, and some of Biden’s verbal stumbles appear to stem from his decision not to wear glasses in public.

Still, White House aides have reportedly created a safety net of small accommodations for the president, including regularly using a lower set of stairs to board Air Force One, and Secret Service and staff members using flashlights and verbal warnings to guide the president in backstage settings.

Biden has also been interacting less frequently with the White House press corps, holding fewer formal press conferences and off-the-record sessions on Air Force One, and only sitting for a single interview with a daily newspaper journalist.

Meanwhile, many inside the Democratic party have quietly expressed their own concerns about the president’s age.

At a private power conference in late September hosted by Ari Emanuel, brother of Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic angst was on full display — with one attendee worrying aloud about Biden being in serious jeopardy of losing the election and asking about the Democrats’ backup plan, according to the Washington Post.

Former Biden chief of staff and staunch ally Ron Klain quickly fired back, underscoring that there was no Plan B and that the incumbent was a formidable nominee, according to the report.