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President Biden arrives in California Tuesday for re-election campaign

President Biden arrives in California Tuesday for re-election campaign
President Biden arrives in California Tuesday for re-election campaign 02:42

President Biden will be in California on Tuesday as part of a fundraising trip for his re-election campaign.

As he fights off critics who say he is too old to be chief of state, President Biden can take a page from a past president from California who also faced that criticism, successfully – Ronald Reagan.

Two aging U.S. presidents are seeking re-election and facing questions about their minds.

For Reagan, in 1984, his answer during a presidential debate became iconic. Moderator Henry Trewhitt asked him about his age.

"Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?" Trewhitt said.

"Not at all, Mister Trewhitt, and I want you to know that, also, I will not make age an issue with this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience," Regan responded.

I spoke to one-time Reagan staffer and Sacramento strategist Doug Elmets about Reagan's famous line and his ability to land it.

"Well, one of the advantages Ronald Reagan obviously had is that he was an actor, and he could deliver a line anytime, any place," Elmets said.

President Biden's exchanges about his age have not stopped the critics from pouncing.

"How bad is your memory and can you continue as president?" a reporter asked in a recent press conference.

"My memory is so bad, I let you speak," Biden said. "I'm well-meaning, and I'm an elderly man, and I know what the hell I'm doing, and I'm president and I put this country back on its feet."

"Joe Biden is not a great public speaker," Elmets said. "He's not a Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was known as the 'Great Communicator.' "

Biden has been aided by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has fought back against the president's critics.

At the California Hall of Fame inductions, I asked him about questions on whether he could replace Biden as the nominee.

"That ain't happening," Newsom said. "That ain't happening."

It's the return of the age-old question in presidential politics. The responses can make or break a campaign. 

Reagan was 73 when he took his second term in office. Biden would be 81 if he is re-elected.

He is going to be campaigning in California from Tuesday through Thursday. He will be making stops in L.A., Los Altos and San Francisco.

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