President Joe Biden, 80 — the oldest person to assume the presidency — once ran a campaign attacking his opponent's age.
In 1972, when Biden was a local Delaware councilman, he ran against 63-year-old incumbent GOP Sen. Cale Boggs, a former two-term governor and the state's senior senator.
"Cale doesn't want to run, he's lost that old twinkle in his eye he used to have," Biden said of Boggs, who had wanted to retire but was persuaded to run for reelection by then-President Richard Nixon, the Washingtonian reported at the time.
Biden used his opponent's age against him in a way that was so explicit, one local reporter dubbed his approach, "Dear old dad."
According to CNN, advertisements for Biden in 1972 in local newspapers and on the radio hammered home a line, "he understands what's happening today" — and chided Boggs' generation.
"One of the biggest differences between Cale Boggs and Joe Biden is the things they worry about," a radio ad proclaimed, CNN reported. "In Cale Boggs' day when Stalin ruled, Americans had visions of the Russian soldiers in our streets. In Joe Biden's day, Americans have visions of American criminals in our streets. Joe Biden, he understands what's happening today."
The approach was attacked by then GOP Delaware Sen. William Roth — who would wind up working closely with Biden for the following 30 years, CNN noted.
Biden's age-punch strategy was not lost on the media at the time.
When Biden won the race, the headline over an Associated Press report declared: "Biden stressed age to defeat Boggs."
"The new campaign strategy, ordered by Biden himself, eases off the strident tub-thumping and finger pointing and uses an approach that says, in effect, 'Dear old dad may have been right for his time – and I love him – but things are different now,'" Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Norman Lockman wrote.
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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