Some voters are hesitant about electing a president who is in his or her mid-to-late 70s, citing concerns about physical and mental fitness, as well as life span. Former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, did nothing to ease those concerns Tuesday.
Biden, discussing his criteria for selecting a vice presidential candidate, said he wanted to choose someone who could take over for him in case his age prevents him from carrying out his duties in one way or another.
"I can think of at least eight women, at least four or five people of color, that I think are totally qualified to be vice president of the United States," Biden said. "But for me, it has to be demonstrated that whoever I pick is two things. One, is capable of being president, because I'm an old guy. No, I'm serious. Look, thank God I'm in great health, I work out, no I'm serious, you know I work out every morning. I'm in good shape."
.@JoeBiden: "Whomever I pick” for VP, must “be capable of being president, because I’m an old guy — no I’m serious!” https://t.co/WGnGkNnghI— Tom Elliott (@Tom Elliott) 1580291684.0
Joking or not, Biden's age does add an additional level of significance to his running mate selection. If elected, he would be 78 years upon his inauguration. President Donald Trump is the oldest person ever to be elected president, and he is currently 73.
Additionally, Biden has had a series of missteps on the campaign trail that raise questions about how sharp he is mentally. He has mixed up facts, made up stories, and even forgotten where he is at different times during the primary. Those are issues that seem unlikely to improve as he approaches his 80s and deals with the stress of the presidency.
Biden's other comment, about women and people of color as candidates for VP, may indicate a high likelihood that he would select a minority woman as his running mate.
Some names that have been floated over the past few months include Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia in 2018, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who dropped out of the presidential primary in December.