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.

Full story


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Beatriz Perez-Sanchez

    Although I am completely opposed to Senator McCain's politics, I believe it would be a serious mistake for anyone in the Obama campaign to attack John McCain on the basis of his age or even to imply that he is 'too old' to be elected President. Ageism is every bit as offensive as racism. If Senator Obama does focus on McCain's age, he risks a backlash that could very well cost him the election. Obama desperately needs to reach out to senior citizens (people over 65), a group that supported Hillary Clinton in virtually every primary. So far, Obama has taken the high road and has avoided sexist remarks with regard to Clinton and overtly ageist remarks about McCain. Both Obama and McCain need to stick to the real issues. Neither age nor race have any place in this campaign.

    June 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. charles warren

    What more can be said about john McCain? lets see he had the generator watch when god said let there be light? first mate on noah's arch?and oh yes older than dirt. off had really old wise? senile?to old?by most standards a most definitely YES!

    June 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. BROOKLYN

    Age or RACE are NOT an issue, nor should they be...

    June 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. GT in CA

    I don't think McCain's age has anything to do with it. The choice boils down to 4 more years of Bush's failed policies or 8 years of change. Based on the current economic, foreign policy, military, social, national debt, U.S. image around the world, etc. conditions, I'm voting for change!

    Let's see how many Republicans change their party affiliation over the next year or two...

    June 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. The Truth Hurts

    Here's some interesting stuff. McCain is contradicting himself to get votes.

    Here McCain is disrepecting his own wife:

    "Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, ————————""""""""Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c-u-nt.""""""""" ———————McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days."

    LINK: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/McCain_temper_boiled_over_in_92_0407.html

    Here's McCain calling Chelsea Clinton ugly and saying Janet Reno looks like Bill Clinton(a man):

    "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
    Because her father is Janet Reno."

    LINK: http://www.jedreport.com/2008/06/john-bush-mccai.html

    POST THIS CNN! PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH! IT'S YOUR DUTY TO GIVE OUT THE TRUTH! STOP DENYING THE PEOPLE THEIR RIGHT TO KNOW!

    June 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. The Truth Hurts

    Here's some interesting stuff. McCain is contradicting himself to get votes.

    Here McCain is disrepecting his own wife:

    "Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, ————————""""""""Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c-u-nt.""""""""" ———————McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days."

    LINK: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/McCain_temper_boiled_over_in_92_0407.html

    Here's McCain calling Chelsea Clinton ugly and saying Janet Reno looks like Bill Clinton(a man):

    "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
    Because her father is Janet Reno."

    LINK: http://www.jedreport.com/2008/06/john-bush-mccai.html

    PLEASE POST THIS CNN. PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH. IT'S YOUR DUTY TO GIVE OUT THE TRUTH. STOP DENYING THE PEOPLE THEIR RIGHT TO KNOW.

    June 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. charles warren

    What more can be said about john McCain? lets see he had the generator watch when god said let there be light? first mate on noah's arch?and oh yes older than dirt. off hand really old wise? senile?to old?by most standards a most definitely YES! to old to cut the mustard

    June 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. GERALD STROTHER

    GO OBAMA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. NoMccain

    He'd better pick a suitable VP. In many ways, I think his VP nominee is much more difficult than Obama's.

    Now... HURRY UP AND CHOOSE!!

    June 15, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. truth now

    Maybe the media should fall out of love with McCain and start reporting what he says instead of what he wanted to say. Maybe then the American people would be able to see how this man's brain works. He continually makes mistatements, like vetoing beer and the media cleans it up for him. Let him speak for himself his age is an issue.

    June 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. YES WE WILL

    John McCain is too old to run for President's. He is past the age that a government job could hire him.

    John McCain has a mean temper and he appears to be mad all of the time. His smiles are so fake.

    John McCain has to have people correct him all of the time. He also appears to be confussed most of the time.

    I'm a 60 yr old w/female Republican voting for Barack Obama.

    June 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. After further review,Texas.

    Our real concern should be who he picks for Vice President.With the powers now given to the VP thanks to Cheney.The VP it seems has more power now than the president.After all, who was in the bunker while the other was reading "My Pet Goat"?They have to play the VP card and soon for the McCain and the repukes to get any votes.

    June 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Alfredo

    McCain need to join Bob Dole, and make commercial for Viagra, it is his future,because really hi lost all his bearings. Hi is a war criminal.

    June 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. ALECO1 -----NOKOMIS,FL

    BREAKING NEWS-–TURN COAT JOE LIEBERMAN TO BE McCAIN'S RUNNING MATE.--NOW WE KNOW FOR SURE OBAMA WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT.

    June 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. martin

    well.for crying out loud ,he cant answer a single question or make a speech,or open his mouth ,without saying something dumb.if he threatens to veto beer ,again,i'm gonna kick his butt,then they'll make me president.

    June 15, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. fred

    If McCain starts to exhibit old age problems while in office it won't be easy to remove him once he is there.

    June 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Juan Grain

    I wished it was not an issue, but the Office of the president has more stress on it than one can imagine. John McCain has already been stressed out with Vietnam, his first wife, the senate and two runs for the president, and it has all taken it's toll, he really should just retire and enjoy his cookouts while he can.

    June 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. rita walker

    Yes he is much too old to be president.

    June 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. carolyn

    C'mon CNN, here you go again, creating issues where there isn't any. I was watching your interview when Obama first said McCain had lost his bearings. I did not interpret that he was talking about age at all. He was referring to his 'misspeak' about yet another issue. It is unfair of you to simplify the subject of age to chronology. All 72 year olds are not senile. McCain makes mistakes seemingly based on lack of preparation and knowledge about a vast array of subjects from the economy to the war. And then he has what seems to be 'lapses'. I have wondered if this might be caused by injuries he sustained both physically and psychologically during his capture and/or because of medications he takes for cancer and other health issues. In any case, I think he needs to take it easy and do someting other than occupy the oval office.

    June 15, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Honestly

    Age? No!

    Stupidity? Yes!

    McCain's vision for this country is rooted in denial and ignorance!

    June 15, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. David Peter

    I wouldn't want my 72 year old grandfather running this country! I love him, but he is old and senile and he is dying, just like McBush. Besides, young folks are angry and they want blood. It's time for change.

    June 15, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Tony, Miami

    He is too old just watch the way he talk or move his arms. I even see his wife helping him down the stairs when he invited Charlie Chris and others for a barbecue.

    June 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Arnold

    i cannot vote, but leaning towards the DEMS, but age is no issue here... if age is an issue you have to ask Mr. McCain....

    regards

    June 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. BILLY

    Senator McCain is to old for the office, We need a change in
    Washington.

    June 15, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Mike Lorain, OH

    Though I'm an Obama supporter, I'm on the fence about this. If the roles were reversed, (Dems had the older nominee) the GOP attack machine would have no problem making age an issue. And as the article suggests, if history is any guide it does help win elections. Age by itself should not be made an issue for any job, whether for president or a janitorial custodian. McCain's choice for VP could largely make or break his chances of winning depending on how moderate his choice is. I think the arch-conservative choice would lose more votes than a moderate choice.

    June 15, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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