In a single, brutal week, the fundamental communications paradox of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign was laid bare: whether it’s better to confront or ignore the news media as concerns about his age and acuity dominate headlines.

Biden’s team managed to find the worst of both worlds, fanning worries about how their campaign will manage the 81-year-old president over the next nine months.

First, they withheld Biden from the press, announcing he would skip a traditional Super Bowl interview and opt against a news conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. But then a series of missteps in which Biden confused long-dead European leaders with their living counterparts amplified questions about whether his aides were keeping the president bubble-wrapped.