William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE UNSTABLE PRESIDENT:  It is obvious to everyone, including the people in the White House.  The president is deteriorating.  Badly.   And the truth can't be held back.  We may well be approaching a crisis point in the Biden administration.  And we don't have much of a vice president to fall back on.  From Fox: 

The New York Times published a stunning report about President Biden's age and how it's becoming an "uncomfortable issue" for the White House and the Democratic Party. 

The headline of the report on Saturday declared that 79-year-old Biden is "testing the boundaries of age and the presidency," first highlighting how his upcoming trip to the Middle East was initially tacked onto his recent trip to Europe with one anonymous official calling it "crazy" if the president had done a 10-day trip overseas, those aides tell the Times there were "political and diplomatic" reasons behind separating the trip into two. 

"But the reality is that managing the schedule of the oldest president in American history presents distinct challenges," Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker wrote. "And as Mr. Biden insists he plans to run for a second term, his age has increasingly become an uncomfortable issue for him, his team and his party."

Baker recapped from Biden's European trip how he needed guidance from another world leader to look at the cameras for a photo-op and how now-outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson answered a question on behalf of the president, who didn't hear a reporter shouting a question about Ukraine. 

"At times, Mr. Biden kept a packed schedule. On the day he flew to Madrid for a NATO summit, he met with multiple leaders and finished with a dinner hosted by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. On another day, though, he skipped evening festivities with other leaders, and his public schedule finished with a 3:30 p.m. event," Baker wrote. "But aides said he was busy and stayed up working late each night of the trip out of view — just as they say they expect him to in the coming week as he hits the road again in Israel and Saudi Arabia."

Baker wrote that Biden's age has become "a sensitive topic in the West Wing," noting that he is already one year older than President Reagan was when he finished his second term. He alleged "more than a dozen current and former senior officials and advisers uniformly reported that Mr. Biden remained intellectually engaged, asking smart questions at meetings, grilling aides on points of dispute, calling them late at night, picking out that weak point on Page 14 of a memo and rewriting speeches like his abortion statement on Friday right up until the last minute."

COMMENT:  My own sense is that one reason for Mr. Biden's low approval rating is that many people don't feel comfortable around a leader who stumbles and stammers.  They might not ask it outright, but surely many Americans wonder if this president can lead the nation through a crisis.  You just can't feel comfortable with a president who, at times, doesn't seem "all there."  And yet, journalists don't seem ready to confront the questions.

July 9, 2022