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

Analysis: Age an issue in the 2008 campaign?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/15/mccain.age/art.mccainreno.ap.jpg caption="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. Jeff in FL

    McCain for president in 1908!!

    June 15, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Dusacre

    We must face the reality: 71 years old is too old for this job unless some one else is doing the job for him behind the scene!

    June 15, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Ardnuas

    It's NOT his age...... it is his 20th century THINKING...... he will have us in a WAR with IRAN within days of him taking office..... We NEED 21st THINKING, McCain is just like George Bush!!!!

    June 15, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  4. Generation X

    PUMA doesn't think anything is wrong with John McCain age.

    PUMA = Poor Uneducated Miserable Adults.

    Memebers: Brian TN, Charlotte, Belle, Staunch Hillary supporter (currently using a different name), Jim PA, Jan FL.

    These members are also blogging under the orders of Rush for OPERATION CHAOS. NOT THIS TIME.

    June 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. MJ

    No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her." SUSAN B. ANTHONY

    June 15, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Obama 08: Female, 60, white

    What needs to be of concern are the constant misspeaks by John McCain and whether his mental abilities are as sharp as is needed to be the president.

    June 15, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Janey for Hillary/McCain

    I do not believe McCain's age is against him. He is way more astute and clever mentally than any of the candidates–also has an endearing sense of humor–not sarcastic and condescending like Obama and his followers. He has not made personal attacks on Obama. This "confusion" attack of Obama and Kerry just sounds plain mean– and belittles them both. For 2 men of supposedly "superior intelligence and savvy", Kerry and Obama simply come across as "desperate" to find a flaw in McCain. They couldn't be more transparent if they tried.

    June 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Barack

    what is wrong with Joe Lieberman. Why is he personally checking John's bearings. I think that is his wife's job.

    June 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Michelle

    Using the word "confused" is a cheap and dirty shot by Obama and his campaign.

    McCain is a candidate of experience and substance and is a very young 71 years old anyway. Newsweek stated that his "real age" is 63.7 years.

    Senator McCain is physically fit and very sharp mentally.

    Buying into the change that Obama talks about is like believing in the tooth fairy. Obama offers empty promises just to get your vote. Don't fall for it.

    Obama has no legislative accomplishments. When asked on MSNBC to name Obama's accomplishments, ardent Obama supporter, Texas State Senator, Watson, could state NONE.
    He was asked several times and couldn't come up with anything!

    Yes–that's zero, zip, nada for the legislative accomplishments of Obama.

    June 15, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Don

    When it's you time, there is nothing any of us can do to change the outcome. He's 71 and in excellent health. McCain has lived his life to the fullest by serving his country and fellow man, he's been through very trying times of both mental and physical challenges, he has witnessed the worst and best in mankind always in a leadership role . . . John McCain is the embodiment of American history.

    The Democrats can only wish they had a candidate with his qualities and once the American public sees past all the "Democrap Mumbo Jumbo", they too will be proud to have John McCain as their President.

    Wake up America . . . if you want change you can believe in, then vote McCain in November.

    June 15, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Jan From Boca Raton, Fla

    Well we have two choices..Someone that is older with alot of experience, loves this country, will fight for the american people.
    Could have lied and said he will bring the troops home in 6 months,
    but instead told the people the truth. Is not Full of "Yes We Can Speechs" he could make it easier for himself and just say what
    he thinks the people want to hear, knowing no one can fulfill all
    the promises that are being made.

    Or, we can someone younger with no experience and has never been proud of our country.

    The choice is now up to us.

    June 15, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    I don't think he is too old to serve as President. I just think we're in need of a young voice from a man who has not been in Washington circles for 40+ years. Bill Clinton was young. It's time for a fresh start! Vote Obama this fall. His ideas and his ability to bring people together and garner respect from our allies around the world outweighs any negatives about his newcomer status.

    June 15, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. charles

    yes big issue granpa is old and his behaviour is showing signs of aging.no disrespect for granpa but l real see him deteriorate everyday.its not looking good at all.

    June 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. George

    yes age matters. He needs rest while America's challenges are mounting. He can not work. He is too old I guess. Its not somemthing personal but he is running for the public office and we have the right to discuss his age.

    June 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    McCain IS TOO OLD TO BE PRESIDENT!!!!!! If his mind is so sharp, why does he need a tele-prompter to remember what he is supposed to say during one of his lying speeches? I mean, come on, how is it that someone can't remember what he wants to say, if he so strongly believes in it? If he is such a great veteran, why does he vote against veterans bills? He is so phony!!! vietnamveteransagainstjohnmccain.com says it all. Those of you who think of McCain as a hero are full of it!!!! The real HEROS were fighting and dying in the jungles of South Vietnam. We didn't get to be under a roof when it rained day in and day out for months. We were tortured every day by water, mosquitoes, fire ants, dissentary, a few hours of sleep every day, boobie traps, pungie stakes etc, not to mention the enemy!!!!! We didn't fly only 20 hours of combat, John. We didn't get 28 medals either!!!!! Of couse 99.9 % of us didn't have a daddy that was an Admiral!!!!! This is why you will never get millions of Vietnam veterans votes. WE KNOW THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT YOU!!!!!!

    June 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. double standard

    Americans retire at 65y, why is McCain not.
    Double standard. He is a bit disoriented.

    June 15, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Obama v McCain

    i dont see why it shouldnt be.. They continue with the attack that Obama is too young and inexpierienced.. I say McCain is too old and set in his ways(to bring about change) BUT..didy ou ever see an old man change his mind on so many things.. usually, as i've stated.. they are set in their ways..i believe him and everything that comes out of his crooked smiled mouth is a farce to SEEM like he's change..yet if elected i think all the barefooted and pregnants should run for the hills!

    June 15, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Brian

    Age is always and issue.

    To Brian, Tennessee, If you like the republicans so much why do you pretend to be democrat??

    June 15, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Brian

    Obama fills sand bags in Iowa while the PUMA's spread hate and lies.

    Get the picture?

    June 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Lily Watters

    Age is an issue. For Barack Hussein Obama. Way too young and not too smart.

    June 15, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. Obama v McCain

    and please sir..get off this whole countdown0since-last-time-Obama-been-to-Iraq-thing...I've never been there either and i still know that IT SUCKS!

    June 15, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. wouter

    McCain is not only too old, he is completely incompetent. It is funny to see how he reaches out to everybody that he let down in all his years in the senate. Every voter should see that this is purely election talk and nobody will gain something from McCain except for the very rich. Every thing will be just more: more poor people, more richer people, more polution, more death from wars, more womed without equal rights, more more more, but not more good.

    June 15, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO

    P.S. I can't believe I actually beat Sharon of Minnesota to a posting, She is usually one of the first ones, spewing her ignorance and hate.

    June 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. Lynn ND

    Age is an issue and so is being totally inappropriate running a campaign ad during the Today Show and the Tribute Meet the Press for Tim Russert this morning. Tacky!

    June 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. Charlotte

    Age use to mean wisdom. This year it means you are too old. This has been the worst year for catagorizing every person into some group or the other. White, black, latino, religion, educated, uneducated, rich, poor, old, young, male, female and then subgroups of those groups. I am so sick of this whole process. When you have news 24/7, I guess it must be filled with something, anything? Everything is hyberbolize by the candidates and the media. This Congress has a lower rating then the President and as McCain said, " that means it is down to employees and relatives." We, the people, don't matter except at election time. Pandering is part of the game. I will write Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November, and for those that say it will be wasted, tell that to the people who wrote in FDR for a third term. He did not seek re-election and won anyway. That is why we now have a two term limit on the Presidency. If we all write her name on our ballots, she can win!

    June 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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