Listen to President Obama's speeches of late and you're bound to hear a familar refrain, notes Amie Parnes in Politico—self-deprecating comments about how he's getting older. “I don’t look that young anymore," he said in a recent conference call with reporters. "I’m grayer, I have bags under my eyes, but that core spirit is still there.” With his 50th birthday approaching in August, something similar seems to crop up in just about every public address nowadays, meaning it's no accident.
"The autumnal notes in Obama’s stump speech suggest that an older-but-wiser motif is going to be an important part of his public persona this year," writes Parnes. He's shifting from wunderkind politician to not-quite-elder statesman, even though he's bound to be the youngest candidate in the race no matter which Republican gets the nod. He's actually not all that bummed about the big 5-0, says adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett: “It’s not weighing on him—he’s very comfortable with the stage of life that he’s in. He shares it in a very lighthearted way. It’s just a reality. It’s a common feeling that many men and women of his age experience as life moves on.”