President Biden’s campaign team is on a mission to prevent him from tripping in public as the 80-year-old continues to struggle with a diagnosis of “significant spinal arthritis.”
The White House physician made the diagnosis earlier this year, and Biden has since had multiple public tripping incidents that have only compounded questions about his age. Now, his team has made a conscious effort to make him wear tennis shoes and limit stair climbs to prevent another embarrassing fall, Axios reported Tuesday.
Biden is also undergoing physical therapy with specialist Drew Contreras, who also worked with President Obama. Contreras has recommended several exercises to improve the president’s balance, the outlet reported.
Observers noted when Biden began wearing sneakers in public this summer after his nasty fall at the Air force Academy in June. He also began boarding Air Force One via shorter stairs to a lower level, another move aimed at preventing falls.
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The goal for Biden’s team is to prevent the president from taking a spill in public during election season, something that could potentially damage his campaign.
Health scares have had major impacts on several presidential campaigns, from Hillary Clinton’s fainting incident in 2016 to Bob Dole falling off a campaign stage in 1996.
A fall would be even more devastating in Biden’s case as he already faces heavy criticism over his age. In an Associated Press poll this summer, 77% said Biden is too old to be effective for four more years with 89% of Republicans taking that position along with 69% of Democrats.
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Another poll from the Washington Post and ABC News this week found that 3 out of 5 Democrats would prefer someone else be the party’s 2024 nominee.
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White House spokesman Andrew Bates pushed back on the story in a statement to Axios.
“This article fits an unfortunate pattern of media attempting to sensationalize something that has long been public, rather than covering the president’s very real achievements for hardworking Americans,” Bates told the outlet.