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David Axelrod warns Biden’s ‘age issue’ is consistent concern among voters: ‘One thing you can’t reverse’

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Former Obama adviser David Axelrod warned on Sunday that President Biden’s “age issue” was consistent in polling and added that it was the “one thing” they can’t reverse, “no matter how effective” the president is behind the scenes.

Axelrod joined CNN’s Dana Bash and former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday to discuss a potential third-party run by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., who recently announced that he wouldn’t be seeking re-election in the Senate.  

Hogan said he would go a step further than Axelrod, who suggested last week the president should consider whether it would be “wise” for him to drop out of the race, and said Biden might not be the strongest nominee for the Democratic Party. 

“I have no concerns about polls a year out. I mean, you have to look at them and analyze them and adjust. But I was in a situation as a strategist for Barack Obama in 2011 where we were facing some difficult polls. The one number in the polling that was concerning, and in the CNN poll that followed after The New York Times poll, had to do with age, and that is one thing you can’t reverse no matter how effective Joe Biden is behind the scenes. In front of the camera, what he’s projecting is causing people concerns, and that is worrisome,” Axelrod told Bash and Hogan.

Axelrod, Bash and Hogan

David Axelrod and former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan joined CNN host Dana Bash on Sunday to discuss a possible Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. (Screenshot/CNN/StateOfTheUnion)

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Axelrod also said Hogan needed to do a better job of preventing Donald Trump from getting the Republican nomination.

Bash asked Axelrod about how a third-party candidate might hurt Biden and help Trump, but also noted Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is challenging Biden in the Democratic primary. 

“Look, I said what I said. I think that there is one issue that is hanging over him. The country is in a sour mood, no doubt about it. It is hard to be an incumbent, and it’s been in a sour mood since before he was elected. There are concerns about inflation, that’s a problem. Those could be overcome. And I think with Donald Trump on the other end, he could still win this election. But the age issue is difficult. And, so, Phillips is trying to exploit that,” Axelrod said. 

“I believe Joe Biden will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. And right now, we’re getting to the third party point. My concern is that Donald Trump has a high floor and a low ceiling, and you throw a bunch of third party candidates in there, and you are making it much more likely that he wins the election,” he added. 

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters at the American Possibilities White House Demo Day at The Showroom in Washington, DC, on November 7, 2023. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Media pundits have repeatedly asked the former adviser to President Obama if Biden should drop out of the race. 

“I want him to consider what is best in terms of the goal that I know he is committed to, which is defeating Donald Trump. And if he believes, based on not just what’s in his heart, but what’s in the data and what he’s being told, that he has the best chance to do it, then he should run. But you know, the thing that irritates me a little bit, Wolf, is this notion that people who are concerned are ‘bedwetters,'” Axelrod told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday.

CNN’s survey, published on Monday, found that 74% of voters do not believe the president “has the stamina and sharpness to be president.” 

Former President Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on September 25, 2023, in Summerville, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Only 47% of voters said they do not believe Trump “has the stamina and sharpness to be president,” the poll found.

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