June 15th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
7 years ago

Analysis: Age an issue in the 2008 campaign?

Sen. John McCain, 71, has said his age is not a factor in the presidential race.
Sen. John McCain, 71, has said his age is not a factor in the presidential race.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Is Sen. John McCain too old to be president?

Listen to some Democrats, and you'll think the 71-year-old Arizona senator is a man lost in a perpetual fog. He is "confused" and has "lost his bearings" or is "out of touch."

Listen to the McCain campaign, and you'll be convinced that Democrats are using those terms to exploit concerns that the presumptive Republican nominee is too old to effectively serve as president.

For his part, McCain tends to answer questions about his age with quips such as, "I'm older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein, but I've learned a few things along the way."

The first salvo of the general election's age war may have been launched in May, when Sen. Barack Obama argued in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that McCain had "lost his bearings" while pursuing the Republican nomination.

Full story


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Rave

    Age may not be an issue.. But mental health is definitely an issue and that is McCain's biggest problem.
    He thinks that becoming a President is mainly to wage more wars and keep the American troops in some deserts, while his friends and lobbyists get contracts to suck off our tax dollars.
    This guy's brain needs to go to a Body Shop. Lot of dents in it.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    June 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. multitaskin

    AGE SHOULDNT BE ALLOWED TO BE EVEN MENTIONED IN THIS RACE IF MCMCAIN WERE 100 YEARS OLD. BLACKNESS, JEWISHNESS, MUSLIMNESS, INEXPERIENCEDNESS, RACISTNESS, DUMBNESS, RELIGIOUSNESS, OPRESSEDNESS, NOR ANY OTHER FACTOR CAN BE MENTIONED SO WHY DO THESE AGE BOGOTS GET THEIR SAY. ITS NO MORE LEGITIMATE AN ISSUE THAN G-DING AMERICA. RIGHT? BESIDES IF I WANT TO KNOW HOW TO RUN THE ONLY SUPERPOWER ON EARTH IM NOT GONNA ASK A PAIGE IN THE LEGISLATURE. IM GONNA SEEK OUT A BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT OLD GEEK THAT JUST MIGHT HAVE SOME TIME UNDER HIS BELT, NOT JUST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND STAR STRUCK GROUPIES BEHIND HIM. GO FIGURE..... GOD HELP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Georg

    No he is not too old. Obama on the other hand is not too young but he is too naive.

    June 15, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. Buddy

    He's not to old. He is a true American. Mosses was 125 years old when he turned his power to Joshua who was 85. Wisdom is a great thing to have. If McCain is so old why is Obama afraid to debate with him?

    June 15, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    My concerns: McCain has Lieberman whispering in his ear about who is fighting to who in Iraq – more than once. McCain got the number of troops before and after the surge wrong: then turned nasty when corrected. Why is he the only Vietnam Vet in Congress who supports the war?

    He should have won in 2000. The US would be rebuilding Afghanistan and have not invaded Iraq for oil and Daddy. Didn't happen.

    His experience is based on the past and the future is coming at very rapid rate: The older we grow, the more we depend on the past to make decisions and if you are cranky, unwilling to listen – even to economists when you brag about how little you know ... your time has past.

    June 15, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Chris

    I'm a Democrat, and I really think the age thing is not as big of a deal as everyone's making it out to be. On a semi-related note, I wish there was a better joke for comedians to make about McCain than "He's SOOO old!" To me, McCain's temper is riper for satire than his age. Similarly, his temper is more of a reason not to vote for him than his age.

    June 15, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. AMW

    If McCain cannot remember the Clayton Williams comment, he has a memory problem. The whole world heard it. Ann Richards (rest her soul)had him beat anyway. Clayton Williams iced his on cake-what a looser. Typical chauvanistic Repugnant.

    June 15, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. SHOCKED AND DISSAPOINTED

    In a country where we are sooooooooooooo committed to abolishing racism, sexism, and AGISM, why is it all of a sudden pollitically correct to criticize McCain for his age? He has clearly shown his competance over and over again. The only reason this question is being raised is because the liberal media is grasping at straws to elevate Barak Obama–even at the expense of perpetuating and condoning agism.

    June 15, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Sharon R.

    John McCain is too old! It is time for change... John McCain is old school. We don't need 100 more years of the war. He's shell shocked. This is a new generation of young people and we need someone who can relate to them after all it is about the future.

    Go Obama! Bye McCain.....

    June 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Ernest

    Senator McBush, you are nothing but an old dog, and you do not teach old dogs new (change) tricks. Senator Mcbush will be 100 years by November.

    June 15, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Dave in Canada

    The last thing the country needs is a hot-headed warmonger in office. After all, you are not electing a pope.

    June 15, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. cheryl

    age would be and issue because come on. to be president requires a lot of enery which i am sure mc cain does not have, he should find something in his league. he will be too old to keep up with all his promises. change will be what we need because we are tired of old ways of approaching things, a foundation has already been set so why not branch out into something different or create something different.

    June 15, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. johnny

    This may be a problem. Granddaddy McCain still has the flame to
    burn !

    June 15, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. srw

    If McCain is able to make the case that Obama is too young without any criticism, why should Obama take heat for saying that McCain is too old to handle the stresses of office?

    That said, I do not think Obama was referencing McCain's age at all in those comments. Its a noted fact that McCain has consistently misspoken, even on foreign policy issues, supposedly his forte. And he certainly has placed himself on the wrong side of most of the issues according to a majority of Americans. Lost his bearings is an understatement, and it has nothing to do with age.

    June 15, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. LT for Obama

    Age only matters if it affects his judgement. So far he seems to not be able to remember things he has said in the recent past so if that is because of his age, then yes, his age is a factor.

    June 15, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Marie

    McCain's age is certainly not an issue. Age is experience.

    Is Obama shoveling for votes? Did he have his smoke before or after? What a photo op....

    June 15, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Charles

    It shouldn't be an issue, but the truth is he's 72 in a country where the folks aren't expected to live past 77. He's at risk for cancer and has shown a sign or two of being unable to separate various facts. I think McCain is good man who honestly feels he's capable of doing the job, but at some point we are all just too old to do what we could do when we were younger.

    June 15, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Bobby

    BO's life's main achievement in Public service is the that he magically transformed FOUR WHOLE BLOCKS in the South Side of Chicago. What has McCain in his 72 years done that can compare with this noble achievment?

    I know, I know, the Obama Kool-aid drinkers will point to the effective campaign he ran as an outsider, coming from nowhere to win the nomination (with NO help from Party insiders like Kennedy and Peolsi).

    Didn't Dubya also run effective campaigns in 2000 and 2004? Running effective campaigns shore made Dubya a fine President.

    June 15, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. JP

    Age is certainly an issue in this election. Obama's lack of experience and character should be considered. Barack is an excellent campaigner but, has not accomplished anything of note. Anyone can promise – but promises have to be paid for. The confiscation of others wealth to buy votes is all that Obama can bring to the table. He hasn't held a real job, he hasn't produced or built anything, but he sure can talk.... Kinda like a used car saleman – no disrespect against the honest car saleman out there. Young Obama is not gonna take the money that I worked hard for and give it to someone that did not work for it – they can get up off their butt and go to work every morning just like I do.

    June 15, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    I think accusing people of age discrimination for saying McCain has lost his bearings, is confused and out of touch, is a manufactured issue. When Obama said McCain had lost his bearings I thought he was referring to MCain having changed his position on so many issues. He used to be perceived as an independent thinker, and is now toeing the Republican party line. You can choose to perceive things however you want. You can certainly be confused, out of touch, and lose your bearings without being old. If you think that is what was being said, it is only because you choose to interpret it that way. It has nothing to do with what was actually meant by the person making the comment.

    June 15, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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