- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PITTSBURGH | Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s 2020 supporters are floating an outside-the-box strategy aimed at shielding him from questions about his age and political leanings and boosting his chances of capturing the party’s 2020 presidential nominee: a one-term pledge.

Ken Wolf, one of those supporters, batted the idea around with friends and family on the sidewalk following Mr. Biden’s first campaign rally at a union hall here Monday, saying it’s a way to capture voters worried about picking a Washington dealer who would be the oldest man elevated to the presidency.

“It would throw a bunch of people off,” Mr. Wolf said. “Who in politics today says, ‘I only want one term and I am done.’ I mean, who does that?”

The 44-year-old said he is convinced it would allay concerns about age and could appeal to those clamoring for new blood, particularly if Mr. Biden groomed a vice president from among the new generation of Democrats.

“A one-term pledge can make him I think [more appealing] to people that he might not have reached before,” he said.

The late Sen. John McCain considered making a one-term pledge before he kicked off his 2008 presidential campaign, and some suggested President Trump should have vowed to check out after four years during his 2016 bid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to offer a similar pledge to her troops last year as she was searching for the votes to grab her chamber’s gavel. She said she wouldn’t serve more than two Congresses in the top post.

Mr. Biden says he won’t make the same promise, saying he has to prove to voters he’s got the stamina for the job and that a gray-haired veteran is actually exactly what the country needs to oust Mr. Trump.

“It is a legitimate question about my age,” the 76-year-old said last week on ABC’s “The View.”

Ronald Reagan became the oldest person elected president in 1980, at age 73.

Mr. Biden’s backers and political observers say he should rethink the wisdom of the pledge, saying it could help surmount some of the landmines in his path to the Democratic nomination.

Not only do liberal activists see him as dated, and struggle to believe he is a warrior for their causes, but voters from across the political spectrum also wonder whether it is smart to nominate a candidate who would be 78 when sworn into office.

Mr. Biden faced similar in the run-up to 2016, when he passed on making a run.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this year found more than 4 in 10 registered voters had reservations about electing someone over the age of 75 and nearly 20% said they were “very uncomfortable” with the idea.

That poses a challenge for Mr. Biden and Sen. Bernard Sanders, 77, who pundits also have argued could gain from a single-term pledge.

Kevin Carter, a Pittsburgh school board member who served as a Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, said signing that sort of pledge could help Mr. Biden with younger voters and grassroots activists.

“It says that it is not really political for him,” Mr. Carter said. “It is really about fixing the soul of the country.”

While Mr. Wolf said he’s pretty much already sold on Mr. Biden, his wife, Jessica Wolf, said she is torn between Mr. Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and the one-term pledge would change that.

“I would be 100% on board with Biden if he made that pledge,” Mrs. Wolf said. “I’d be like OK, he is serious, he wants to get in, he wants to do right, he wants to get things back on track, this isn’t about him.”

“He is very spry, but after four years he is going to be 80,” she said.

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