June 15th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
12 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. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Not only is John McCain too old, he showing signs of old people's disease; forgetful, can't hear, can't see, cursing; short tempered, brittle bones that make him stiff as a board; disoriented; completely out of touch; narrow vision and narrow minded, health problems that we don't know about, which means the list could go on. Republicans ought to be ashame of themselves having this old man as their choice. JOHN MCCAIN IS TOO OLD THAT THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF WOULDN'T HIRE HIM FOR A JOB OR ANY OTHER COMPANY.

    June 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. jerry

    CNN has forgot to comment on the 57 states- 10000 killed in Greensburg Ks storm. McCain says something wrong and the make a big deal out of it, just as they did Hilary

    June 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Venus

    He's not too old... his ideals are too old!

    Let's face it... this is 2008 and counting!

    June 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Joyce in Florida

    He is too old to run for President.

    June 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. sarah

    Anyone who votes for McCain should take who he picks as his VP into strong consideration – he's 71 now, and he'll be 76 by the end of his first term.

    we need someone with enough energy to make real changes instead of keeping the country on the same path.

    June 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Arizona

    To those of you who say: "McCain in 2008 – Clinton in 2012.
    Has it occured to you that McCain won't last 4 years, and then his VP will have the inside track in 2012 – and by then forget your rights.

    June 15, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. BJ

    Too old, too young?

    It's not a question of age... it's a question of judgement, experience and credentials. Obama has no track record other than saying "he was against the war". He was not even in the Senate then, and could not vote on it! Once more, just words!!!

    June 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. gk

    When we have the choice to elect someone younger, more global in his thinking, more humane, more inspiring – why should we settle for someone older who unfortunately remains stuck in his worldview? Look at Sen Obama – he is out there helping build sandbanks for flood waters! He is strong and able and brilliant too. Age can be a positive when the person is truly wise and surrounds himself with wise people. Sen McCain chooses to surround himself with Sen Lieberman, Bill Kristol and promises to continue Bush's failed policies. he promises a clean smear free campaign but at every possible opportunity, he cannot resist a jab. We are tired of this negative way of operating, tired of the US viewed as a bully, as a muscular giant. We want the world to know that Americans are caring, generous, kind hearted folks.

    June 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Mac in Nova Scotia

    I am 3 years older than McCain
    Spent the same amount of time (23) years in the US Military
    Served in Viet Nam (69-70)
    I don't feel qualified to be Commander in Chief
    I don't think a man my age can handle the pressure of the Presidency.
    I don't think McCain can handle it either.

    June 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Blayze Kohime

    I have no problem with him being 72 years old as I have known people that were mentally clear and physically mobile up into their 90s. I do have a problem with him having a temper and constantly getting basic facts wrong. Combine those two things and you have someone rushing into war for the wrong reasons... again.

    June 15, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Concerned Citizen of America

    I don't want to see a McCain presidency and it has absolutely nothing to do with his age. Candidates misspeak quite often when they are out on the campaign trail. McCain with Lieberman standing behind him is creepy and makes me very afraid of what will happen if McCain is elected, not to mention that he wants to pack the Supreme court and continue on this path of destructive economic policies.

    June 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. virginia nielsen

    McBomb age wouldn't be an issue if we didn't have all those problems to be solved in the future... we need a young , intelligent, healthy with a lot of energy to take care of us!!! Go OBAMA !!!

    June 15, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Terry, Butte, Mt

    Let me try this again. Why do you censor me telling the other side:

    When McCain said It is common knowledge that Iran was training al queada and sending them back into Iraq and even repeated this even after Sen. Lieberman personally corrected him in the middle of an interview can only be described as being 'confused' – age has nothing to do with it.

    When McCain says that keeping our troops in Iraq for 100 years would be alright with him, even though the Iraqi leadership and the American people have stated many times that it is NOT alright with them, can only show that he is 'out of touch' in Iraq. – age has nothing to do with it.

    When McCain opposed legislation that would increase benefits and the New GI Bill to help our servicemen when they get out of the service and at the same time supporting torture tecniques that may but our servicemen at greater risk in this and future wars, but supported our troops with good common sense only a few years ago shows that once his bering were with the troops but now has drifted far right. This shows that he has 'lost his berings' he once had for the military. – age has nothing to do with it.

    Age is not the issue, his current policy decisions are.

    June 15, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Mean Temper

    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""'
    McCain mean temper? America you are truly showing your mean spirit and the ugly side of you. Instead lifting up people to run for president with so many worries facing you. What do you do knock them dowm. Shame on you !!!

    June 15, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Beverly Williams

    The person who will be president is the person who gathers the most support, whatever his/her age. Age should no more be a factor than race, gender or religious preference. Vote for the person whose stand on the issues agrees with yours.

    June 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Party unity

    It will be if the media wants it to be. Since the question is asked it seems as if this is the direction we are going. I feel bad for McCain and everyone else in their 70's because the media is telling you are to old to do anything. That you are washed up. It is pathetic. They don't want to talk about issues or question Obama in any way so they have to tear people down. Just look at what they did to Hillary Clinton. The turned her into the biggest racist of our generation when nothing was further from the truth. Watch out McCain. Maybe someone needs to swiftboat the American Media. Then we would have "change."

    June 15, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. MattH

    Age should have nothing to do with it.

    June 15, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Nevada

    For the record: I am a registered Republican; white, 59-year-old retired female.

    Listening to McCain's inability to make intelligible statements over the past several months (whether in town halls, speeches, or interviews) and his changing positions on the issues in many cases, I have become very concerned about his capability of running our country. He does sound confused and definitely out-of-touch with the American people. . . especially our young people fighting in this needless Iraq occupation. It could be his problem is age...or he could just be a very scary candidate to be considered for the presidency. I'll be crossing party lines this year and voting other than McCain.

    June 15, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Doubting Thomas

    Unfortunately his age and health are an issue. Not as large an issue as his unfaltering support of Bush policies but an issue still the same. In addition to his advanced age, his risk of melanoma recurrence and possible metastasis is depressingly high. Those who point to the great importance of his vice president choice are correct. This is one of the first times the idea of the vp being a heartbeat away from the presidency is startingly true. Leave the politics aside for a moment and believe that even IF he wase easily the best candidate, there is a decent chance that his VP not him would serve out the term.

    June 15, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    Seriously. Let's get off this non-issue and discuss things that really matter. On the issues Obama wins.

    June 15, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Chris, Antioch, CA

    It's the hardest, most stressful job in the world. Do you really think it's a good idea to put in someone so old and with such a violent temper? It's the temper that I'm more worried about.

    I think if you took both candidates and performed personality diagnoses, there'd be no question who's fitter for the office.

    June 15, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Danny, CA

    Experience comes with age. Barack Obama should be your student and learn from you. He has a big mouth and a total joke. CNN does not like to know these facts and therefore they moderate/delete these facts. I will watch if they are published here.

    June 15, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. DP, Fullerton, CA

    If age is reallly an issue, then both nominees are having the same issues. Do you really think age 46 is suitable for presidency of the United States while the rest of world leaders are essentially at least over 50? Don't you think that the older world leaders will under estimate the US president that is still green?

    Ok, you might want to say that age 46 is fine, the most important is the capabilities, not age. Then the same thing applies to McCain. Age doesn't really matter, the most important thing is the capabilities.

    In fact, there are many in the world that old leader often are more respected than the younger one. Look at China, the real leader is still Deng Xia Ping who is already more than 90. Look at Iran, the real leader is Ayatolla Ali Khamenei who is already more than 80. In ex-Soviet Union, most of the leaders are very old. People brains are different. Some older brains are more wise and more experienced. Not all older brains are senile. Smart people brains usually tend to not easily become senile.

    CNN, if you don't publish this simple comment, take this opinion for you.

    June 15, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Informed voter from florida

    First, Obama's campaign played the race card and then "sexism" came into play. Now they are hammering on his Opponents AGE! Remember this senior citizens. Any woman or senior citizen who votes for Obama is the one "out of touch".

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

    McCain is a phony.

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