Democrats are seeing a special counsel’s report portraying President Joe Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” as a disaster that could hinder his chances of reelection even more than criminal charges over his handling of classified documents would have done.

   “It’s a nightmare,” one House Democrat, who asked to speak anonymously to NBC News, commented. “It weakens President Biden electorally, and Donald Trump would be a disaster and an authoritarian.”

   The report from special counsel Robert Hur said that Biden, 81, under questioning, could not remember when he served as vice president, or the year when his son Beau died, and delivered a line of attack to the president’s arguments that he remains sharp enough to be reelected to another four years in office.

   Hur said that if there was a trial, Biden would likewise present himself as the same elderly man that he appeared to be while being questioned.

   Biden has rejected the findings in the report, angrily insisting in an address to the nation Thursday night that his memory is fine and becoming emotional when speaking of the part of the report questioning if he knew the date of his son’s death of cancer in 2015.

   But polls have shown that voters were already concerned about Biden’s age, with an NBC News survey in January showing 76% say they have concerns with Biden’s physical and mental health.

   Further, this week alone, Biden referred twice to conversations he’s said he had while he was president with foreign leaders who died years ago, and even while defending himself Thursday night, the president called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi the head of Mexico.

   The White House has downplayed such lapses, but the Hur report takes away from such defenses, and reinforces doubts about whether Biden is up to another four years as president, according to Democrat strategists.

   “This is beyond devastating,” a Democratic operative, speaking anonymously, commented. “It confirms every doubt and concern that voters have. If the only reason they didn’t charge him is because he’s too old to be charged, then how can he be president of the United States?”

   Another of the president’s allies said the report represented “the worst day” of Biden’s presidency and he will have to demonstrate that it is a “false characterization.”

   However, some of Biden’s allies quickly defended him, pointing out that the special counsel interview took place just days after the Hamas attack on Israel. They further said he shows no signs of issues when they speak with him.

   “He’s very sharp, no memory issues, and his only stumbling is when he trips over words consistent with his lifelong speech impediment,” Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., told NBC News after she saw Biden Thursday.

   The Hur report could also give former President Donald Trump ammunition while he fights similar charges of mishandling classified records, which he denies. Trump is expected to use the Hur report as evidence that Biden weaponized the Justice Department.

   Biden’s attorneys are also disputing the report, saying that it is neither “accurate or appropriate.”

   “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” they wrote in a letter to Hur.

   Biden’s allies are also attacking Hur, with Jim Messina, who chaired Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, writing on Twitter that the special counsel is a Republican who knew how he could hurt Biden with such comments.

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