June 15th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
11 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.

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

    We have no room for a bumbling senior at this point in America's history. We have already almost endured an inarticulate fool for the past 8 years, we must regain respect for this country and all it's citizens, McCain is truly out of touch. I believe some of his most formative years, Sen. McCain spent time as a POW, and for that I thank him from the bottom of my heart, but this man wasn't with us as times changed and the 71 years he has lived, it continues to change and he is stuck!

    June 15, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. maurice

    McCain should win this election easy.Obama just talks a good game
    McCain is a war hero.

    June 15, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. lily

    he is not too old but he don't care about the little people he is concerned to be none us president and that all he want.

    June 15, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Denise P Quinton

    Age plays no role in choosing the best qualified leader for our country. However, experience on the other hand outweighs immeasurebly the ability to govern a great nation. Obama has no experience, he is still wet behind the ears and filling sandbags in Illinois will not win over votes, especially with designer jeans on.!

    June 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. The Lady

    Yes he is, yes he is. At 71 you need to be retiring and enjoying life.

    June 15, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Sluggo

    McCain is a true American, and has the experience and wisdom that this country needs.

    June 15, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. pam Eugene OR

    He is older than dirt! It seems all those years have not taught him much.

    June 15, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. D Frank

    This is sick. I wonder what people would think if the Republicans used Race and the fact that Obama's black in the election.

    It now seems OK for some in the Democratic Party to promote sexist (Hillary Clinton's experience) and age (John McCain's experience) discrimination strategies. Bad enough that this was practiced during the Primaries against Clinton and now this.

    I have nothing against Obama but I have an easier time in accepting a person who has many years of Political experience in the Senate to become America’s President even though he is 70+ years than someone who has but 2 years of experience and is in his mid-forties. What has he done within his 2 years there that gives him the right to be given the keys to the Bus (so to speak).

    It seems that every time someone descents or opposes Obama as their choice for President there are accusations of racism. I do not care if Obama is black, the reason why I have difficulty supporting him as an independent is that he has not earned from my perspective the right to become President because of his experience. In 2000 and 2004 I voted for the Democratic candidate because of their experience and Bush is lack of the same.

    If I was to take a chance on a person who in fact has years of military and political experience but not in the Senate or in state government it would be Colin Powell. From my perspective he has the presence and image of an American President and his views are not radical.

    June 15, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Scott of Sydney

    Yes I think John McCain is too old. In an era when the world is changing due to technology and green issues, new thinking is required. Not the old Oil based economy thinking. Also he is tied by the Repubican Platform which he has tried to fix in the past, unsuccessfully.
    As for his mental faculties I do not think that is a big worry. After all you had Ronald Reagan as President.
    As Iraq and the Economy are the things that are going to decide the election I think that this age thing is just an example of how old John McCain's policy thinking is.

    June 15, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Joseph

    Really, McCain is old and it is a serious matter especially when the nation expects him to make right judgement most of the time.

    June 15, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Barack Uda

    It's not really his age, it's his lack of clarity.

    June 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Bob

    John McCain is fighting a losing battle, lost FOR HIM by our current President. And while we are on the subject of failure, WHOEVER wins the election will be overwhelmed and exhausted by current and nascent problems brewing, so much so that....(fill in here) lol

    June 15, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Belle

    That's right CNN; make sure Obama's press is positive (shoveling sand) and McCain's negative (Obama's take on McCain's age). Don't show your bias!!!!

    June 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. ALECO1 -----NOKOMIS,FL

    McCAIN IS WAY WAY TO OLD TO BECOME PRESIDENT.
    WHAT USED TO BE HIS SEX APPEAL IS NOW HIS WATER SPOUT.

    June 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Klippa

    If Hillary Clinton was striving to be the first woman to become president and Barack Obama is striving to be the first African American to become president, why can't John McCain strive to be the first septuagenarian to become president?

    June 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Babajide BB

    Well, I think McCain is too old to be the president of the US. Reason is as follows:
    1. At age 70, you start to have medical issues
    2. when he was addressing the press a while ago, he mistook iraq for iran ( Signs of old age :-))
    3. US needs a change not a continuation of the past government.

    as for Obama, he is young, full of life and has a lot to give and learn as the president of the US.

    Go OBAMA..........

    June 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. The

    YES! Age is an issue

    Obama is too young

    June 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. terry,va

    I'll take experience any day over a snot nose elitist. Most of his following doesn't have any real world experience either. Most probably have never had a job. Therefore they don't know anything about paying taxes or national security issues. These colors don't run. They will if BHO has his way.

    June 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Brad - California

    Age does matter. Mr. McCain, at 71, brings with him 71 year-old priorities and baggage which we cannot afford.

    June 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. NOBAMA

    For me is age is not an issue at all. The character of candidates is a major play! The issues they stands for depends to their character.
    I don't trust to Obama and I can't stand to his bitter Michelle, so I'm voting for the honorable McCain this time.

    June 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Nava-Canada

    Hi Wolf,
    Ofcourse age will be an important issue in this year's Presidential campaign. One who aspires to be the president of USA must be a person who has to be alert 24/7 to lead this great country. from dangers from enemies,who are wide spread now due to last 8 years of misrule and bungling of foreign policy.

    Can McCain at 71 be alert to do this tedious job Most dangerous events happen when Americans are asleep due time change.If you ask people of 70 club, like me will tell you that it is impossible to concentrate on matters that need the utmost attention for than 3 to 4 hours . Yougsters like Obama can do it and the term
    he used ' lost his bearings' suits McCain as I hear the same phrase
    all the times at home. There are ofcourse exceptions like Larry King
    & Jimmy Carter but for a President of the super world power,71 is too
    risky.

    June 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  22. Cynthia Schuler

    If you review the NYC town meeting 6/12, you will see that John McCain forgot what he was talking about, and what the question was, right in the middle of answering it. He did a lot of fumbling around to get out of that! The question was regarding Supreme Court Judges and was at the end of the session.

    June 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. john,IL

    Age is not a problem.
    Experience is the main problem in this election.

    June 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. CB

    McCain's age is only an issue because he seems to not understand what is going on with average people in America. Its not the 1990's, or even 2000. I think his age – combined with his wealth (wife) – makes it impossible for him to really "get" the average person who can't afford health care, who can't afford the gas, who can't afford the war.

    June 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Kenneth M.

    Age is not the issue. He seems vim and vigger. His policy is the issue. Dont let CNN or the other media fool you. If we attack him on age it will back fire. The war, economy, and environment and women rights are the issues.

    June 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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