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. Debbie,NJ

    I think McCain is self conscious about his age. When one talks about someone's bearings it could also mean their composure or temper.

    May 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Joe for "O"

    I lose my bearings all the time and I'm only in my 30s.

    May 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Joe Regis

    Of course not. It is irrelevant.

    People are saying it is time for a change and that has always been his mantra.

    Go Obama Go!!!

    Obamacan 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    No he wasn't talking about his age! I think by now we know Obama – if he wanted to talk about Mc Cain's age – he would have!

    He was saying how off track Mc Cain's statement was! And, I agree Mc Cain's statement was way-off track regarding Hamas!

    Listen – Mc Cain is suppose to be tough – so come on!!!

    May 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Esther from Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    how can you be talking to this flip flopper he has no convictions he can not stay with any thing for very long he is a has been

    May 9, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Dawit

    It has nothing to do with age.

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Lucy

    Losing your bearings not the same as losing your marbles. I think the people who objected might have lost their way temporarily as did Sen. McCain.

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. JO

    Obama is in the process of 'losing his marbles' if he thinks he will be elected in November !

    Go McCain 2008

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Gern Blanston

    First of all, I didn't take any inference to age in Obama's remarks. He went on to say, in the context of the interview that McCain was calling for civility and such while using underhanded inuendos against his opponents. When someone attacks your credibility and you defend yourself, that's not an attack, that's a response...McCain's staff is making it sound like Obama went after McCain unfairly when in fact, it's exactly the opposite...

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. charles

    is he ashamed of his age. if he is there is something to his age his hiding otherwise it shouldnt bother him if he knows he is fit mentaly. if he makes it an issue it will only make it worse for him.the fact is he is old.the rest is up to him to prove that he is up fr the job.

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. karen

    No not age. McCain bounces back and forth like the wind!

    May 9, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Anthony Heyward In New York City

    The McCain camp is grasping at straws. Thats all.

    May 9, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Enraged

    Well, Wolf, what McCain's people are failing to realize is that age is an issue. Race and gender do not impair one's ability to be an effective leader; however, given what we all know about aging and its deteriorating effects on the body and mind, it is obvious that electing a senior citizen should be concerning. Then again, this is a campaign that tried to raise money by claiming Hamas wanted Barack Obama to be president, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by their ignorant tactics.

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

    "Losing your Bearings" means to lose your way; in context it means that Obama was questioning McCain not living up to running a fair, antismear campaign.

    The Rebulicans are claiming that Obama won't be able to withstand their attacks and they can't take this one without whining and misinterpreting...are they seeking Clinton's elderly vote??

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Former Democrat

    I think 1 year from now people will be asking, "Obama who?" He is totally unelectable and if the vote were today he would not be in the position he currently is. I believe the Democratic Party will be hurt by his candidacy. Long time Democrats are disgusted and beginning to wonder if they are in the correct party if, in fact that party, is sponsoring a candidate with no experience to be in the most important position in the world.

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. ejshearn22

    I think McCain's campign is desperate for attention, any attention.

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Brian

    Wow. Sensitive aren't we McCain?? Now that you brung it up, you are old.

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. matt

    I'm pretty sure that Obama meant "bearings" as in "surroundings" or that McCain was out of touch. I don't think he meant McCain's ball-bearings were getting rusty, and I don't think he meant he was getting senile, which are the only two ways I can see that comment being age-related.

    Also, "We have all become familiar with Senator Obama’s new brand of politics... It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is." Talk about hipocrisy, that's like, double hipocrisy or something. Is it a new brand or is it the oldest kind there is?

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Rolanda loving Obama

    He is old but I don't think Barack was intentially calling him an old man. Doesn't matter anyway McBush is TOAST in Nov!

    Obama 08!

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. from CT

    They are always trying to spin any words that come out of their mouth. It's really sad what the media has become. To me hearing Mr. Obama say what he said, the last thing on my mind was him being clever about Mccain's age, I saw it as Mr. Obama making a good point that he said one thing, and is loosing focus on what he said and is now doing the opposite. He says he will handle his campaign one way, but has now fallen victim to old politics and smear campaign's, and ironically now the Mccain camp is trying to say he was making fun of his age...you've got to be kidding me....

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. LA

    Losing one's bearings is clearly a moral jab, not an insult based on age. To imply otherwise is just a foreshadowing of what will come in the fall.

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Deac

    A not so clever way of trying to divert attention away from John McCain's obvious attempt to add the element of 'fear' into the campaign by suggesting Obama is somehow aligned with the radical islam faction. A typical Republican tactic that has been very successful for them in the past. Will it work again??

    May 9, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Myra

    I listened to the interview and honestly I thought Obama was talking about losing his bearing about the straight talk bus or train or whatever it is..No way did i interpreted that in anyway to be about his age. In their eagerness to attack they missed the mark badly and look rather foollish.

    May 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. NDog

    "losing your bearings" dosen't refer to age it refers to being disoriented.

    Mcain is old and since he twice held up the wrong end of the microphone you have to wonder if he is too old for the job. On the other hand maybe that is not so bad considering our current president is too dumb for the job.

    May 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Gabriella

    Of course this is being too far read into. The comment clearly had nothing to do with age. What does age and 'losing his bearing' have to do with one another? The Republicans added something extra b/c they didnt have an intelligent reaction statement in return to Obama.

    May 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19