…poll says 54 percent of Americans say Biden no longer competence for the job
Joe Biden joked about his age as he celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday, but the issue is no laughing matter for many voters as he seeks reelection next year.
His birthday renews the focus on the fact that the Democrat is the oldest president in American history — and that if he wins a second term next year he will be 86 by the time he leaves.
While his aides regularly lash out at those who cast doubt on whether he is too old to be commander-in-chief, Biden likes to suggest that age brings wisdom, or simply takes a light hearted approach.
“It’s difficult turning 60,” the president said with a chuckle at the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House on Monday, the same day as his birthday.
“This is the 76th anniversary of this event — and I want you to know I wasn’t there for the first one,” he quipped.
But a moment in which he mixed up US singers Taylor Swift and Britney Spears is likely to reinforce impressions among voters who have been concerned by a recent series of trips and slip-ups.
Footage of Biden losing his balance on the stairs of Air Force One has gone viral — he now uses a shorter flight of stairs — and he has occasionally given rambling answers during press conferences.
Worse for Biden, voters don’t so far have the same concerns about his likely election rival Donald Trump, despite the fact that Trump is 77 and has been known to make similar slip-ups.
Trump warned in a speech in September, for example, that the United States was on the verge of “World War II,” and recently said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was the leader of Turkey.
Biden is “not doing a lot wrong” but is struggling to change perceptions on his age — as well as other issues like the economy — said David Karol, who teaches government and politics at the University of Maryland.
“He is lucid, but people just have this perception,” Karol told AFP.
The White House has been dismissive of opinion polls, with Democrats notching up a series of recent electoral successes. They also point to the fact that Biden beat Trump in 2020 despite Biden being 77 himself at the time.
Yet the numbers make grim reading for the party. Seventy-four percent of people said Biden would be too old to serve a second term, compared to 50 percent for Trump, a recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed.
A Yahoo/YouGov poll found that 54 percent of Americans say Biden no longer has “the competence to carry out the job of president,” up from 41 percent before the 2020 election.
Some analysts say Biden’s age should not matter.
The issue in general has been unfairly “weaponized” in US politics, said S. Jay Olshansky, a longevity researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“Aging is not what it used to be,” Olshansky told AFP.
“There are very large segments of the population that survive to their eighth decade perfectly capable of being president, or doing whatever they like.”
Biden — and Trump for that matter — are both likely to be “Super-Agers,” a term coined by researchers to describe a small group of people who keep their full faculties until late in life, said Olshansky.
His research has also found that for US presidents, “biological time seems to tick at a slower pace” than for other people, as they apparently thrive on the stress of the job.”
That said, Biden’s campaign has taken to highlighting Trump’s own slip-ups.
Nevertheless, the Democrat’s age is bound to come under even deeper scrutiny during a grueling election campaign.
Republicans have trained their fire on the person who is just a heartbeat away from the presidency, should the worst happen: Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris blazed a trail as the first woman, Black person and person of South Asian descent to hold the vice president’s office, but her approval ratings are as bad as her boss’s, at under 40 percent.
Army Plans Review Of Operational Engagement
The Nigerian Army will be evaluating and comprehensively reviewing ongoing operational engagements in all the theatres of operations across the six geo-political zones.
This will enable the service to make decisions that will help in effectively tackling the security challenges bedeviling the country.
A statement on Friday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Nwachukwu Onyema noted that the service would be embarking on the review among others at the Chief of Army Staff’s conference slated to hold in Maiduguri between December 10 and 16.
The statement partly read, “Nigerian Army will take stock, evaluate and comprehensively review ongoing operational engagements of the NA in all theatres of operations across the six geo-political zones within the year, among other key agenda.
“This will provide the NA an in-depth insight to make far-reaching decisions that will be result-oriented towards achieving its set objective of addressing multifaceted security challenges in the country.”
Onyema said the week-long conference is an important annual event in the calendar of the Nigerian Army due to its significance to National security, peace, and stability.
He added that the event would also allow the Chief of Amry Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja to have an interaction with the field commanders.
The statement stated, “The Conference would also create an opportunity for the COAS to have face-to-face interaction with the General Officers Commanding, Field Commanders, and other senior officers to provide requisite guidance on enhancing NA operations and activities. The conference will be declared open on Monday 11 December 2023.
“The President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency, Bola Tinubu is expected to grace the occasion as the Special Guest of Honour.
“The Opening Ceremony will feature an address to troops of Joint Task Force North East Operation Hadin Kai inspection of the ongoing Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Maiduguri and laying of the foundation stone of Headquarters 7 Division by the Special Guest of Honour. “
Putin To Run Again For President In 2024
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to run in presidential elections next March, news agencies reported Friday, allowing the Kremlin leader to extend his decades-long grip on power.
Putin told Lieutenant Colonel Artyom Zhoga, a Russian military officer, about his decision to participate in the upcoming vote following an awards ceremony for army personnel at the Kremlin, state-run news agencies reported.
”The president has said that he will run for president of the Russian Federation,” Zhoga was cited as saying by state-run news agency RIA Novosti.
”We all—I say this with confidence—in the reunited territories, all of Russia, support him. We are very happy that he heard our request” to participate, Zhoga added, referring to the Ukrainian territories Moscow claims as its own.
Putin, however, has yet to make a formal announcement that he will compete in the vote scheduled to take place between March 15 and 17 next year.
“Our president has never avoided and does not avoid responsible decisions,” said Valentina Matvienko, the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament.
“And today he has once again confirmed this. He confirmed that at the moment of a historic choice and a historic challenge,” she added.
Putin will not face any major challengers and will likely seek as big a mandate as possible to conceal domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict, analysts say.
Rockets Fired At US Embassy In Baghdad Amid Gaza War
Salvoes of rockets were launched Friday at the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the mission said, the latest in a flurry of such attacks amid the Israel-Hamas war.
“A multi-rocket attack was launched at US and Coalition forces in the vicinity of Union III and the Baghdad embassy complex” without causing any reported casualties or damage, a US official said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The United States leads an international coalition battling jihadists in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, and its forces have come under repeated attacks in recent weeks.
The attacks come against the backdrop of the more than two-month war between US ally Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In a statement, the US embassy said “two salvoes of rockets” were fired at the mission compound at around 4.15am (0115 GMT).
“Indications are the attacks were initiated by Iran-aligned militias,” said a US spokesperson.
“We again call on the government of Iraq… to do all in its power to protect diplomatic and coalition partner personnel and facilities.
“We reiterate that we reserve the right to self-defence and to protect our personnel anywhere in the world,” the spokesperson added.
Since mid-October, there have been dozens of rocket or drone strikes by pro-Iran groups against US or coalition forces in Iraq as well as in Syria.
But Friday’s rocket attack was the first against the US embassy in Baghdad since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, raising regional tensions and fears of a wider conflict.
An Iraqi security official said “Three Katyusha rockets targeting the American embassy fell close to the Green Zone,” near the river Tigris. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
There are roughly 2,500 US troops in Iraq and about 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.
– Around 80 attacks –
After the end of a seven-day pause in the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas last week, pro-Iran groups resumed their attacks against US and coalition forces, justifying their actions by pointing to American support for Israel.
In Iraq, most were claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of former paramilitaries who are now integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces.
US forces have struck Iran-linked targets in both Iraq and Syria in response.
On Sunday a US military official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed a “self-defence strike” was carried out in northern Iraq against a drone launch site “in the vicinity of Kirkuk” against “an imminent threat”.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq later announced the death of “five martyrs”.
That strike came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said during a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Baghdad rejected “any attack on Iraqi territory”, according to a statement from Sudani’s office.
Sudani also said the Iraqi government was committed “to ensuring the safety of the international coalition advisers present in Iraq”.
On Wednesday, a US military official said a drone had targeted Western troops at the Ain al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq, but there were no casualties or damage.
In total, Washington has counted at least 78 attacks since October 17 against its forces in Iraq and Syria, 10 days after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.
The Israel-Hamas war began with the Palestinian militant group’s unprecedented attack on Israeli soil, which killed around 1,200 people and saw about 240 people captured as hostages, according to Israeli officials.
In response, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas and launched a large-scale military offensive that has killed 17,177 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Hamas government.
The attacks against US personnel included rocket fire and drone strikes, and have left at least 60 US personnel wounded, the Pentagon says.
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