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‘What happened to Joe Biden?’ New Trump campaign ad asks

The Trump campaign launched a new ad Monday that tries to push the narrative that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is suffering from cognitive decline. 

The 78-second spot jumps between footage of Biden from 2015 and 2016 to the 77-year-old presumptive Democratic nominee of 2020. 

‘What happened to Joe Biden?’ bookends the beginning and ending of the ad.  

The Trump campaign has taken over the YouTube masthead for four days so that they’re offering counter-programming to the virtual Democratic National Convention, which kicked off Monday. 

Axios reported that the Trump campaign paid in the ‘high seven figures’ for the valuable internet real estate. 

The Trump campaign has been hitting Biden harder and harder on his age, calling him ‘diminished’ in an August 5 ad and launching an ad entitled ‘decline’ a day later. 

Axios reported that earlier in the campaign cycle some Trump aides privately expressed reservations about attacking the former vice president in this way, fearing it could alienate senior voters. 

It could also backfire by putting pressure on Trump to prove, at age 74, that he’s also not suffering from decline or dementia. 

The Biden campaign hasn’t officially pursued this narrative but the Republicans-against-Trump group, The Lincoln Project, has in a mid-June ad entitled #TrumpIsNotWell.   

‘Something is wrong with Donald Trump. He’s shaky, weak, trouble speaking, trouble walking. So why aren’t we talking about this?’ the ad says.

It includes footage of Trump tip-toeing down the ramp at West Point days before and his two-handed grasp of a water bottle. 

‘We’re not doctors, but we’re not blind. It’s time we talk about this,’ the ad continues. ‘Trump is not well.’ 

The new Trump campaign ad shows Biden, as vice president, looking tan and sporting his trademark aviators as he campaigns for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

It then flashes to present-day where the clips are tinted to look darker and more sinister.  

‘You know the rapidly rising, umm, and with the, with the, I don’t know,’ Biden rambles at one point. 

‘You know there’s a, during World War II, you know, what Roosevelt came up with a thing, that you know, was totally different … he called it a … ,’ he says at another. 

The Biden campaign countered the candidate’s verbal stumbles by pointing to polling on the matter, Axios said.  

A Monmouth University poll from early July found that 52 per cent of voters were at least somewhat confident in Biden’s mental and physical stamina compared to 45 per cent who held the same opinion of Trump.    

Trump’s more rabid base bumped up his number of voters who were ‘very confident’ in his mental and physical prowess. By that measure, 33 per cent were ‘very confident’ in Trump, compared to 23 per cent who said they were ‘very confident’ of Biden’s abilities. 

As for how Trump is faring with seniors, the latest CNN poll that had Biden up by 4 points nationally had the ex-vice president up 10 points among the over 65 set. 

Biden, with Kamala Harris announced as his VP, garnered 53 per cent support from registered voters 65 and up, while Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received the support of 43 per cent of seniors, pollsters found.          

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