Age anxiety hangs over first Biden-Trump debate

For Joe Biden and Donald Trump - the two oldest candidates ever to seek the US presidency - age is an election issue neither can escape.
On Thursday, the current Democratic president, 81, and his Republican predecessor, 78, will face off in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first of two debates ahead of November's vote, offering Americans a rare, split-screen comparison of the two men's physical and mental strength.
For 90 minutes, under the glare of the high-definition cameras, President Biden and former President Trump — who remain nearly tied in national opinion polls — will spar on issues ranging from the economy and foreign wars to immigration and the future of democracy. One slip-up, stumble or verbal miscue could cement concerns about their advanced age, with the potential for reshaping an already tight presidential race as voters begin to pay attention.
But delivering a vigorous performance may be more critical for Mr Biden, the nation's oldest president who has been dogged by questions about his stamina and mental fitness since he took office.
"There's no hiding the fact that Biden's 81, there's no hiding the fact that Trump's basically the same age," said Jim Messina, a Democratic strategist who managed Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign. "It's not a contest of age, it's a contest of policy and character."
"Part of what needs to happen on Thursday night is just to begin the conversation about the differences between them," Mr Messina said.
source: bbc

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