Gravel defends Biden, Sanders over questions about age

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is defending Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy Sanders doubles down on 'Medicare For All' defense: 'We have not changed one word' Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses MORE (I-Vt) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenScaramucci attends charity event featuring Biden in the Hamptons Klobuchar knocks Trump: 'This negotiating by tweet hasn't been working' Rendell: Biden 'baked in' as Democratic nominee 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 WarrenTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses Rendell: Biden 'baked in' as Democratic nominee MORE (D-Mass.) or Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDemocratic candidates face hard choices as 2020 field winnows Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates 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 SwalwellIf the Democratic debates were pro wrestling, de Blasio is comic relief Inslee seeking third term as governor after ending presidential bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts 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 ButtigiegSunday shows preview: Trump ratchets up trade war with China Democratic candidates face hard choices as 2020 field winnows Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates MORE, 37, have similarly called for a “new generation” of leadership in Washington. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative 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