Campaign staff for President Biden are on a mission to keep him from falling in public as the 80-year-old fights off the effects of “severe spinal arthritis.”
Biden’s age has been continually brought up when he fell in public several times this year, prompting an official diagnosis from the White House physician. It was reported on Tuesday that to avert another embarrassing collapse, his team has mandated that he wear tennis shoes and minimize stair climbs.
Physical therapist Drew Contreras, who formerly worked with President Obama, treats Biden. According to the source, Contreras has given the president a list of exercises to help him regain equilibrium.
After a devastating fall at the Air Force Academy in June, Biden started wearing sneakers in public this summer, and people took notice. Another change he made to avoid injury was taking the shorter steps to Air Force One’s lower level.
The mission of Biden’s team during this election season is to keep the president from embarrassing himself in public and hurting his campaign.
From Hillary Clinton’s 2016 fainting episode, where she was thrown into a van like a side of beef, to Bob Dole’s tumble off the campaign stage in 1996, health scares have significantly impacted some presidential campaigns.
A fall would be especially catastrophic since Biden already takes a lot of heat for his advanced age. An overwhelming majority (77%) of respondents to an AP poll this summer agreed that Biden is too old to be effective for another four years in office. This included 89% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats.
Three-quarters of Democrats in a poll released this week by the Washington Post and ABC News would rather see someone else become the party’s nominee in 2024.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates tried desperately to mitigate the Biden situation, saying people should focus on his record.
Many would question that strategy. Focusing on his falls may be better for his campaign.