As Joe Biden Celebrates 79th Birthday Today, Questions Grow Over 2024

President Joe Biden celebrates his 79th birthday on Saturday, November 20 by marking a new milestone in presidential history but likely adding to speculation about his own political future.

Biden was already the oldest person ever to serve as president but now he's 79-years-old, he's set another new record for the greatest age reached by any serving commander in chief.

The longtime record-holder was former President Ronald Reagan, who was 77-years-old when he left office in 1989. Biden was 78-years-old on inauguration day on January 20 this year.

His birthday is likely to add further fuel to speculation about his role in the 2024 presidential election - a topic that has already seen his age become a major focus of concern.

While Biden has said he expects to run for a second term in 2024, he will be 81-years-old in November of that year and turn 82-years-old not long after the presidential election takes place.

Critics have previously cited Biden's age as a cause for concern, with some calling on him to take a cognitive test and others openly suggesting there are problems with the president's mental acuity.

Biden reportedly did not undergo a cognitive test during his physical on Friday, though former President Donald Trump did take a cognitive test in 2018 and has repeatedly bragged about passing it.

A Fox News poll conducted from November 14 to 17 showed that 53 percent of registered voters believed Biden's age was "interfering with his ability to serve effectively as president," while 40 percent did not and 7 percent answered "don't know."

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted from November 13 to 15 found that 48 percent of registered voters did not agree that Biden was mentally fit, while 46 percent believed he was. That's a change from May, when 53 percent said he was mentally fit.

That poll also found that 40 percent of respondents agreed that the president "is in good health" but 50 percent disagreed. In May, Morning Consult found that 50 percent of respondents thought Biden was in good health.

However, Biden's physician, Kevin O'Connor, described the president as "a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief" in a summary of his Friday physical.

It remains to be seen if the results of Biden's physical will affect the public's views on his health and mental fitness but there is little question that his age will remain a topic of discussion for 2024.

Paul Quirk, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Newsweek earlier this week that if Biden seeks reelection "we may see a large field of competitors for the nomination."

"If Biden's 'senior moments' don't become noticeably more frequent or more alarming over the next two years, he will probably run for a second term," Quirk said.

"If the economy is in a strong recovery and the pandemic is behind us, he should have excellent prospects in the election, and there won't be a strong argument that any alternative nominee would be more electable," he added.

Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London's Centre on U.S. Politics, told Newsweek it was hardly surprising that there would be speculation about Biden not running again given his age.

"Yet while health is always a concern factor - and unforeseen events could certainly occur over the next few years - I'd be surprised if Biden's name isn't on the ballot in 2024," Gift said.

"This is a politician, after all, who spent his whole life, and three election cycles, positioning himself for the White House. Now that he's there, it's hard to imagine him relinquishing power voluntarily," he said.

Biden Speaks at the Tribal Nations Summit
US President Joe Biden speaks at a Tribal Nations Summit in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC on November 15, 2021. Biden celebrates his 79th birthday on Saturday, November 20. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images