Sep 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Favorite Biden columnist: He "should not run again in 2024"

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President Biden arrives on the White House South Lawn aboard Marine One early Tuesday after visiting India and Vietnam.

President Biden arrives on the White House South Lawn aboard Marine One early Tuesday after visiting India and Vietnam. Photo: Nathan Howard/Sipa USA via Reuters

President Biden, befitting his generation, loves newspapers and the classic columnists. David Ignatius, Tom Friedman and David Brooks top his list.

Driving the news: Ignatius, 73, a well-wired Washington Post foreign-affairs columnist who writes spy novels on the side, is out with a column (page A23 Wednesday) with the blunt headline: "President Biden should not run again in 2024."

Why it matters: Biden, 80, still sees himself as a young go-getter. Here's a respected voice he has known for 40+ years telling him that by plunging ahead, he "risks undoing his greatest achievement — which was stopping Trump."

"Biden has never been good at saying no," Ignatius writes, adding that the president has a "chance to say no — to himself, this time — by withdrawing from the 2024 race. It might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country."

  • "Time is running out," the columnist adds. "In a month or so, this decision will be cast in stone. It will be too late for other Democrats, including [Vice President] Harris, to test themselves in primaries and see whether they have the stuff of presidential leadership."

Ignatius praises Biden for passing "some of the most important domestic legislation in recent decades":

  • "Biden has in many ways remade himself as president. He is no longer the garrulous glad-hander I met when I first covered Congress more than four decades ago."

But Biden, the columnist adds, "would be 82 when he began a second term."

  • "Biden's age isn't just a Fox News trope; it's been the subject of dinner-table conversations across America this summer."

The bottom line: Biden confidants tell me that's not a conversation in his head, or in his White House. Democrats haven't coalesced around anyone else. But Ignatius has said out loud what few people will tell the president.

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