Biden turns 80: A look at age and politics

The say age is just a number – but more and more, it’s becoming a factor voters have to consider when picking a candidate.
Sen. Grassley and Sen. Feinstein are the oldest sitting senators.
Sen. Grassley and Sen. Feinstein are the oldest sitting senators.(DC Bureau)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 9:55 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - When the founding fathers inked the Declaration of Independence in 1776 - the average life expectancy for an American was 35. Now, according to the CDC, that number is closer to 77.

On Capitol Hill - age is a touchy subject. Rutgers University Professor Dr. Richard Lau who specializes in gerontology explains.

“I think the ability of the brain to make connections declines,” said Lau.

Right now, the oldest sitting senators are Diane Feinstein and Chuck Grassley, who are both 89. Grassley just won another six-year term as senator. At the end of it he’ll be 95.

Both he and Feinstein have already filed paperwork to run again.

The reluctance to relinquish power doesn’t go unnoticed.  Senator John Thune, while not speaking about Grassley or Feinstein did say he’s in favor of limits.”

There’s a certain stage in life where I think it’s time to hand the hand the baton to the next generation, said Senator John Thune (R-SD)

82 year old house speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this week she’s doing just that – stepping down from her leadership role

“For me, the hours come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said in her farewell speech.

Pelosi’s move might prove to be the exception, not the rule. While there is a minimum age hold public office - Dr. Lau explains it’s unlikely we’ll see a maximum any time soon.

“Let’s face it, in practical terms, we’re not going to get a bunch of old senators and congressmen to serve to say you can’t be an old senator and congressman,” said Lau

Before Biden, Ronald Regan held the record for oldest president. He was 77 when he left office.