May 9th, 2008
01:47 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Was Obama taking aim at McCain's age?

Blitzer: McCain's camp said Obama was making a dig at the Republican's age; Obama denies the charge.
Blitzer: McCain's camp said Obama was making a dig at the Republican's age; Obama denies the charge.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Whenever I interview a major newsmaker, I always marvel at the pickup of the interview by other news organizations and the reaction from interested parties. The latest case in point is my interview this week with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

During the interview, I asked Obama to react to a suggestion from Republican presidential candidate John McCain that the Democrat was the preferred candidate of the militant Palestinian group Hamas. Obama replied that that assertion was “offensive” and “a smear.” He then added: “And so for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination.”

It didn’t take very long for the McCain campaign to respond. “First,” McCain’s senior adviser Mark Salter wrote in a memo, “let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama’s attack today. He used the words ‘losing his bearings’ intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain’s age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.”

Salter continued: “We have all become familiar with Senator Obama’s new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is.”

That’s pretty strong stuff.

Obama’s campaign, by the way, replied that his use of the words “losing his bearings” had nothing to do with McCain’s age.

I am interested in what you think.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (452 Responses)
  1. Peter Damoah-Afari

    McCain is actually loosing his bearings. He is not even saying anything about his pastor who has said many evil things about american people that even what Rev. Wright had said. Wisdom has been said to be something proportional to age, but McCain is acting otherwise.

    May 9, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Mike

    I think McCain will be lucky to live for another four years. How does his campaign think that his age will not be an issue. They are just as crazy as the Clintons.

    May 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. 52 year old Baltimore ,CPA, Black Women

    MCain is old Obama is inexperience and full of speeches is this my choice.... Oh Hiliary, I think I'm just going to stay home

    May 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. SAMUEL

    No. McCain is just being a cry baby.

    May 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Nia - AZ by way of MN

    Okay with the nit picking....Cafferty you were there, you knew what he ment. Besides who hasn't takin' aim at McCains age?!

    May 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. LT for Obama

    Nope but I am sure they will spin this one until November like everything else.

    May 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Daniel, Plattsburgh, NY

    I think Salter is an idiot. Now, if Obama had said "senile," THAT would have been about McCain's age!

    May 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Paul

    OF COURSE NOT!!

    to even suggest it is absolutely rediculus!! Somebody can
    "lose their bearings" at any age..it simply implies that McCain
    is losing track of comments he made in the past about keeping
    his campaign "free of any negativity"!!–something you can NEVER
    expect from a republican candidate!

    Dont get me wrong... im not saying age isnt a issue..!!
    Surely McCain is so stupid to think that his age isnt an issue.
    IT IS!!!

    May 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    OH MY GOD... This is EXACTLY how non-issues begin. (with the offering of even one second of attention more than it deserves). Ok... so the answer is NO.

    CAN WE NOW TALK ABOUT THE CANDIDATES POSITIONS AND DETAILS ON THE ECONOMY, IRAQ, IRAN, AFGHANISTAN, BIN-LADIN, NAFTA, CRIME, HOUSING CRISIS, THE DEFICIT, CHINA OWNIG US, SAUDI ARABIA OWNING US ....???

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. tired

    Bearings = mode or conduct. McCain has a complex with his age.

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. E F G

    When I first read the comment, I thought Obama meant the remark to mean that McCain was deviating from a course he had set at the beginning of his campaign. To run a civil campaign. To run an issues campaign.

    But now that McCain has brought up his age, it's an interesting point.

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Dissapointed Democrat

    Obama is full of hypocrisy, and I will not vote my party this fall.

    Reluctantly
    McCain 08

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Felly

    No, Obama did not mean to take aim at his age. It was a slow day for the McCain campaign and they wanted a free press considering that Obama, the Senators buster was all over the news.

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Joss

    No of course not. All Obama meant by that is that McCain is losing sight of what he should be focusing on.

    May 9, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Pandering

    Are these guys IDIOTS?? Does everyone who loses their bearings are old? Wow! We are in deep trouble if this old guy gets elected. He is having basic comphension issues!

    May 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Nia - AZ by way of MN

    McCain is old...come on. It's amazing how people think they can throw sand and it not back fire. They struck a low blow with the fear monguring.

    May 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Obama '08

    Absolutely not!

    If McCain is sensitive about his age then that's something he needs to deal with. Senator Obama was correct in stating McCain was losing his bearings on the TRUTH!

    If the McCain will flinch each time someone bring up dates, years or time span then maybe rather than dragging this silly season topic out maybe the McCain team should spend time focusing on why he wants to keep the troops in Iraq for another 100 years!

    May 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Kirk

    It's quite a stretch to read "you're too old" from "[you] lost [your] bearings." Losing your bearings simply means that you've lost your way. We all lose our way and then. It has nothing to do with age. The McCain people are stirring up controversy where there is none.

    May 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Ian

    Who cares if he was or not? That's not the issue. The issue is that Obama feels he can say whatever he wants about the other candidates, but when they fire back, he plays "victim" of dirty politics.

    Before McCain ever said a word about the support of Hamas leaders for Obama's presidency, Obama had repeatedly taken McCain's "100-year presence" comment out of context to suggest McCain wants a 100-year war. He jumped all over McCain's error when he interchanged the words "Al Qaeda" and "insurgent" to suggest that McCain doesn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni.

    Neither of these things are true, and in Obama's own words, "He knows better." And although he continues to throw these lies and distorted perspectives around to mislead the American people, as soon as Clinton or McCain do it to him, he cries foul.

    One word: Hypocrisy.

    May 9, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Pandering

    Nice spin to cover his outrageous and disgusting comment! What a spoof!

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Obama '08

    Absolutely not!

    If McCain is sensitive about his age then that's something he needs to deal with. Senator Obama was correct in stating McCain was losing his bearings on the TRUTH!

    If the McCain will flinch each time someone bring up dates, years or time span then maybe rather than dragging this issue out in the silly season maybe the McCain team should spend time focusing on why he wants to keep the troops in Iraq for another 100 years!

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. English Major

    Glad this is FINALLY being asked. To lose one's bearings is not to suggest an age problem – it means that one has lost their way – and surely that is McCain in a nutshell... He is LOST and he will LOSE in November!

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Robert Mpls

    McCain is "losing his bearings" because he needs to maintain the maverick fiction while kissing the collective fat rear of the extreme right. A maverick dislikes dirty campaigning, but the extreme right loves it. Whatever McCain's principles may actually be, his party is insisting that he put them aside to win the election.

    Obama wasn't talking about age at all, but I think the reaction from McCain's camp betrays a hyper-defensiveness about it that Obama would do well to exploit.

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Maybe if he said "losing his marbles" or "going senile" they'd have had a point, but they're making something out of nothing.

    Losing one's bearings means nothing more than getting off message and McCain's message has been that he's going to run a clean campaign.

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Linda, Boston

    NO! Doesn't ANYONE know what a "bearing" is????? A bearing is a DIRECTION, a COURSE.

    Losing one's bearing means losing your way, or veering off course.

    Stop trying to make something out of nothing (and next time, try checking the dictionary first).

    May 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
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