Senility is becoming an overt line of attack for the first time in a modern U.S. presidential campaign, White House editor Margaret Talev writes.
- As President Trump ramps up insinuations that his general election rival is doddering, Joe Biden turned the tables yesterday, saying Trump "doesn’t seem to be cognitively aware of what’s going on" with his own briefings.
Why it matters: As Americans live longer and work later into life and there's more awareness about the science of aging, we're also seeing politicians test the boundaries of electability.
- Biden is 77. Trump, now 74, already is the oldest person to assume the U.S. presidency.
At the same news conference where he took a swipe at Trump, Biden was asked by a reporter if he has been tested for cognitive decline.
- "I'm constantly tested," Biden responded, adding that "I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I'm running against."
- Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted: "What were the results? Why is he getting constantly tested? 👀"
Biden campaign advisers tell Axios' Alexi McCammond and Hans Nichols that the testing Biden was talking about is the past 15 months on the campaign trail, and that they see Trump's attacks, in psychological terms, as "projection."
Candidates’ age and mental state have been questioned in past presidential campaigns — Barry Goldwater in '64, Ronald Reagan in '84 and Bob Dole in '96 — but never like this.
- Trump remarks, historian Julian Zelizer said, can be "just a mishmash of words."
- "Biden, there's questions, more subtle I think, about he doesn't finish every sentence, or during the debates he'd pause."
Between the lines: Both Trump and Biden are known for speaking off the cuff, opening themselves to gaffes and rambling.