If Hillary Clinton runs for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, which everyone save for a few Congolese Pygmies expects, then wins the general election, she would be 69 years and 86 days at the time of her inauguration as the nation’s first woman president on Jan. 20, 2017. This would make her the second-oldest person ever installed into a first term in the nation’s highest office, after President Ronald Reagan, who was 69 years and 349 days when sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981.
Reagan is widely considered to be one of history’s greatest leaders. But behind the scenes, some doubted his fitness.
Reagan’s son Ron wrote in a his 2011 memoir, “My Father at 100,” that he saw signs of mental confusion from Alzheimer’s disease in his dad as far back as the 1984 debate with Democratic presidential challenger Walter Mondale, when Reagan was 73 and Mondale 56. “My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered,” Ron Reagan wrote. His father sailed to re-election anyway, and died in 2004, at 93, from pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer’s.
This brings up two names: Hillary Clinton. And Karl Rove.