Joe Biden stumbles and stammers through campaign kickoff speech

April 30, 2019

Presidential candidate Joe Biden appeared to struggle with a health crisis Monday. Biden slurred and stammered his way through the first speech of his presidential campaign, made to a group of Pittsburgh union workers, struggling to articulate words like “dignity” and “successful,” as a montage from Grabien shows. At times he was entirely incomprehensible.

President Donald Trump has mocked Biden’s stamina since his entry into the race, dubbing him “Sleepy Joe.” At 76, Biden would be the oldest president ever elected to office if he were to win in 2020.

Biden slurs throughout campaign appearance

Biden’s speech riffed on economically populist themes and touted his union bona fides, as he attacked Wall Street CEOs  and declared, “I am a union man, period.” But the energy and excitement that should have marked his campaign kickoff moment was belied by the difficulty he experienced delivering a mere 27 minutes of remarks.

The former vice president showed clear signs of age as he stumbled his way through “almost every sentence,” according to Grabien. The slip-ups began almost immediately.

“I want to thank Rich Fritzgerald, the county executive for — the baladanny — the Allegheny County executive for being here,” he began.

Biden again faltered in the middle of a fiery invective against Wall Street executives. “The country wasn’t built by Wall St. bankers, CEOs, and hudge — heh — and hedge fund managers,” he said. “We have to rethink how we define what constitutes a su-successful economy,” he stammered.

Biden struggled to articulate words like “dignity,” “successful,” and “hospital” and was at times totally indecipherable.

“All my time in public life [unintelligible] myself gotten involved,” he said at one point. “How can a person…dinnity [dignity] maintained,” he said at another.

“If the enterprise hits hard times every body took a hit,” he said. “Union workers, the UAW took extredable — cuts in their pensions and their future and the less to get GM working.”

Watch Grabien’s montage of Biden’s remarks below:

Questions about Biden’s age linger

Biden battled a stutter as a child, according to the Washington Examiner. A reporter for the paper said that Biden was again slurring his speech at an event Tuesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The former vice president is the current frontrunner in the Democrat primary, polling better than any other candidate, but some questioned whether Biden is too old to run for president even before he announced his candidacy. Biden would be 78 at the beginning of his first term in office, older than Ronald Reagan was when he left the Oval Office.


Trump didn’t waste any time making an issue of Biden’s age, immediately mocking “Sleepy Joe” once Biden officially launched his presidential campaign on Thursday. Speaking with reporters, Trump compared his condition favorably to that of Biden, declaring himself a “young, vibrant man.” He added, “I look at Joe, I don’t know about him. I don’t know, I would never say anyone is too old.”

Biden famously survived an aneurysm that almost killed him in the 1980s and has reportedly developed an irregular heartbeat since. But Biden has had to contend with other problems stemming from his age — not so much problems of health, but of generational politics, as critics on the left say the majority of his declared positions are insufficiently progressive. Biden has largely centered his campaign on the premise that only he has the name recognition to beat Donald Trump.

The burning question continues to be whether Joe Biden is simply too old to run for president.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.