Obama's Former Doctor: 2020 Candidates Are Too Old, 'We're Asking for Trouble'
White House race has some of the oldest contenders in history
Joe Biden's announcement he is to join the 2020 race for the White House has brought up the subject of age among the field of Democratic contenders.
For instance, if Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wins, he would be 79 by the time he is president, making him the oldest in history.
Even Donald Trump, who is turning 73 this summer, is the oldest presdient ever sworn in.
Then there is Biden, who would be 78 when sworn in.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., would be 71.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who would be 70.
Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, challenging Trump for the GOP nomination, would be 75.
"I think we're asking for trouble," Dr. David Scheiner, Barack Obama's former doctor.
"We don't know what their health is. They look spry, but I don't think that's enough. You can't accept it at face value."
Like Hillary Clinton in 2016, the older candidates will face scrutiny about their health.
Men who have reached age 70 can expect to live roughly 15 more years, According to the Social Security Administration.
Whereas women can expect to live about 17 more years, it states.
The oldest candidates, Sanders and Biden, poll at the top of the Democratic field.
But Christopher Devine, assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton in Ohio, insists that age is not a deciding factor for voters.
"If you're older you emphasize experience, and if you're younger you emphasize being a being a fresh face," he said.
"You play to your strengths."
Sanders enjoys a young demographic of supporters.
When asked about his health during Fox News town hall, he said "my health is good" and "I continue to have my endurance."
He added: "It's not whether you're young, it's not whether you're old. It is what you believe in."
According to The Washington Examiner: Jay Olshansky, a leading researcher on aging from the University of Illinois at Chicago, argues that a person's age should not matter when they're being considered for official positions.
"As far as I can tell, the candidates that are going to be running are functioning at a very high level cognitively," he said.
"I don't see any reason why the age of these individuals should be taken into consideration, period."
But questions about age are unlikely to go away, mainly because of the stark contrast between candidates. One of Sanders' rivals, Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is less than half his age.
In past elections, candidates have weaponized opponents' ages, either to argue that they lack experience or that they are too old to take on the difficult work of running for office and eventually running the country.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton drew public scrutiny after she stumbled at a 9/11 Memorial event.
Her staff later said she had pneumonia, but Trump said that she "doesn't have the stamina" to be president.
Trump has faced his scrutiny from critics who point to his late-night tweets and an instance in which he slurred his speech, as well as the weight he's gained since taking office, as signs that he's too old and is suffering from cognitive decline.
Revelations that he dictated his family doctor's letter certifying him to be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" reinvigorated opponents, as has the scarcity of information the White House released in his most recent medical checkup.
Scheiner, Obama's former doctor, thinks Trump's situation marks that an independent group of experts should evaluate candidates before an election and undergo a neurocognitive test.
Presidential candidates since Reagan have released some of their medical records to the public, but no law demands their release, and no candidate has disclosed a full medical history.
"The business of keeping these things secret has really gotten out of hand," Scheiner said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made more than 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records available to reporters when he ran for president against Obama because he had a history of cancer and was a prisoner of war.
Still, his opponents alluded to his age by running ads warning voters that running mate Sarah Palin was "one heartbeat away" from the presidency.