Gravel defends Biden, Sanders over questions about age

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is defending Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal Gabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (I-Vt) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday FBI head rejects claims of Ukrainian 2016 interference MORE, saying age shouldn’t be disqualifying factor when running for president.

“Do you think age is a legitimate issue to ask about Bernie Sanders and about Joe Biden?” asked Hill.TV cohost Saagar Enjeti during an interview that aired on Friday.

“No, not really, because if you look at them — they look healthy all get-out,” Gravel said.

“It’s a question of health — if you’re healthy, hell you can go to a 100 and make reasonable judgments, so I would not disqualify them in a heartbeat,” the eighty-nine year old added.

Gravel was a 2020 presidential contender but announced a month ago that his campaign was coming to a close. The campaign announced this week that it would be donating its remaining campaign cash to charity and the rest would go to form a liberal think tank.

The former senator told Hill.TV that he plans to support Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies UN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right MORE (D-Mass.) or Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies UN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' MORE (D-Hawaii).  

“I could live with any one of those three,” he said, noting that the Iowa caucus will be make or break for the candidates. “That will just decimate the members running for president and I would hope that the three people that I’m concerned about make that cut.”

Sanders, 77, and Biden, 76, have both faced criticism over their age. 

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week MORE (D-Calif.), who suspended his presidential campaign in July, made headlines during the first Democratic debate in June after he urged Biden to “pass the torch” to younger generations.

Other younger candidates like South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies McKinsey allowing Buttigieg to disclose past clients Saagar Enjeti: Elizabeth Warren reveals grim future under her presidency MORE, 37, have similarly called for a “new generation” of leadership in Washington. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE — who at 70 became the oldest elected president — has also criticized Biden over his energy and stamina, often referring to him as “Sleepy Joe.”

“I think Biden did OK. He came through," the president tweeted Wednesday following the second round of Democratic debates. "He came limping through, as I say about 'Sleepy Joe,' he right limped through it.”

Questions about age have swirled around the 2020 Democratic primary field as older candidates like Sanders and Biden top most national polls.

According to a Morning Consult poll released on Friday, 32 percent of potential Democratic primary voters selected Biden as their top pick, compared to 33 percent after the first Democratic debate in June. 

Sanders came in second place, with 18 percent support. 

⁠—Tess Bonn