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. Steve

    Yes, he is to old to to be President. he cannot even remember to show 40% of the time for Senate votes in the 110th Congress. His Not Voting totals as of several days ago is 60.8 % for the past 18 month. By the time the 110th Congress end it probably will be around 75%.

    June 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Nick

    The guy is way to old to be president, and many of his colleagues consider him somewhat 'mentally unstable'... now combine the two.

    June 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. mary

    yes, i tink McCain is to old. Barack Obama needs be our presdient. Go Barack.

    June 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. John G

    I am in shock. That this is even an issue is disgraceful.

    If you want to attack a man attack his policies and stances not his age. If someone said that Barack Obama is too "black" to be President it would be racism. If someone said Barack Obama was too "Muslim" to be President it would be "the politics of fear".

    To say that John McCain is too "old" to be President is ageism. It is discriminatory and bigoted. If Obama has any sense of respect or honor he should immediately denounce any statement attacking Senator McCain's age and ask that his supporters focus on the real issues.

    Too bad CNN won't post this one since it doesn't make it look like everyone loves Obama.

    June 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    Age in not an issue.... an economic and foreign policy that promises to be 4 more years of the same is THE issue.

    June 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. R. Douglas

    Yes, I'm 75, and I know about how McCain feels at 71. I do truly believe he should step aside and enjoy what life here on earth he has left. The situation our world is in at the present time, will take a younger President to handle the affairs of such a position.
    I don't want my comment to be mis-construed, but a fact is a fact. As we grow older, one must prepare themselves for that very reason, and come to realize when it's time to step down. Whoever gets elected, my prayers are with them. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY !!

    June 15, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. MurphyMorseJohnson

    Age in and of itself is not an issue. But in McCain's older Republican ways, it may be the reason he is so out of touch. The old Republican way helps the rich get richer and the buying power of the poor get poorer. Look at our Republican economy—higher priced gas and energy, escalating mortgages, escalating food prices, less regulation over health and safety, joblessness instead of jobs, health bills instead of health, and global warming. McCain will support the indefinite spending of trillions more in Iraq and adding to countless lives lost—the essence of our economic mess. Perhaps, it is not only McCain’s old ways but also that he married money that makes him so out of touch.

    For the good of America, we will vote Democrat, Democrat, and MORE DEMOCRAT !!!

    June 15, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. kaydee, nashville

    For me, Sen. McCain's age is very relevant. It's one thing to be a smart man and "sharp for his age" at 71, but it's another set of standards to be smart enough & sharp enough to lead the United States of America. The President has to at the top of his game, especially in light of the terrible mess the Bush administration will be leaving us in. I want a smart, sharp, innovative, energetic leader to dig us out of the worst hole this country has been in since the Great Depression. It will take that kind of leader.

    June 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. bob in LA

    A 90 year old can be an attorney or an accountant or possibly a Senator, but PResident?
    This is the most crueling job on earth and as we get older, that pressure is too much for older people to be 100% effiective.
    Sensator McCain should stay in the Senate, maybe be a cabinet member but not President- he is too old.

    June 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. DJ, Los Angeles

    The "lost his bearings" comment was simply a rebuttal to a cheap shot by McCain. It really had nothing to do with age. If you want to interpret that as a Freudian slip than so be it.

    June 15, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. rachel

    Ageism is alive and well. Honestly this guy is scary he just doesn't have it all. I wish Hillary had got t he nod she would have had a field day with him no matter where he wanted to debate she wouldn't care aobut getting booed as long as she got her point across. Case in point after the media accused her of downplaying martin luther king jr's importance to civil rights she still kept her engament at an event honoring him. I wish obama would just go ahead and debate Mccain and not be afraid of who is in the audience or what questions will be asked. He can't control everything and I think thats where is problem is. McCain is scary but Obama just doesnt have my vote yet.

    June 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. David O

    Would you elect your grandpa President?

    We need to turn the reigns of this nation into the visionary hands of youthful and fresh leadership, not old custodiansof an acient way of life.

    June 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Drew, Central FL

    The man is a cold war relic with an anger problem. His age is just another impediment. Mostly, because you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The majority of Americans "see" the current tricks for what they are...flip-flopping.

    Check out the McCainpedia
    AFL-CIO website

    for all your McCain info. It's surprisingly accurate.

    June 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. LaShanda

    I can care less about McCain's age. The bottom line is: his economic plan only favors the wealthy! If you are making less than $300,000 you are SCREWED!!!!!!! I am also disturbed by his comments on Iraq. He must be "losing his bearings" if he is comparing Iraq to Germany and South Korea. Our troops are SAFE in those countries. Forget age. Think with your pocketbooks! American cannot LITERALLY afford John McCain.

    June 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    he's OLD.... too OLD to be president

    June 15, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. Generation X

    Where are you Brian TN, Charlotte, Belle, Jim PA, Jan Fl and Karen Fl; these individuals are members of PUMA (Poor Uneducated Miserable Adults) and Operation Chaos? NOT THIS TIME. We the people are taking our country back.

    June 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    If some can say that Obama is too young and inexperienced, than I can say that McCain is too old and out of touch.

    June 15, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Isaac

    Just to be fair, some of the most powerful Democrats in Congress are just as old or even older than McCain. Sure, their powers are not nearly as great as those of the president, but they do control national and international policy of the US in pretty significant ways. Why isn't anybody telling them to move aside and let younger (and I should say smarter) people have a go at it?

    June 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Bill From Florida

    Well we have two choices

    1. One older experienced nominee, loves his country and will not lie
    to the american people for political gain.


    2. Young with no experience, has never been proud of our country,
    lies to the american people knowing he cannot fulfill his promises.


    June 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. McCain is losing his bearings again

    Age should not be an issue but senility should be.

    Is McCain senile? That is the question.

    June 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Mark Webb

    NO WAY!

    June 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Ken

    CNN you really need to get off of this. WHO CARES! I am a democrat and supporting Obama. Hands down, no question. (by the way if it was Hillary, I would of supported her too)


    McCain has every right to run, and seems to have plenty of energy to keep up. His ridiculous policies are what you need to be talking about, so American understands that he really is a Bush 3rd term. C'mon CNN, your stooping to Fox News like journalism here .

    June 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. ml

    one is too young and one is too old... she was just right

    June 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |

    Age might be an issue, but I think Senator McCain is going to need a viable VP to get his campaign up and running. If he does not pick a very good VP, Obama will win this hands down....

    June 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. georgie

    wow, how fast we all forget the mistakes Nobama has made.... One about people in Pa. Mrs nobama and being proud of her country..Now wait, that was just taken out of context.... the church he attended for 20 some years...all his wonderful ties... You can't overlook ones and not the other. All you nobama kool-aid drinkers should open your eyes. This man might not be able to do things due to injuries he got while he was a POW for years. Was that aroung the time that bo attended his prep school? He has done things for our Country his whole life. What about bo? What has he done for our country? Too old to be President? I don't think so. Maybe the next headline should be "Obama...inexperienced to be President!"

    June 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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