With former Vice President Joe Biden surging ahead of radical-left Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont after a hotly contested Super Tuesday, things are really beginning to get hairy in the presumptive two-man race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
According to Newsweek, a list of anti-Biden talking points circulated among Sanders campaign surrogates Wednesday morning, and it included as a point of emphasis the 77-year-old Biden’s “obvious cognitive decline.”
The memo — which also reportedly directed surrogates to attack Biden’s political record, perceived momentum and polling lead in upcoming states — was reportedly posted across several social media platforms and appeared on internal discussion boards for campaign supporters on the smartphone messaging application WhatsApp.
“This is now a 2-person race, and there will be heightened scrutiny on Biden’s record and obvious cognitive decline,” the document reads.
This is so sad.
Here @JoeBiden says to the crowd in South Carolina that he is “running for the United States Senate” and that if they don’t like him they can “vote for the other Biden.”
I honestly wish he would’ve retired & not subjected himself to the rigors of this campaign. pic.twitter.com/mygFnsrdjC
— Shaun King (@shaunking) February 25, 2020
Also targeted within the nine-point memo was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The Vermont socialist’s main ideological rival, Warren is accused within the document of fracturing the progressive vote Tuesday and allowing Biden to pull ahead with a plurality of support in such key states as Oklahoma, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Texas and Maine — a claim backed by Wednesday voting results updates provided by Politico.
Sanders campaign officials have already disavowed the memo, categorically denying claims it has any connection with the candidate’s official public relations team.
Campaign communications director Mike Caspa told Newsweek the controversial memo had not even been made known to him prior to the outlet providing him a copy.
“That’s not a real document,” Caspa said. “It’s not ours.”
Official or not, however, the document does get at frequent, and reasonable, questions raised regarding Biden’s age and cognitive strength.
Joe Biden: “This is my little sister Valerie, and I’m Jill’s husband. Oh no, you switched on me. This is my wife, this is my sister. They switched on me!” pic.twitter.com/tVHo9ZaBGk
— The Hill (@thehill) March 4, 2020
Joe Biden tries to quote the Declaration of Independence, failspic.twitter.com/ULzGB0XtQK
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 2, 2020
His age has come into play numerous times throughout the primary, with opponents on both sides of the aisle suggesting his potential to be the oldest U.S. president ever elected is a major drawback, according to Business Insider.
Only exacerbating Biden’s perceived age problem is his penchant for major verbal missteps, which seems to have grown all the more troublesome in recent months, as the campaign wears on.
According to NPR, Biden made attempts to quell Democratic anxiety on the topic in December, releasing a medical report from his physician that indicated he is a “healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”
Over this past week alone, however, Biden has fallen prey to at least three major gaffes, telling South Carolina Democratic debate audiences nearly half the U.S. population had been killed by gun violence in 2007, referring to himself as a congressional candidate and disastrously bungling a quotation of the Declaration of Independence.
Regardless of these gaffes, however, the Pennsylvania-born Democrat has surged dramatically over the last week, picking up a blowout victory over Sanders in South Carolina on Saturday and carrying on to strongly overperform on Super Tuesday.
According to Politico, Biden won nine of the 14 Super Tuesday states, getting a boost from the voting bases of three more moderate Democrats who recently dropped out of the race: Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar.
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