US presidential elections 2020: Joe Biden backs wisdom over youth in batting away worries over age

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Published: August 4, 2019 7:41:49 AM

Biden argued that his wisdom has given him confidence that what’s often termed a broken political system in the U.S. can be fixed.

Biden said he’s been warning about the impact of climate change since the 1980s and introduced the first bill on the issue in the Senate. (File photo)Biden said he’s been warning about the impact of climate change since the 1980s and introduced the first bill on the issue in the Senate. (File photo)

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden swatted away concerns about his advanced age as he spoke Saturday at a 55-plus community, asserting that his experience has given him wisdom that would serve him well as president.
“You’re too old to understand, but by the way you don’t have any experience,” the former vice president, 76, said, suggesting he’s heard that before. The line drew laughter from the mostly gray-haired crowd in Sun City, a planned retirement community in Las Vegas.

“Hopefully, you know, experience generates some wisdom,” he continued, to applause and nodding heads. Biden’s speech was peppered with discussion of issues that are especially important to older voters, including cutting drug prices, fighting cancer and other diseases, and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

Biden argued that his wisdom has given him confidence that what’s often termed a broken political system in the U.S. can be fixed.

Still Cutting Edge
“We have to bring the nation together. I’m told, ‘can’t do that, that’s naïve, that’s past, that’s when you were a senator, that was 10 years ago, you were able to do that, all has changed.’ Well, guys, our whole system is built on consensus,” he said, and if it can’t be repaired, “we’re in real trouble.”

Biden also suggested that while he’s older than all but one Democratic presidential candidate — Senator Bernie Sanders, who terms 78 next month — he’s still on the cutting edge and has a personal stake in what happens to the country.

Biden said he’s been warning about the impact of climate change since the 1980s and introduced the first bill on the issue in the Senate.

“Now I’m being told that it’s not up to my generation, or your generation. We don’t have an interest in it,” he said. “It’s only somebody who is 38 years old.” That may have been a jab at 38-year-old Representative Eric Swalwell, who dropped out last month. The California lawmaker exited the race after the June candidates’ debate, where he attempted to attack Biden for being too old.

Another presidential hopeful, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 37, has made more veiled efforts to argue for new faces in among Democrats. “Our party is certainly ready to lift up leaders from a new generation,” Buttigieg said on NBC’s “Today Show” in May.

Climate, Retail
Regarding climate change, Biden said many older Americans’ wealth is largely invested in their homes, which may be threatened by flooding and other natural disasters that are becoming more common as the planet warms.

The rise of online retailer Amazon.com Inc., meanwhile, has contributed to the loss of thousands of retail jobs, where he said average age of workers is 50. “Where do they go for the next 30 years?” Biden wondered.

To cap it all, said Biden, “I’ve never met somebody over 55 who doesn’t care as much about what’s happening to their children and grandchildren than they do about themselves.”

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