May 8th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain camp accuses Obama of making age an issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="John McCain's campaign said Barack Obama was hinting the Republican is too old for the Oval Office."](CNN) - John McCain’s campaign accused Barack Obama of making the presumptive Republican nominee’s age an issue after his Thursday remark that the Arizona senator was “losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination.”

"First, 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,” said McCain adviser Mark Salter. “This is typical of the Obama style of campaigning.

“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.”

Earlier on CNN, Obama that McCain's contention that Hamas wants Obama to be president was “offensive, and I think it's disappointing, because John McCain always says ‘I am not going to run that kind of politics.’ And to engage in that kind of smear is unfortunate, particularly because my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his.

“…So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don’t need name calling in this debate.”

Salter said Obama had misinterpreted McCain’s remarks. "The McCain campaign has never suggested that Senator Obama supports Hamas' agenda, but it is more than fair to raise this quote about Senator Obama because it speaks to the policy implications of his judgment."

Linking to Salter’s comments with the title “MCCAIN CAMPAIGN RANT CAN BE FOUND HERE,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail to reporters that Salter had misinterpreted the Illinois senator’s remarks.

“Clearly losing one’s bearings has no relation to age, given this bizarre rant that Mark Salter just sent out,” said Burton. “It’s clear why a candidate offering a third term of George Bush’s disastrous economic policies and failed strategy in Iraq would want to distract and attack, but it’s not the kind of campaign John McCain has promised the American people that he would run.”

soundoff (418 Responses)
  1. Sam

    It won't take much to make Senator McCain show his bad temper that he maintains he doesn't have!

    May 8, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |

    Well it is an issue. Where are your medical records and your pyschological reports. Dude produce that and lets see how well and stable you are and then no one will have to question anything or make anything an issue. Why are you holding out on you medical records, you most certainly have something to hide. No don't start beginning a baby about because everthing counts. What's the matter you don't have anything else in the kitchen sink to throw at Obama so you whine about age well you're old and you know it clap you hands.

    May 8, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  3. tom


    OBAMA 08

    May 8, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. Pamela

    Well I think its a legitimate issue. No disrepect to Reagon but he was filmed many times taking a nap during high level meetings. C'mon...everything slows down at a certain age.

    May 8, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. Al from Portland, OR

    McCain may be losing his bearings and if Obama ever gets some bearings, he may lose them also when he gets old. I hope the nut jobs do not think that is racist. Obama should concentrate on accomplishing some legislation to get us out of the mess the Rs have us in while he is still a senator so he can claim that he actually did something besides being the #1 Monday night quarterback.

    May 8, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. goode

    Yes he is TOO OLD! What's the big deal and fussy about. he should be on retirement now. He is too old for the office of president. This is changing times. Country need someone alert and vibrate.

    May 8, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. FreshAir


    May 8, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Really? Any campaign representing a highly decorated NAVAL officer should have an accurate understanding of the definition for the term bearings. Look it up you spin doctoring liars desperate to inflate an imagined controversy!

    Sen. McCain , though I don't agree with many of your thoughts and ideas, I have a deep respect for your service to this country and your moral decency. Please don't lower yourself to accommodate these types of unscrupulous campaign tactics.

    You are a man of great bearing and dignity. Please run on your own noble merits integrity and let the people and freedom your fought and sacrificed for be the "decider".

    May 8, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  9. Kelan

    Then why do we have words like Military Bearing in our military? I believe that the junior senator from illinois is simply saying that McCaine's principles are out of whack.

    May 8, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  10. Michelle, Baltimore

    Get over it old man...your wife stated yesterday that you would not be going negative in this election. I guess you forgot that you told her that.

    May 8, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  11. Ron R

    Its gonna be 6 months of the same type of baloney Clinton has been giving us only this time it will be coming from McOld...

    May 8, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  12. J El Educado

    The sad reality is that McCain will have little to be critical about when Obama becomes his opponent because Ms. Kitchen Sink Clinton used everything she could get and i still wasn't enough to negate his strength of character and commitment to his message. The Republicans will be grasping at straws very shortly once they have to concentrate on making McCain look as a better president than Obama. And besides, he really is old and has had numerous slips that may b related to a waning mindpower.

    Educated Hispanic for Obama

    May 8, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. xtina

    Obama is waaay too young both in actual age and in a more general way, that is, no experience running anything, no experience overcoming obstacles as a public servant, not many years facing hard challenges in the Senate. He's unproven in character, he's easily influenced by flamboyant, radical mentors such as Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Wm. Ayers.

    Speaking of William Ayers, Obama won't answer questions about this person who bombed the Pentagon.

    Why won't Obama answer the Ayers questions?

    May 8, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. Dusacre

    McCain is old so what? He is ready to claim his experience but hide from his age? Give me a break grandPa!

    May 8, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  15. Andrew

    With all respect, age IS an issue. 72 is too old for that job. And McCain IS showing what is either age or other problems. He has had a distinguished past. That doesn't mean he can hold up under this demanding a job for the next FOUR years.

    May 8, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  16. MD in OK

    The statement Obama made has absolutely nothing to do with age. The republicans just need to find issue with him. But I think his age should be an issue. How many companies (besides Walmart) are willing to hire someone in their 70's? Now ask yourself why not?

    May 8, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Chris M.

    Come on, this is something that many people say about the elderly. Why is it suddenly so bad when Obama says it ONCE?

    I think he misunderstood the statement as well.

    May 8, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  18. Michael Gregory, South Hadley, MA

    Be prepared for all sorts of crazy and bizarre insinuations as we go forward with the election process. John McCain IS an old man by anyone's standards. This is not an opinion or a slight this is a fact.

    Another fact, George Bush and company will when they leave office leave America in the worst condition that it has ever been in history. Our world is falling down around us, we do not need politics as usual, we need drastic, meaningful, focused and peaceful change.

    McCain is but another (older) George Bush, we definitely DO NOT need another non-leader like George Bush! We do not need more war. The time is now, it is long overdue, we must embrace new directions and solutions, otherwise it's just more of the past eight years.

    America and the world needs a new approach if we are going to right ourselves. It is important that we elect Barack Obama, not just because he is a young man, but because he is a young, creative, unique and fertile thinker. Let's not settle for less.

    May 8, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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