US Vice President Harris dismisses Biden age concerns, but ready to be president

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris departs after attending the 43rd ASEAN Summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris dismissed questions about President Joe Biden's age on Friday, telling a television interviewer she is prepared to be commander in chief, but that it won't be necessary.

"Joe Biden is going to be just fine," Harris said, when asked about concerns that Biden is too old to run again.

Biden, who will turn 81 in November and would be 82 at the start of a prospective second four-year term in January 2025, faces skeptical American voters who will decide whether to elect the Democrat for another four years in November 2024.

His leading opponent, Republican Donald Trump, is 77; American voters say they'd like to see younger candidates for president.

Some Republican presidential candidates, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, have said a vote for Biden would end up being a vote for Harris, who had a 40% approval rating in an average of polls compiled by politics website Five Thirty Eight.

Harris, on a trip to an Asian leaders summit meeting in Jakarta, told CBS News, when asked if she was prepared to take over the presidency, "Yes, I am, if necessary."

"But Joe Biden is going to be fine. Let me tell you something: I work with Joe Biden every day," the vice president said.

Harris also rejected criticism by Republicans who said electing her would be risky.

"They feel the need to attack because they're scared that we will win based on the merit of the work that Joe Biden and I, and our administration has done," she said.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Jonathan Oatis)