Presidential debate: 70s club members Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren fend off questions about their age
While Sanders said he would run vigorous campaigns, Biden said his experience and wisdom is unmatched. Warren said she would outlast whichever Republican candidate she faces in 2020 elections. Age has become a key point to debate ever since Sanders suffered a heart attack.
On Tuesday, October 15, Westerville, Ohio, saw the largest presidential primary history in the modern history of American politics with 12 Democrats participating. This primary was also important because it was the first one since an impeachment inquiry was launched against President Donald Trump over his alleged efforts to influence Ukraine to investigate leading rival Joe Biden.
For Biden, also a former vice president, these are trying times as well. While the whistleblower's complaint against Trump over the Ukraine issue put the president under the impeachment inquiry, moral pressure has also been building on Biden and his son Hunter. While Joe recently announced that he will not allow his family members or associates to own a position in foreign firms if he gets elected next year, Hunter has announced that he will quit the board of the Chinese firm of which he is a member at the end of October.
But apart from the Ukraine issue, Biden is also facing another challenge, along with two other prominent candidates -- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren -- and it is about age.
The debate on physical fitness
The three septuagenarians’ physical fitness has become a point of debate since Sanders suffered a heart attack during a campaign event in Las Vegas earlier this month. The 78-year-old Vermont senator, the oldest Democratic candidate, had to slow down his pace as a result and questions started to come up over presidential candidates’ physical fitness.
The questions came flying at the trio at the Ohio primary as well. Sanders, who just returned to his campaign after undergoing a heart procedure, was asked how he would reassure the country of his good health. The veteran did not answer the question and only said that he would run a “vigorous campaign” across the nation.
Biden, 76, defended his candidature said that his experience and wisdom make him unique on the crowded Democratic podium and added that he knew “what has to be done” as the president. He also promised to release his medical records ahead of the first nominating contest -- the Iowa caucus -- on February 3. Biden apparently struggled to rein in his falling teeth at the Democratic debate in Houston last month -- another incident that put some comic light on the age factor in this pre-election season.
Warren, 70, vowed to “outwork and out-organize and outlast” Trump or any other Republican rival in the 2020 elections when she was asked about the age factor. The president himself is also aged above 70, reflecting the dominant gerontocratic features of the upcoming electoral battle.
There are also a number of young candidates running for the nomination this year and among them are Pete Buttigieg, 37; Tulsi Gabbard, 38; Andrew Yang, 44, and Julian Castro, 45. Some of them feel that it is time for the Democratic Party to have a new leadership which is driven by the young and energetic.
The party’s older generation, which is still leading the presidential race, is not easily convinced though.