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Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont ‘independent’ who caucuses with Democrats and twice ran for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016 and 2020, made an interesting remark about supporting the man who beat him the second time around.
Sanders said he would support Biden again if he wants to run for reelection in 2024, even amid whispering in some Democratic circles that he ought to reconsider his decision to run again.
The long-serving Vermont senator stressed that he won’t throw his hat back into the ring to mount a primary challenge against Biden should the president go ahead and run for reelection, adding that he believes Biden will try for a second term despite rising concerns about his age, mental status, and poor approval ratings.
“I think it’s a little too early,” Sanders told CNN in a report that was published on Monday. “I think Biden will probably run again, and if he runs again, I will support him.”
The Washington Examiner adds:
On Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated to reporters that Biden plans to run for reelection, seeking to quash doubts that have been amplified in recent days after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declined to endorse a second Biden run on Sunday.
An acolyte of Sanders’s brand of progressive politics, Ocasio-Cortez has been speculated as a presidential contender herself. She will be old enough to run during the next presidential cycle. Sanders, 80, has also left the door open but said, “Not if he runs,” referring to Biden, when asked about his 2024 prospects.
Sanders strongly considered running in a primary election against former President Barack Obama in 2012 and was the runner-up in both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries. The senator was on track to clinch the nod in 2020, but he fell off after Biden won South Carolina.
A number of far-left lawmakers including Rep. Ro Khanna of California have openly expressed concerns about Biden’s record in office as inflation ratchets up, leading to record-high prices for everything from food and gasoline to automobiles and housing costs. Biden’s taking approval ratings have been seen by fellow Democrats as a liability for them in what many see as an uphill battle to retain control of Congress during the fall midterm elections.
Recently, some Democratic activists including former Obama official David Axelrod have suggested that Biden, 79, is showing his age after becoming the oldest American ever sworn in as president. He will be 82 on Inauguration Day in January 2025 should he run for and win reelection.
“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist for both of his campaigns, said.
“Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House,” he said. “And part of the reason he doesn’t is performative. He looks his age and isn’t as agile in front of a camera as he once was, and this has fed a narrative about competence that isn’t rooted in reality.”
Democratic National Committee (DNC) member Steve Simeonidis, said that President Biden should step aside and allow someone else to take the reigns in the 2024 election.
“To say our country was on the right track would flagrantly depart from reality,” he said to The Times. “[Biden] should announce his intent not to seek re-election in ’24 right after the midterms.”
“Democrats need fresh, bold leadership for the 2024 presidential race,” Shelia Huggins, a DNC member from North Carolina said. “That can’t be Biden.”
But some of President Biden’s supporters disagreed that he is not the correct person for the job.
“Only one person steered a transition past Trump’s lies and court challenges and insurrection to take office on Jan. 20: Joe Biden,” one of the president’s senior advisors, Anita Dunn, said.
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