Biden asks at event about lawmaker … who died in August (Analysis)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden once called himself a “bullshit machine,” and his latest mistake was a huge one.

Speaking at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on Wednesday, Biden called Congressman Jackie Walorski to the podium … even though the Indiana Republican was killed in a car crash in early August.

“Jackie, are you here? where is jackie I think she wouldn’t be here to help make that happen,” Biden said.

The White House tried to explain the odd moment, saying Walorski was “on the mind” of Biden.

“There will be a bill signing in her honor next Friday, so of course she was on his mind,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said. “She was a priority for the president.

Sure. Everyone makes mistakes.

But that’s a pretty big mistake. And unfortunately for Biden, it adds to the caricature that Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, have long painted him.

“This guy has no idea. He doesn’t know where the hell he is,” Trump said of Biden during the 2020 campaign. “This guy doesn’t know he’s alive.”

At another point, Trump said: “Biden is fired. I tell you he was shot. Something is happening.

However, Biden’s overall health did not play a significant role in the 2020 election. Forty-one percent of 2020 exit poll voters said only Biden had the mental and physical health to serve as president. The same number, 41 percent, say only Trump has the mental and physical stamina for the job. Another 8% say neither.

In 2021, in the midst of the failed US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Senator Bill Haggerty, Republican of Tennessee, suggested that the handling of the situation “creates doubts not only in my mind, in the minds of many, many Americans, but in the minds of our allies’ about Biden’s ability to get the job done.

Earlier this year, Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall, a physician, suggested that Biden have annual cognitive tests. “I think we’re all concerned about President Biden’s mental health,” Marshall said at the time. He added that he felt he had seen a “deterioration” in Biden’s mental health over the past year.

Here’s what we know for a fact: Biden is 79 years old. He is the oldest person elected to a first term as president, and if he runs for a second term, he will also be the oldest person to do so. His last physical was last November. At the time, the White House physician said Biden “remains fit for office and is fully fulfilling all of his responsibilities without waivers or facilitation.”

What we also know is that Biden’s age is an issue for voters far beyond the staunch Republican base.

In a New York Times/Siena College poll conducted over the summer, Biden’s age was a major factor among Democratic voters who said they would prefer the party to nominate someone else for president in 2024.

As The New York Times noted in July, in an article about Biden’s age, citing more than a dozen current and former top officials and advisers:

“[Ellos] they acknowledged that Mr. Biden looks older than he did a few years ago, a political flaw that cannot be solved with traditional White House tricks like staff changes or new communications plans. His energy level, while impressive for a man his age, isn’t what it used to be, and several aides watch him silently. He often drags his feet when he walks, and aides worry he might trip over a wire. He stumbles over words at public events, and they hold their breath to see if he gets through without a mistake.

On Wednesday, Biden didn’t make it to the end without making a mistake.

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