NEWS AND OPINION:
The New York Times editorial board released a telling message for President Biden and perhaps the nation. It is headlined “Biden should take voters’ concerns about age seriously.”
The candid piece from the news organization’s editorial board was illustrated with a silhouette of aviator sunglasses — a favorite accessory of the 46th president. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Mr. Biden acknowledged during the lead-up to the 2020 campaign that he was ‘chronologically’ old but said it was up to voters to decide whether that was important. In that election, against an opponent who was only four years younger, the answer was clearly no. In November 2021, he released a medical report that said he was a ‘healthy, vigorous 78-year-old’ and noted nothing more serious than a stiffened gait due to spinal changes and some acid reflux that caused him to cough,” the editorialists wrote.
“His most recent health summary, released on Feb. 16, said much the same thing, describing him as a ‘healthy, vigorous 80-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.’ But his cognitive abilities went unmentioned. That’s something he should discuss publicly and also demonstrate to the voters, who expect the president to reflect the nation’s strength,” the editorial continued.
“If he runs again, Mr. Biden will need to provide explicit reassurance to voters; many of them have seen family members decline rapidly in their 80s. Americans are watching what Mr. Biden says and does, just as he has asked them to do,” it concluded.
The editorial was released Saturday amid news reports that Mr. Biden could reveal his political plans as early as Tuesday. And for those who wonder, the president turns 81 on Nov. 20. See some pertinent numbers about all this in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
A TELLING PENCE MOMENT
A conversation between former Vice President Mike Pence and CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa took place not long after Mr. Pence appeared at the influential Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Victory Spring Kick-Off” in the city of Clive.
“It’s almost May. When are you going to decide on whether you are running for the Republican nomination?” Mr. Costa asked during the conversation, which aired on “Face the Nation,” the network Sunday morning political talk show.
“We’re getting awfully close. But I don’t have anything to announce today, Robert,” Mr. Pence replied.
Mr. Costa asked whether that weighty, “hard decision” to run for the White House would be made in late June.
“If we have an announcement to make, it’ll be well before late June,” Mr. Pence replied.
“But are you leaning in or are you leaning away from running?” the CBS correspondent asked.
“Well, I’m here in Iowa, Robert,” his guest said.
“That’s a tell,” Mr. Costa said.
“Look, I love this country. And I think America is in a lot of trouble. And what I hear people telling me is that the challenges that we’re facing in an increasingly dangerous world, the challenge that we’re facing in this economy with inflation at a 40-year high, a crisis at our border, are going to require someone who has the ability to step in on day one, and set our country back on a path towards security and prosperity. And so we’re thinking very deeply about that,” Mr. Pence replied.
THE ULTERIOR MOTIVE
Is there a political angle at work when the news media publishes classified information that has been leaked? Most voters believe that is the case according to a timely new Rasmussen Reports survey.
It found that 54% of likely U.S. voters agree “most media outlets that publish classified information are doing it for political reasons,” the pollster said in a brief analysis of its findings, which did not delve into specific political reasons.
Another 37% say the media publish classified leaks “because they believe in the public’s right to know these things.”
The survey of 963 likely U.S. voters was conducted on April 12-13 and 16.
MEANWHILE IN FLORIDA
The press closely follows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, parsing out the possibility he could run for president in 2024 — and weighing in on the chance that Mr. DeSantis no longer supports former President Donald Trump’s bid for reelection when the time comes.
What about lawmakers in the Sunshine State? They appear more receptive to the 45th president’s efforts to return to the White House.
“Representative Carlos Gimenez on Friday became the eleventh member of Congress from Florida to endorse former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race,” noted National Review in a report on Friday.
“Gimenez joins the majority of Florida’s 20 Republican members of Congress in snubbing Florida governor Ron DeSantis in favor of the former president. Other members who have endorsed Trump include Representatives Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, Anna Paulina Luna, Cory Mills, Greg Steube, Byron Donalds, Vern Buchanan, Gus Bilirakis, Michael Waltz, and John Rutherford,” the report said.
There’s a little socializing going on as well. The eleven lawmakers also joined Mr. Trump for dinner at his home base of Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, according to National Review.
POLL DU JOUR
• 70% of U.S. adults do not think President Biden should run for a second term in the White House.
• 48% of this group say Mr. Biden‘s age is a “major reason” which drives their opinion.
• 21% of them say age is a “minor reason.”
• 29% say age is not a reason behind their opinion.
• 2% are not sure about the issue.
SOURCE: An NBC News poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted April 14-18.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.