In a new series titled “Grumpy Old Men,” the Haley campaign will start unveiling online videos, digital ads and voter emails. Episodes like “Stumbling Seniors” and “Basement Buddies” take shots her rivals’ signs of mental confusion and their light presence on the campaign trail, among other things.
The push is part of a shift in strategy that Haley began after the Iowa caucuses, casting Trump, 77, and Biden, 81, as belonging to the same bygone era of politician, one she says is deeply at odds with the country’s needs. It also follows her more aggressive posturing toward Trump as the two head into a heated face-off in South Carolina, the state where she was born and raised, and which she led as governor.
But the series, with its reference to a movie from 1993, could prove a risky bet as she looks to court a Republican base that is largely graying, white and Christian. Polls show her trailing the former president by double digits in her home state. Attacks on Biden’s age did not play well during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Haley, 52, has consistently pitched herself as a “new generational leader” for her party and called for mental competency tests for candidates who are 75 or older. Yet, until recently, she has taken a careful approach toward both men and their age.
Her most pointed attacks on the issue have been against Biden, though she often tells her audiences that she is not being disrespectful. “We all know 75-year-olds that can run circles around us,” she often says on the stump, “and then we know Joe Biden.”