Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign pushed back on a report that he only wants to serve one term as president, even as a reporter said Biden himself went on the record and wouldn’t commit to two terms in a previous interview.
The situation unfolded this week as Politico reported, citing four anonymous people “who regularly talk to Biden,” that the 77-year-old doesn’t want to run for re-election if he wins the 2020 election.
“If Biden is elected, he’s going to be 82 years old in four years and he won’t be running for reelection,” a person described as “a prominent adviser to the campaign,” was reported to have said.
“He’s going into this thinking, ‘I want to find a running mate I can turn things over to after four years but if that’s not possible or doesn’t happen then I’ll run for reelection.’ But he’s not going to publicly make a one-term pledge,” another top Biden adviser said, according to Politico.
Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about. https://t.co/mXNEnX6GrU
— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) December 11, 2019
Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for Biden, pushed back on Dec. 11, linking to the story and writing in a statement: “Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about.”
But that statement prompted Associated Press reporter Meg Kinnard to respond, writing that Politico reporter Ryan Lizza “didn’t make this story up.”
“I can assure you. Biden told me—on the record—he would not commit to two terms when I interviewed him in October. And I didn’t come up with the question out of thin air,” she added.
Lizza hasn’t responded directly but shared Kinnard’s tweet.
Yeah, @RyanLizza didn’t make this story up. I can assure you. Biden told me – on the record – he would not commit to two terms when I interviewed him in October.
And I didn’t come up with the question out of thin air. https://t.co/wQKkNVBOsM
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) December 11, 2019
The situation highlights the unusual 2020 election: four of the top candidates are septuagenarians, including 77-year-old Michael Bloomberg, the most recent entrant into the race.
President Donald Trump, seeking re-election, is 73. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is 70 and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who suffered a heart attack last month, is 78.
The other Democratic candidate polling in the top five is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is 37.