79岁的拜登还能当好美国总统吗?

79岁的拜登还能当好美国总统吗?
At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency

PETER BAKER
2022年7月15日

在第一个任期仅履行一年半之后,拜登总统已经比结束两个任期的里根大了一岁多。

WASHINGTON — When President Joe Biden leaves Tuesday night for a four-day swing through the Middle East, he will presumably be more rested than he would have been had he followed the original plan.
华盛顿——当拜登总统周二晚启程,前往中东进行为期四天的访问时,他很有可能比原定的行程安排得到更好的休息。

The trip was initially tacked onto another journey last month to Europe, which would have made for an arduous 10-day overseas trek until it became clear to Biden’s team that such extended travel might be unnecessarily taxing for a 79-year-old president, or “crazy,” as one official put it.
这次访问原本安排跟上个月的欧洲之行连在一起,那将是一次长达10天、辛苦的海外之行,拜登的团队明白,如此长时间的旅行可能给这位79岁的总统带来不必要的负担,或者正如一位官员所说,这样的安排很“疯狂”。

Aides also cited political and diplomatic reasons to reorganize the extra stops as a separate trip weeks later. But the reality is that managing the schedule of the oldest president in American history presents distinct challenges. And as Biden insists he plans to run for a second term, his age has increasingly become an uncomfortable issue for him, his team and his party.
对于把这次访问另行安排到几周之后,助手们还援引了政治和外交方面的原因。但现实情况是,管理美国历史上最年长总统的日程安排颇具挑战性。随着拜登坚持连任计划,他的年龄越来越成为一个对他、他的团队和政党而言令人不安的问题。

Just a year and a half into his first term, Biden is already more than a year older than Ronald Reagan was at the end of two terms. If he mounts another campaign in 2024, Biden would be asking the country to elect a leader who would be 86 at the end of his tenure, testing the outer boundaries of age and the presidency. Polls show many Americans consider Biden too old, and some Democratic strategists do not think he should run again.
第一个任期才过去了一年半,拜登已经比结束两个任期的里根大了一岁多。如果他在2024年再次竞选,这就相当于要求美国推选一位任期结束时将年满86岁的领导人,这是对总统年龄和总统职位的极限考验。民调显示,许多美国人认为拜登年纪太大,一些民主党的策略师认为,他不应该再次参选。

It is, unsurprisingly, a sensitive topic in the West Wing. In interviews, some sanctioned by the White House and some not, more than a dozen current and former senior officials and advisers uniformly reported that Biden remained intellectually engaged, asking smart questions at meetings, grilling aides on points of dispute, calling them late at night, picking out that weak point on Page 14 of a memo and rewriting speeches like his abortion statement Friday right up until the last minute.
不出所料,这在白宫西翼是一个敏感话题。在采访中(有些得到了白宫批准,有些则不然),十多名现任和前任高级官员和顾问都指出,拜登仍然保持着清晰的思维,开会的时候能提出一针见血的问题,就争议之处盘问助手,深夜给他们打电话,从备忘录里挑毛病,并亲自修改演讲稿直到最后一刻,比如周五就推翻堕胎权发表的讲话。

But they acknowledged that Biden looks older than just a few years ago, a political liability that cannot be solved by traditional White House stratagems like staff shake-ups or new communications plans. His energy level, while impressive for a man of his age, is not what it was, and some aides quietly watch out for him. He often shuffles when he walks, and aides worry he will trip on a wire. He stumbles over words during public events, and they hold their breath to see if he makes it to the end without a gaffe.
但他们也承认,拜登看起来比几年前老了,这是一种政治负担,无法通过人员重组或新的沟通计划等白宫传统策略来解决。虽然与同龄人相比,他的精力已经很充沛了,但还是不如从前,一些助手悄悄地关照着他。他走路有时不稳,助手们担心他会被电线绊倒。在公开场合,他说话会颠三倒四,导致助手们紧张万分,担心他出现失言。

Although White House officials insist they make no special accommodations the way Reagan’s team did, privately they try to guard Biden’s weekends in Delaware as much as possible. He is generally a five- or 5 1/2-day-a-week president, although he is called at any hour regardless of the day as needed. He stays out of public view at night and has taken part in fewer than half as many news conferences or interviews as recent predecessors.
尽管白宫官员坚称,他们没有像里根团队那样做特别的调整,但私下里,他们会尽量守护拜登在特拉华州的周末时间。作为总统,他通常每周工作五天或五天半,尽管有需要的时候随叫随到。他在晚上会远离公众视线,参加新闻发布会或采访的次数不到前任的一半。

拜登上个月在特拉华州从自行车上摔了下来。他看起来并没有受伤,但这一事件引起了广泛关注。

When Biden fell while dismounting a bicycle last month, White House officials ruefully noticed that it was among the top stories of the week — never mind that the president works out five mornings a week, often with a physical trainer, or that many men his age hardly ride bikes anymore.
上个月,拜登在下自行车时摔倒,白宫官员遗憾地注意到,这成了当周的头条新闻之一——但没人注意到总统每周通常跟体能教练一起进行五次晨间锻炼,也没有人注意到他的大多同龄人几乎不再骑自行车了。

Biden has said questions about his fitness are reasonable to ask even as he reassures Americans that he is in good shape. Even for some admirers, though, the question is whether that will last six more years.
拜登曾表示,尽管他向美国民众保证自己的身体状况良好,但对他健康状况的质疑也是合理的。然而,即使他的仰慕者也会想知道,他能否再撑六年。

“I do feel it’s inappropriate to seek that office after you’re 80 or in your 80s,” said David Gergen, a top adviser to four presidents. “I have just turned 80, and I have found over the last two or three years I think it would have been unwise for me to try to run any organization. You’re not quite as sharp as you once were.”
“我确实觉得,在你80岁或80多岁之后竞选总统是不合适的,”曾担任四位总统高级顾问一职的戴维·格根说。“我刚满80岁,在过去两三年里,我发现,尝试管理任何组织对我来说都是不明智的。你不像以前那么敏锐了。”

The White House rejected the idea that Biden was anything other than a seven-day commander in chief. “President Biden works every day and because chief executives can perform their duties from anywhere in the world, it has long been common for them to spend weekends away from the White House,” Andrew Bates, a deputy press secretary, said after this article was published online.
有人说,拜登不是一周七天待命的总司令,白宫驳斥了这种说法。本文发表在网上后,副新闻秘书安德鲁·贝茨表示:“拜登总统每天都在工作,而且因为最高长官们可以在世界任何地方履行职责,所以他们周末不在白宫是很常见的事情。”

The president’s medical report in November indicated that he had atrial fibrillation but that it was stable and asymptomatic. Biden’s “ambulatory gait is perceptibly stiffer and less fluid than it was a year or so ago,” the report said, and gastroesophageal reflux causes him to cough and clear his throat, symptoms that “certainly seem to be more frequent and more pronounced.”
总统去年11月的体检报告显示,他有心房颤动,但状态稳定且无症状。报告称,拜登“与一年前相比,步态明显更为僵硬,更不流畅”,胃食管反流导致他咳嗽和清嗓子,这些症状“显然看来更频繁、更明显”。

But overall, Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, the president’s physician, pronounced him “a healthy, vigorous 78-year-old male who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.”
但总统的医生凯文·奥康纳博士认为,总的来说,他是“一位健康、精力充沛的78岁男性,能够成功履行总统职责”。

Questions about Biden’s fitness have nonetheless taken a toll on his public standing. In a June survey by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll, 64% of voters believed he was showing that he is too old to be president, including 60% of respondents 65 or older.
尽管如此,对拜登健康状况的质疑还是影响了他的公众形象。哈佛大学美国政治研究中心和哈里斯民调在6月进行的一项调查显示,64%的选民认为他的年龄太大,不适合担任总统,其中60%的受访者年龄在65岁或以上。

Biden’s public appearances have fueled that perception. His speeches can be flat and listless. He sometimes loses his train of thought, has trouble summoning names or appears momentarily confused. More than once, he has promoted Vice President Kamala Harris, calling her “President Harris.” Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, stumbles over words like “kleptocracy.” He has said Iranian when he meant Ukrainian and several times called Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., “John,” confusing him with the late Republican senator of that name from Virginia.
拜登在公开露面时的表现助长了这种看法。他的演讲有时平淡乏味。他有时会思路中断,叫不出某个名字,或者出现片刻的糊涂。他不止一次给副总统卡玛拉·哈里斯升职,叫她“哈里斯总统”。拜登在小时候曾经有过口吃,说到“盗贼统治”(kleptocracy)这样的词现在还是会有点磕巴。有一次,他嘴里说的是伊朗人,实际上是想表达乌克兰人,还有好几次管弗吉尼亚州民主党参议员马克·沃纳叫“约翰”——他把后者和已故的弗吉尼亚州共和党参议员约翰·沃纳弄混了。

Republicans and conservative media gleefully highlight such moments, posting viral videos, sometimes exaggerated or distorted to make Biden look even worse. But the White House has had to walk back some of his ad-libbed comments, such as when he vowed a military response if China attacks Taiwan or declared that President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” in Russia.
共和党和保守派媒体兴高采烈地宣扬这类时刻,发布被疯转的视频,有时还会进行夸张或扭曲,让拜登看起来更糟糕。但白宫也不得不收回他的一些即兴言论,比如他誓言如果中国攻击台湾,美国将会做出军事反应,或者称普京总统在俄罗斯“不能继续执政”。

Biden was famously prone to gaffes even as a younger man, and aides point to his marathon meetings with families of mass shooting victims or his working the rope line during a trip to Cleveland this past week as evidence of stamina.
拜登年轻时就出了名地爱口误,助手们还指出,他与大规模枪击案受害者家属的马拉松式会面,以及上周前往克利夫兰时与支持者们互动,都证明了他的耐力。

Mike Donilon, a senior adviser who began working for Biden some 40 years ago, said he did not see any change. “On the way back from long trips when the staff is wiped out, he’ll want to spend four hours planning for how we hit the ground running on domestic policy, when all much younger staff want to do is sleep,” he said.
大约40年前开始为拜登工作的高级顾问迈克·多尼隆表示,他不觉得拜登有任何变化。“长途旅行回来的路上,当所有员工都筋疲力尽的时候,他会花上四个小时,谋划如何推进国内政策,这时所有年轻的工作人员都只想睡觉。”

Biden is not the first president to confront questions of age. The issue came up repeatedly under President Donald Trump, who is four years younger. Trump’s diminished vocabulary, tendency to meander, sometimes incoherent remarks, light office schedule and struggles to process information led critics to conclude that he was in decline.
拜登并不是第一位面临年龄问题的总统。在比他小四岁的特朗普总统在执政期间,这个问题就曾反复出现。特朗普词汇量较少,说话总是不着边际,有时还语无伦次,他办公时间较短,而且处理信息很吃力,这些都让批评者认为他的身体机能正在衰退。

At one point, he had trouble lifting a glass of water to his lips and stepping down a ramp, and he also made an unexplained trip to the hospital. By the end of his term, he was boasting about passing a cognitive test meant to detect signs of dementia. If he runs again in 2024, it could be a contest between two men who would serve in their 80s.
有一次,他无法把一杯水端到嘴边,还有一次,他下斜坡时步履不稳,他还曾造访医院,但未公开原因。任期结束时,他吹嘘自己通过了一项旨在检测失智征迹象的认知测试。如果他在2024年再次参选,这可能是两个将在耄耋之年任职的人之间的竞争。

By Reagan’s final years, a new set of aides secretly assessed whether he might have to be removed from office under the 25th Amendment’s disability clause, but ultimately concluded he was still fit. (Five years after leaving the White House, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.)
里根任期的最后几年,一群新助手秘密评估了他是否必须根据第25修正案的失能条款被免职,但最终得出的结论是,他仍然健康。(离开白宫五年后,他被诊断出患有阿尔茨海默症。)

Still, aides tried to limit his schedule, monitored sharply by first lady Nancy Reagan. “That’s one of the first lessons we had, to not overschedule,” recalled Tom Griscom, one of those aides. Nor should they send excessive briefing papers at night. “After a couple weeks,” he said, “a message came back down from Mrs. Reagan asking us not to send so much up in the evening because he would read it all,” staying up late.
尽管如此,助手们还是试图限制他的日程安排,由第一夫人南希·里根严加监控。“这是我们学到的第一课,不要安排太多事,”助手之一汤姆·格里斯科姆回忆道。他们也不应该在晚上送太多简报文件给他过目。“几周后,”他说,“里根夫人发来信息,要求我们不要在晚上发那么多东西,因为他会熬夜看完。”

Biden’s advisers say he resists such management and pushes in the other direction. “He’s driving additions to his schedule all the time, whether it’s new CEO calls or night meetings with members,” said Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, the deputy chief of staff who oversees his calendar.
拜登的顾问们表示,拜登对这样的日程管理并不买账,反而为自己加码。“他总是在自己的日程表上增加新内容,无论是与新任首席执行官举行电话会议,还是与内阁成员的夜间会议,”负责监督他日程安排的副幕僚长詹妮弗·奥马利·狄龙说。

里根是此前美国年龄最大的总统。他曾在一次辩论中开玩笑说,他不会利用“对手的年轻和经验不足”。

But aides are cautious about exposing him to the coronavirus. Aides are tested once a week and wear colored wristbands on the day of their test; if they plan to attend a meeting with the president on another day, then they must test that morning, too, and wear N95 masks.
但对于新冠病毒,助手们持非常谨慎的态度。助手们每周接受一次检测,并在检测当天佩戴彩色腕带;如果某天要跟总统开会,他们也必须在一大早做测试,并戴上N95口罩。

The White House seems equally determined to guard Biden against unscripted interactions with the news media. He has held just 16 news conferences since taking office, less than half as many as Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush had by this stage and less than one-third as many as Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a longtime scholar of presidential media strategy.
白宫似乎同样决心要防止拜登与新闻媒体进行无脚本的即兴互动。据长期研究总统媒体战略的玛莎·乔伊特·库马尔说,他上任以来只举行了16场新闻发布会,不到特朗普、奥巴马和小布什的一半,不到克林顿和老布什的三分之一。

Likewise, Biden has given just 38 interviews, far fewer than Trump (116), Obama (198), the younger Bush (71), Clinton (75) and the elder Bush (86). Biden has been more accessible taking a few questions informally after a speech or other event, which he has done 290 times, compared with 213 by Trump and 64 by Obama.
同样,拜登也只接受了38次采访,远少于特朗普(116次)、奥巴马(198次)、小布什(71次)、克林顿(75次)和老布什(86次)。拜登在演讲或其他活动后,更愿意接受一些非正式的提问,他这样做了290次,特朗普做了213次,奥巴马做了64次。

During his European trip last month, foreign leaders followed his lead while protectively treating him like a distinguished elderly relative.
在他上个月的欧洲之行中,外国领导人跟在他后面,保护性地对待他,就像对待一位可敬的长辈。
At a photo opportunity, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany gently pointed Biden in the direction of the cameras. Just before a meeting, a reporter twice shouted a question about getting grain out of Ukraine. When Biden could not hear the question, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson rescued him. “We’re working on it,” Johnson responded.

在一次媒体拍照过程中,德国总理朔尔茨轻轻地向拜登指了指镜头的方向。一次会议开始之前,一名记者两次喊出一个关于从乌克兰运出粮食的问题。拜登没听清提问,是英国首相约翰逊救了他。“我们正在努力,”约翰逊回应道。

Jim Tankersley、Michael D. Shear和Katie Benner对本文有报道贡献。

Peter Baker是时报首席白宫记者,为时报和《华盛顿邮报》报道了五位美国总统的新闻。他还著有六本书,最新的一本是《管理华盛顿的人:詹姆斯·A·贝克三世的生活和时代》。欢迎在Twitter和Faceboook上关注他。

翻译:明斋、晋其角

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