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NY Times opinion writer: 'Joe Biden should not be running for re-election'

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New York Times opinion writer Ross Douthat called for President Biden to step aside, citing the 81-year-old's "decline" in a surprise Saturday op-ed.

"Joe Biden should not be running for re-election," Douthat wrote. "Saying that things have worked OK throughout this stage of Biden's decline, though, is very different from betting that they can continue working out OK for almost five long further years."

The political columnist continued: "And saying that Biden is capable of occupying the presidency for the next 11 months is quite different from saying that he's capable of spending those months effectively campaigning for the right to occupy it again."

While Douthat suggested Biden not drop out "today or tomorrow or any day when party primaries are still proceeding," he said the president should continue to accumulate pledged delegates until August.

At that point, Douthat said, the president should "announce his withdrawal" from the race at the Democratic National Convention and have the delegates "choose his replacement" — which would be a shocking turn of events.

President Biden has been slammed by critics over his age and apparent decline, after making several gaffes. Getty Images Douthat suggested that President Biden step aside during the Democratic National Convention and have the delegates choose his successor. REUTERS

Douthat cited special counsel Robert Hur's report on the president's retention of classified documents, in which he described the president as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."

While the scribe emphasized that he isn't overtly stating that "Biden should not be president," he does note that one could make the case that Biden's age has "emboldened America's rivals," writing that there's "a sense that a decrepit American chief executive is less to be feared than a more vigorous one."

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"The impression the president gives in public is not senility so much as extreme frailty, like a lightbulb that still burns so long as you keep it on a dimmer," he added.

There has been much debate among Democrats whether Biden is "too old" to serve a second term due to any perceived "cognitive impairment."

The op-ed comes after Biden confused the presidents of Mexico and Egypt and special counsel Hur referred to his declining memory in a report. REUTERS

Most recently, he confused the presidents of Mexico and Egypt in an embarrassing public address in which he attempted to insist his memory was fine.

Biden is just four years older than Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who is 77, and also has a tendency to make his own gaffes, like confusing GOP presidential rival Nikki Haley, 52, the former governor of South Carolina, with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), 83.

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