Speculation that Biden would be better served to occupy the White House for a single term has surrounded the former vice president since he was considering running in 2016. The idea has lingered throughout Biden’s current run, especially considering the extent to which he’s show his age on the campaign trail. If elected, Biden would take office as a 78-year-old, surpassing President Trump, who was 70 when he was inaugurated in 2017, as the oldest person to take office in American history.
“If Biden is elected, he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection,” a prominent adviser to the campaign told Politico.
Biden’s campaign quickly tried to tamp down speculation that he could be planning a one-and-done presidency. “Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about,” deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote on Twitter.
Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about. https://t.co/mXNEnX6GrU
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) December 11, 2019
Though Politico notes that Biden’s advisers fear campaigning as a one-term president could “sap him of his political capital,” it’s unclear what effect doing so would have on his potential to win the Democratic nomination and/or a general-election showdown with Trump.
Those worried about Biden’s age or policy positions could conceivably warm to the idea of a transition president. Others may argue the party needs a president who will set the course for the future now, not one who will hand the baton to someone else in four years — or risk losing it to a Republican. “The next generation of Americans has too much at stake for us not to nominate someone who will serve two full terms,” fledging fellow moderate Michael Bennet tweeted on Wednesday.
For now, though, Biden doesn’t seem to have any plans to announce his one-term intentions. “He’s not going to publicly make a one term pledge,” a top adviser told Politico. That could change should he lose his place atop the polls.