Joe Biden defends mental fitness, says he has time to make formal decision on reelection

President Biden said it is his “intention to run again” in 2024, but he has time to make that decision, though he paused for an awkward length of time when asked if first lady Jill Biden supports another bid.

“Dr. Biden is for it?” MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart said in a weekend interview. “Mr. President?”

“Dr. Biden thinks that — my wife thinks that we’re doing something very important, and I shouldn’t walk away from it,” Mr. Biden said.

It is unclear if Mr. Biden, who is 79, will run for a second term or give way to another Democrat, given his age, low approval numbers and regular criticism of his ability to keep up with the job. Republicans, for instance, have turned Mr. Biden’s stage wanderings after speeches into daily online content.

Mr. Biden defended his abilities in the MSNBC session.

“The best way to make a judgment is to, you know, watch me,” he said. “You know, am I slowing up? Do I not have the same pace? Or, you know, and that old joke, you know — everybody talks about the new, you know, 70s, 50s, you know all that stuff.”

He suggested that people who doubt his fitness should not vote for him, before walking it back.

“They should vote against me — not against me, they should encourage me not to go, but that is not how I feel,” Mr. Biden said.

“Right now, knock on wood, I do not want to jinx myself, I am in good health,” he said. “Everything physically about me is still functioning well, so you know, and mentally, too.”

The president has said he would relish a rematch against former President Donald Trump in 2024, betting he would beat him again. Yet there is open media speculation about alternatives, from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Mr. Biden praised Ms. Harris in the interview.

“First of all, she’s smart as hell. She has a backbone like a ramrod and she has enormous integrity,” he said. “She is really, really thoroughly informed — particularly on areas of foreign policy, national security issues. So I find her to be extremely, extremely well qualified.”

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