- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

David Axelrod, a chief architect of President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, on Friday said former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s breakneck evolution on the Hyde Amendment raises questions about Mr. Biden’s “steadiness” for a candidate who would be the oldest-ever person to enter the White House.

“That was a flip-flop-flip, which is never a good thing in politics, and it raises questions about his own performance and his own steadiness and his campaign’s performance,” Mr. Axelrod said on CNN.

Mr. Biden had long supported the amendment, which generally bans taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions.

He appeared to tell an ACLU activist earlier this year that he would work to get rid of it, but his campaign clarified this week that he still supported the ban, which is opposed by abortion rights groups and many of his 2020 rivals.

But on Thursday, Mr. Biden said he was dropping his support for the amendment, citing what he described as recent GOP-led pushes to restrict abortion rights as part of his thinking.

Mr. Axelrod said that beyond the issue itself, “this was not a reassuring episode for the Biden campaign.”

“Here’s the issue with Biden, and people don’t like to approach it, but he’s 76 years old,” he said. “He’d be 78 when he became president, and that would be eight years older than the oldest president who’s ever taken office, which is Donald Trump. And there are questions about that.”

Mr. Axelrod said an unsteadiness on the campaign trail will “intensify” those questions.

“So this is one reason I think they’ve kept him on a relatively leisurely pace on the campaign trail and away from some of the major events and away from reporters, frankly, because they are worried about things just such as the one we’ve just seen,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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