Biden: Yes, I’ll Run Again

With an obvious but important caveat.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on ending the war in Afghanistan, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in front of the Cross Hall of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

President Biden gave a clear answer to the question in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir:

“Do you plan to run for reelection?” Muir asked Biden during a sit-down interview at the White House.

“Yes,” the president replied. “But look, I’m a great respecter of fate. Fate has intervened in my life many many times. If I’m in the health I’m in now — from a good health. And, in fact, I would run again.”

“And if that means a rematch against Donald Trump?” Muir asked. Trump, who served only one term, is eligible to run again in 2024.

“You’re trying to tempt me now,” Biden said, laughing. “Sure. Why would I not run against Donald Trump for the nominee? That’ll increase the prospect of running.”

Our recent penchant for electing septuagenarians to the White House makes this speculation inevitable. But the President gave the only answer he really could and it strikes me as the right one. He’d like to serve eight years but realizes that another seven years of good health isn’t promised to any of us.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2024, Joe Biden, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    And Trump just said that it would be difficult for him to say anything critical about Biden, given that Biden just credited his administration with vaccine development. Clever of Biden to manipulate Trump that way.

    1
  2. Kathy says:

    “look, you just can’t fix the usual Republican mess in four years. it’s not enough time.”

    1
  3. Kylopod says:

    I think this is a reasonable answer, and a reasonable metric. If a party’s goal is to win, there’s usually no reason why they shouldn’t stick with the first-term incumbent, not even apparent unpopularity–otherwise Obama, Clinton, Reagan, Truman and so on wouldn’t have done it. (Remember those troll articles in 2011 saying Obama should step down?) And there does seem to be (with some caveats I’ve discussed before) an incumbency advantage–other things being equal, an incumbent is likelier to win than a successor from the same party.

    I was not a fan of having Biden as the nominee in 2020 in part due to his advanced age, and I stand by that judgment. (The fact we’re even having this discussion now is part of what concerned me.) But I do think that barring a decline in his health to the extent that it would render him unable to do his job, he’s our best bet for 2024.

    7
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Evidence in TFG’s creeping senility is that he’s become even more thin skinned and susceptible to flattery. This will be lost on the cult, but outside it… Other R presidential aspirants aren’t going to step aside and give TFG the nomination. DeSantis is running and Cruz signaled that he will be as well. TFG may end up with the nomination, but he’ll be bloodied and softened up along the way.

    1
  5. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    It’s hard to tell with Trump what’s senility and what’s his “normal” aberrant state. The man’s a walking cornucopia of psychopathologies.

    3
  6. Steve says:

    Of course he is running. He is a politician and that is what they do.
    It’s going to be Biden v Trump. Sit back and enjoy the debates. It will not be educational but should have entertainment value.

    1
  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steve: As I’ve said before, 300 years, more or less, is a pretty good run in the modern world. Lots of nations don’t make that before collapsing.

    3
  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    The ageism is getting pretty thick. Any evidence that Biden is impaired? No? Then maybe STFU and observe rather than assuming..

    1
  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    True. Trump has always had tells, that let you know that he knew it was an act and those have disappeared entirely. Long ago it was noted that the sophistication of his speech has seriously deteriorated and it continues to do so. TFG of even a year ago, wouldn’t have let up on Biden for a moment and now he’s thinking out loud that he can’t too hard on him, because Biden offered measured praise for TFG’s efforts in finding a vax.

    It won’t be long before he’s drooling on Faux and interrupts Ingraham to ask if she’ll play with his weenie.

  10. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I see today that Trump’s fan club is very, very upset with him for promoting the vaccine, some of them even saying that it’s time for him to step aside and let DeSantis assume the mantle.

    It’s a rock and a hard place for TFG. He desperately wants credit for creating the vaccine, but his ardent fans want no part of it.

    5
  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    It won’t be long before he’s drooling on Faux and interrupts Ingraham to ask if she’ll play with his weenie.

    If you could promise it would happen, THAT would be worth tuning in to Laura Ingraham to see. 😀 😛

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t think he’s mentally impaired, but he certainly doesn’t have the energy he used to. I think he’s also a better man than he used to be — losing Beau humbled him, and there’s a lot less ambition and a lot more service.

    But the energy… we are a country in crisis, and Biden seems to be reacting more than leading. We don’t see him enough.

    Part of that is likely just that we’ve gone from Trump the narcissist performer to Biden the normal guy, and part of it is the pandemic (he can’t really go to a small diner in the middle of nowhere, and have a Biker’s girlfriend sit on his lap), and the winter (not a great time for ice cream shops). But it comes across as low energy, and when we do see him, he looks frail.

    But part of it is just that the administration is being reactive. We’re way behind on at-home testing, and while we are going to have 500M supplied by the government for free in mid-January, that is simultaneously too few (country of 350M), and too late (after the holidays when people are going to be getting together). And it seems to have come about because of outrage on the left over Jen Psaki’s really crappy answer to a question that was basically “what, should we just give them away?”

    We should have blanketed the country in test kits before Christmas. We’ve known that there are significant numbers of contagious breakthrough infections (generally very mild) for some time, and we’ve known when Christmas was coming for even longer.

    That’s mostly just a bad policy decision that is going to not save as many as it could (I’ll save “policy decision that is going to kill people” for things that are actively making things worse), but combined with Biden often not being visible, definitely hurts things and plays into the old, slow stereotype.

    Is this because he is old and a little frail? Probably not. But if in early December Biden was on national TV explaining that safe, anonymous tests are available at your post office, and we should be testing before getting together to protect our families, and even demonstrating it, we wouldn’t be having these conversations.

    We might be having a conversation about whether it was Presidential of him to stick a q-tip up his nose on national tv in the Oval Office.

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  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sorry, I can’t tell you when. But you can be assured that CNN and MSNBC will re-run the tape every 5 minutes .

    The scary thing is that Ingraham just might.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Biden seems to be reacting more than leading.

    Well, mostly that is who Biden is. He’s a career legislator and his life has been spent building consensus to react to a need. In fairness most executives end up having to react to unanticipated events, but for those challenges that they expected, the mode is to get out in front and have plans, that will inevitably need modification when they’re tried. The Biden admin, simply can’t get ahead of the curve.

    Add to Biden’t tendencies, the poor way the executive branch is organized. There are far too many political appointees and positions that need senate confirmation. That’s before you factor in grandstanding senators like Ted Cruz. In my lifetime, I can’t think of a president that had a smooth first 2 years in office and the most common factor was issues related to transition. LBJ maybe, but that was because he inherited Kennedy’s government that was finally being sorted out.

  15. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Except he’s often reacting to easily anticipated events.

    No one anticipated that a huge chunk of the public would come out in favor of covid. But, by say, June, that was very clear, and thus it was clear that there was a good chance that we would be entering another Winter of Covid, and plans should be afoot to mitigate that. We didn’t know about Delta and Omicron, but even plain Covid was going to be a problem.

    Testing has long been a weak point in our pandemic response. It’s also not a deeply divisive thing to increase capacity — far fewer people are bothered by testing than they are about vaccines, and if you make it easy, most people would prefer not to infect their parents*. Whether it is getting more rapid turnaround on PCR, or more home testing kits, or whatever, all of those would be good.

    (Waiting on full approval for vaccines before issuing the mandate was unfortunate — could we have gotten the inevitable lawsuits started (and ended) faster by leaning on OSHA to give a mandate pending full approval)

    And, the administration should be touting their successes when their plans are working — we don’t have a PPE shortage, and anyone can find N95ish masks. Send Harris out to do a victory lap touting the administrations efforts here, it would also make her happy.

    When Biden is reacting to unanticipated events, he’s reacting well. I like him.

    But, there’s a failure to anticipate, and have contingencies.

    ——
    *: slip a few dollars to some right wing radio hosts, and I bet we could get a “hurr-hurr let’s make Biden’s numbers look worse than Trump’s” campaign — and that would be a public health benefit.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: No, if she’s not going to be gobsmacked and do a spit take or something, the deals off. I don’t care if his ding-a-ling-a-ling IS so small that it won’t show on the camera (which it probably is, based on reports); FG getting a hand job from LI is a bridge too far. [gagging emoji]

  17. Dude Kembro says:

    If Republicans had put Trump out to pasture to elevate a less defined, more disciplined Trumpkin like Ron DeathSentence or Nikki Haley, I’d be hugely concerned about 2024.

    Since they plan to nominate Trump, I’m just normal concerned. I like a healthy Biden’s chances. He’s a victim of ageism, a silly media that learned nothing from its 2016 failure, COVID malaise, and his admin’s lack of creative imagination.

    Even so, I don’t see Trump flipping three-four 2024 swing states. Maybe Arizona or Georgia. But then what? New Hampshire? Pennsylvania? Virginia? Doubtful. Biden 2024 would run better v Trump than McAuliffe did v Youngkin, and even McAuliffe didn’t lose by *that* much.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Biden’s approval rebounds after BBB: Manchin Edition passes and COVID eases (the quick drop in S Africa omicron hospitalizations and the coming COVID treatment pills are both good signs).

    More concerned about the GQP fascist cult winning the House and Senate. Although McConnell and McCarthy as foils might be good for Biden, not good for our republic.

    2
  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    Except he’s often reacting to easily anticipated events.

    Which is the point that I was trying to make. Biden by experience and disposition isn’t an executive and doesn’t think like one. Delta, Omicron, any variant was easily anticipated, yet… And you’re right about testing another point of failure.

    But I’ll reiterate, Biden is only partly to blame, much of what we see today as executive and WH failure, should should really have been dealt with by the permanent bureaucracy, but because our system requires that thousands of senior management bureaucrats require a sclerotic senate approval before assuming their position, we have layers of management that are just finding out where the bathroom is.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    We did see Delta coming. It ravaged India around April or May of this year, driving cases through the roof. We knew it could spread worldwide, same as alpha and the original strain had done, and that it was more transmisible.

    Granted I fell into the trap of “India has a low vaccination rate.” But 1) I’m not the leader of a country, and 2) we also saw what it did in the UK when restrictions were relaxed due to a rather high vaccination rate.

    IMO, the Biden administration had relaxed restrictions for those vaccinated (which were gleefully taken up by those unvaccinated as well), and had declared 4th of July celebrations could proceed almost as in pre-pandemic times (for those vaccinated). Biden was then slow to react to Delta.

    And we did see Omicron coming, after it arose in southern Africa and drove up cases there, including a higher rate of breakthrough infections. This time the reaction was better, urging the idiots to vaccinate and the rest to take up boosters. The vaccine mandates were already in motion.

    Variants, we’ve seen, either arise of break out in one or two particular areas. Those places never can see it coming. The rest of the world gets a warning. Alas, many of us can’t do anything about it (hell, right now I’m the only one at the office with a mask on).

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    In the last year the man has been managing multiple crises, forming AUKUS, dealing with Putin and attending a series of international meetings. When I fly to Europe I book a recovery day at the Heathrow Sofitel and I’m 12 years younger than he is. He’s doing fine, see what’s there.