Rivals say Biden, Trump too old to lead | Inquirer News

Rivals say Biden, Trump too old to lead

/ 04:45 AM January 22, 2024

Biden, Trump keeping relatively light campaign schedules as their rivals rack up the stops

Donald Trump and Joe Biden. (File photo from the Associated Press)

PETERBOROUGH/MANCHESTER/NASHUA, New Hampshire — Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley accused rival Donald Trump of being “obsessed” with dictators and too old to lead, in a final campaign stretch in New Hampshire on Saturday, ahead of Tuesday’s nominating contest.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden’s challenger Dean Phillips, a wealthy congressman from Minnesota, also criticized Biden as weak and unelectable on Saturday as he tried to take advantage of the reelectionist President’s absence from New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.


Trump, 77, ramped up his attacks and targeted Haley’s Indian heritage, as the former United Nations ambassador sought to blunt the former US president’s momentum following his victory last Monday in the Iowa caucuses.


New Hampshire boasts a more moderate brand of Republicanism with a semi-open primary that can attract more centrist voters, who may be turned off by Trump’s four criminal cases, authoritarian language, and efforts to overturn his 2020 reelection loss to Biden.

Haley spoke to reporters following an event in Peterborough and emphasized Trump’s relationships with strongmen such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Her campaign released a TV ad featuring the mother of Otto Warmbier, who died in 2017 after being held in North Korea. Haley accused Trump of writing “love letters” to Kim after Warmbier was recovered. “He is obsessed with these dictators,” she said of her former boss.

One of two remaining candidates challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, Haley needs a strong showing after placing third narrowly behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Iowa, the first stop in the state-by-state battle to determine the party’s choice.

Race, age

The second Republican contest could help Haley build support as a viable alternative to Trump—or close her already-narrow path to the nomination even before reaching the contest next month in her home state.

Trump also returned to New Hampshire for evening rallies throughout the weekend.


DeSantis, who had largely written off New Hampshire, held a brief last-minute stop on Friday before three events on Saturday in South Carolina.

Haley sharpened some barbs against Trump during her final swing even as she told CNN she would pardon Trump if he is convicted of criminal charges.

On Friday, however, she ruled out serving as Trump’s running mate as he continued to target her given first name. Trump has also amplified false posts questioning her birthright citizenship.

The daughter of two immigrants from India, Haley was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa but has long used her middle name Nikki and later took her husband’s surname.

Haley again referenced Trump’s behavior when he apparently confused her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“When you’re 80, that’s what happens. You’re just not as sharp as you used to be,” she said.

‘Stage of life’

At Nashua, Biden’s challenger Phillips said he hoped to expose what he called Biden’s weakness by doing well in Tuesday’s voting.

Biden is skipping the primary after the Republican-run state refused his demand to give up its first in nation primary spot to South Carolina. But his supporters are mounting a write-in campaign to avoid an embarrassing loss in the state on primary election day on Tuesday.

“Sadly it’s going to demonstrate that our incumbent president is unelectable and weak and I think it’s going to show this country that there’s a candidate here who can actually do here what has been promised for generations,” Phillips told reporters after addressing dozens of people at a senior citizen activity center, noting Biden’s advanced age of 81.

“If you listen to the voters, people feel he’s at a stage of life that makes it incompatible to leading the free world. And the same is true of Donald Trump,” said the 55-year-old congressman.

The New Hampshire primary offers the first at-the-polls gauge of Biden’s political strength and will be closely watched amid polls showing him tied with Trump.

A poor showing by Biden against Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson would likely fuel concerns that Biden is weak.

Williamson had also said in Manchester that she felt Biden was weak and questioned the wisdom of nominating him for a second term.

“To say he beat Trump once and therefore he’ll beat him again — for me it’s like saying to an actor who’s nominated for an Oscar twice: ‘He won last time so it’s only reasonable to think he’ll win this time. Well, it’s a different movie,” she said.

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But both Phillips and Williamson appeared to have little chance of defeating Biden.

TAGS: 2024 US elections, Dean Phillips, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Nikki Haley

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