November 28, 2022

President Ronald Reagan, 1984: “I cannot make age a problem on this marketing campaign. I’m not going to make use of – for political functions – the youth and inexperience of my opponent.

David Longstreet / ASSOCIATED PRESS


cover title

toggle signature

David Longstreet / ASSOCIATED PRESS


President Ronald Reagan, 1984: “I cannot make age a problem on this marketing campaign. I’m not going to make use of – for political functions – the youth and inexperience of my opponent.

David Longstreet / ASSOCIATED PRESS

This is without doubt one of the most incessantly repeated moments in presidential debate historical past.

Standing on stage in Kansas Metropolis in October 1984, President Ronald Reagan was requested a query that was on the thoughts of virtually everybody. He was the oldest president in historical past and was described as “very drained” after earlier debates. Did he have any doubts about his capability to perform if he was disadvantaged of sleep throughout a nationwide safety disaster?

Reagan, then 73, mentioned, “By no means.” And, frowning for a second, he bowed to a slight smile, including, “I cannot make age a problem with this marketing campaign. I’m not going to take advantage of – for political functions – the youth and inexperience of my opponent.

The query of how outdated is just too outdated has additionally plagued President Biden, the oldest president ever to be sworn in. Polls have proven that even Democratic voters have doubts about whether or not he’s too outdated for the job. He informed CBS 60 minutes that his reply to a query about age is, “Take a look at me,” referring to his schedule and power ranges.

Biden turns 80 on Sunday. He mentioned he would discuss to his household over the following few months about whether or not to pursue his intention to run for a second time period, after which he could be 86 years outdated.

“I’ve a whole lot of respect for destiny. And it is finally a household determination,” Biden informed reporters earlier this month. “I believe everybody desires me to run, however… we’ll discuss it.”

President Biden is campaigning with gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore in Bowie, Maryland forward of the US midterm elections.

Mandel Ngan/AFP through Getty Photographs


cover title

toggle signature

Mandel Ngan/AFP through Getty Photographs


President Biden is campaigning with gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore in Bowie, Maryland forward of the US midterm elections.

Mandel Ngan/AFP through Getty Photographs

Reagan was the primary president to face the query, “How outdated is just too outdated?”

In 1984, when Reagan humorously dismissed the query of age on the controversy stage, everybody within the room laughed. Amongst them was Reagan’s opponent, veteran Senator and former Vice President Walter Mondale, 56, although he knew his slim likelihood of defeating Reagan had simply vanished. The incumbent has received a landslide victory in 49 states.

However there may be rather more to this story than what’s often remembered. The query of Reagan’s suitability had been within the air even earlier than that assembly in Kansas Metropolis. In earlier debates, Reagan appeared fuzzy on the information. Talking of army uniforms, he had a tough time coining the phrase “wardrobe”, a time period extra suited to his film star years.

Hypothesis about Reagan’s acumen hung over the political dialog. Time the journal drew candidates on cartoon horses working down a observe with the caption: “An actual race?”

When former President Ronald Reagan struggled within the debate, the query of his age got here up. He humorously dismissed the difficulty, stating that he wouldn’t reap the benefits of his opponent’s “youth and inexperience”.

Scan by NPR/TIME


cover title

toggle signature

Scan by NPR/TIME


When former President Ronald Reagan struggled within the debate, the query of his age got here up. He humorously dismissed the difficulty, stating that he wouldn’t reap the benefits of his opponent’s “youth and inexperience”.

Scan by NPR/TIME

Reagan’s good-natured type made it attainable to cover uncertainty below the guise of affability. However even on that stage in Kansas Metropolis, minutes after his great joke appeared to bury the age concern, Reagan’s closing speech raised questions.

When requested to summarize, he started to explain the journey he and his spouse Nancy took on the California Coastal Freeway 1 12 months in the past. The story is winding, very similar to that freeway. These within the room, together with this author, felt a rising sense of discomfort as Reagan continued aimlessly.

The moderator, Edwin Newman of NBC, lastly minimize him off and interrupted. And the room returned to its former temper of confidence. Reagan was positive. Is just not it?

The decline in consideration or effectivity throughout his second time period was generally attributed to his age. Nevertheless, the voters didn’t look nervous. When Reagan’s time period expired, 40 states voted for his vice chairman, George W. Bush, to succeed him. Bush was 13 years youthful than Reagan, however in some ways belonged to the World Warfare II technology.

Years after Reagan left workplace, the nation discovered that he had Alzheimer’s, a degenerative situation that will finally declare his life. The disclosure of the prognosis once more raised questions on whether or not there have been indicators of early signs throughout his second time period.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2022, in Palm Seashore, Florida.

Andrew Harnick/AP


cover title

toggle signature

Andrew Harnick/AP


Former President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2022, in Palm Seashore, Florida.

Andrew Harnick/AP

There is no such thing as a higher age restrict for federal elected officers, together with presidents.

Biden is the primary octogenarian within the Oval Workplace. Solely three others earlier than him have been of their 70s after they have been within the White Home. The primary was Dwight Eisenhower, who turned 70 shortly earlier than his time period led to January 1961, and the second was Reagan, who was 77 when he left.

Previous to Biden, Donald Trump was the oldest president on the day of his inauguration. Trump was 74 when he left workplace and filed paperwork to run once more. If he returns to workplace, he will probably be 82 by the top of this time period.

Whereas airline pilots face necessary retirement at 65, federal regulation enforcement at 65, and judges in some states at 70, there isn’t a age restrict for elected federal officers. The rule is that the voters determine.

As a place to begin, look to the US Senate, the place Iowa Republican Charles Grassley was simply elected to a different six-year time period. He’s now 89. In 2003, South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond retired on the age of 100.

However senators, necessary as they’re, usually are not presidents. They might take a time without work, or perhaps a week or a month. They aren’t the each day keepers of the nuclear codes, with all the following penalties.

The structure requires members of Congress to be 25 years outdated and presidents and vice presidents to be 35 years outdated. That is all. There is no such thing as a higher age restrict. And apparently, the contributors within the conference that wrote this doc in 1787 didn’t care concerning the higher restrict in any respect. This could possibly be attributable to the truth that they themselves have been comparatively younger, averaging 42 years outdated. The youngest was solely 26 years outdated, the oldest, Benjamin Franklin, was 81 years outdated (he was taken to periods and again in a palanquin).

President George W. Bush and President-elect Invoice Clinton on the White Home on Wednesday, November 18, 1992.

Barry Tumma / ASSOCIATED PRESS


cover title

toggle signature

Barry Tumma / ASSOCIATED PRESS


President George W. Bush and President-elect Invoice Clinton on the White Home on Wednesday, November 18, 1992.

Barry Tumma / ASSOCIATED PRESS

There was an enormous age distinction between Clinton and his rivals.

Age was an implicit distinction within the 1992 election, when Invoice Clinton challenged incumbent President George W. Bush. Clinton was 46 when he was first nominated and was nonetheless extensively perceived because the “boy governor” first elected in Arkansas when he was solely 32 years outdated.

Bush was 22 years older than him. On the time, this was the most important age hole between the 2 main events’ candidates because the Civil Warfare.

In 1996, when President Invoice Clinton was in search of re-election at age 50, the age concern was raised in one other presidential debate in 1996. His Republican challenger was Bob Dole, a longtime senator who was then 73 years outdated.

“I do not suppose Senator Dole is just too outdated to be president. concepts I doubt it,” Clinton mentioned.

Dole did not appear too flustered by the references to his age, though he did trigger concern mid-campaign when he leaned in opposition to a flimsy railing and fell close to the stage at a marketing campaign rally.

Candidates should be conscious of each public transfer they make. This picture of Dole’s fall has served as a reminder ever since that this crucial applies particularly to individuals of a sure age.

YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *