But which is it? Is it Biden-the-slightly-senile, as the president suggests and the campaign has spent millions arguing in ad buys? Or is it Biden-the-shrewd-political-operator? Murtaugh suggested it could be both and cited his numerous debate outings as a three-time presidential candidate and two-time vice-presidential nominee.

“It’s clear that Biden has his good days and his bad days,” the spokesman explained. “But when the cameras come on, and it’s time to debate, he has always been able to turn it on, and that’s the Biden we expect to see.”

“He knows when it’s show time,” he concluded.

The Biden camp was somewhat taken aback by the lately offered respect and not a little amused. “There are probably a lot of Tim Murtaughs out there. Is this the same one who’s been shouting from the rooftops for months that Joe Biden is mentally incapacitated and is going to withdraw from the debates in fear?” a senior Biden aide told RCP.

“If so, I have questions,” the aide added.