President Joe Biden — notoriously sheltered from the press — appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday for a rare sit-down interview.
Biden spoke defensively about his mental acuity… and about how being elderly has affected his reelection prospects.
“Mr. President, you are the oldest president ever,” CBS News anchor Scott Pelley remarked.
Biden interrupted, “Pretty good shape, huh?”
“Which leads to my next question,” Pelley continued. “You are more aware of this than anyone. Some people ask whether you are fit for the job, and when you hear that, I wonder what you think.”
“Watch me,” Biden replied. “Honest to God, that’s what I think. Watch me.”
Biden went on:
If you think I don’t have the energy level or the mental acuity then, that’s, y’know, one thing.
It’s another thing to just watch. Keep my schedule. Do what I’m doing.
I think that, y’know, I don’t — When I sit down with out NATO allies and keep them together, I don’t have them saying, ‘Wait a minute. How old are you? What did you say?’
Y’know, I mean, it’s a matter of — You know that old expression. ‘The proof of the pudding’s in the eating.’
I mean, I respect the fact that people would say, ‘You’re old.’
And — But I think it relates to how much energy you have and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do.
Pelley followed up, “How would you say your mental focus is?”
“Oh, it’s focused,” Biden said, laughing. “I have trouble even mentioning, even saying to myself in my own head the number of years — I no more think of myself as being as old as I am than fly. I mean it’s just not — I haven’t observed anything in terms of — There’s not things that I don’t do now that I did before, whether it’s physical or mental or anything else.”
In the lead-up to the discussion of age, Pelley had been asking about Biden’s plans for the 2024 election.
Biden said he intended to run again, but stopped short of formerly committing to another campaign, citing FEC regulations about campaign announcements.
Pelley asked the president point-blank, “Sir, are you committed to running again, or are there certain conditions that have to be right?”
Biden said, “Look, if I were to say to you, I’m running again, all of a sudden a whole range of things come into play that I have requirements to change and move and do.”
Pelley said, “In terms of election laws?”
Biden said, “In terms of election laws. And it’s much too early to make that kind of decision. I’m a great respecter of fate. And so what I’m doing is I’m doing my job. I’m going to do that job. And within the timeframe that makes sense after this next election cycle here, going into next year, make a judgment on what to do.”
Pelley said, “You say that it’s much too early to make that decision. I take it the decision has not been made in your own head.”
Biden said, “Look, my intention, as I said, to begin with, is that I would run again. But it’s just an intention. But is it a firm decision that I run again? That remains to be seen.”
Biden didn’t answer the second part of Pelley’s question. He failed to address the right conditions for starting a reelection campaign.
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Throughout the interview, Biden dropped some other bombshells as well.
For one thing, Biden declared an end to the pandemic.
“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” Biden said, gesturing to his surroundings at the Detroit auto show.
“Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”
Biden also said that he would send U.S. forces to Taiwan in the event of an invasion by China.
After the interview, the White House staff told CBS that Biden was deviating from the State Department’s official policy of remaining silent on this issue. They specified that the U.S. had not changed its official policy.
CBS speculated that Biden was simply voicing his own private beliefs. The Washington Post speculated that Biden may have been speaking off the cuff.
Watch the interview here —
The Horn editorial team