October 8th, 2008
10:15 AM ET
14 years ago

Age, health questions continue for McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/HEALTH/10/08/ftl.mccain.health/art.ftl.mccain.health.jpg caption="Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and wife Cindy greet supporters Monday in New Mexico."]
(CNN) - Meghan McCain was on the talk-show couch, being grilled by the hosts of "The View." Does it bother her to hear jokes about her father's age? Megan, 23, started chuckling, and allowed, "He IS old!" Tension was replaced by laughter. But that was summer. These days, for Republican Sen. John McCain, age is no laughing matter.

Watch: Is McCain fit to be president?

Age as political issue has become a reality the McCain campaign does indeed have to face. McCain turned 72 in August, which would make him the oldest man to begin a first term as president - three years older than Ronald Reagan.

Clips of McCain making supposed age-related gaffes circulate on the Internet. Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and a supporter of Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, said McCain's age and skin cancer history were fair game as a campaign issue. "We're talking about a reality here that we have to face."

All this skates over the fact that McCain already allowed reporters a peek at eight years worth of health records, dating back to 2000, while Obama has released a one-page summary from his doctor. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said it's a double standard. "The arbiters of this election are not demanding the same level of disclosure about Sen. Obama. He's essentially running on a doctor's note. I had a harder time getting out of high school math class."

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Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. Bill NY

    I just loved the "that one" comment. It was a real Pulp Fiction moment.
    I could picture McCain in that pawn shop saying "I'll take that'un"

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. Christopher, Louisville, KY

    McCain moved around last night like Sophia Patrillo. It all just made me crave some cheesecake out on the lanai.

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. ines

    I noticed 3 things in the debate last night that sent up red flags –

    McCain was out of breath, almost a little wheezing going on

    First thing he did when he walked to his chair was right down a list of things so he wouldn't forget

    His eyelids were fluttering like a hummingbird

    For a candidate proclaiming loudly that he has written the book on town hall meetings, his performance was very very weak and condescending.

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Debbie

    Sorry, but last night McCain looked like a doddering old man. A BITTER, doddering old man. I found this sad, as I had always admired him in the past. He isn't the same man. In 2000 after his treatment at the hands of Bush and Rove, I prayed he'd bolt to the Democratic party. Yes, he's conservative in some areas, but at the time I believed in his wit and integrity. Now, it becomes clearer every day that he's running not to serve his country, but for personal ambition. And his desperation is showing, and resulting in some very bad choices.

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. RHairston

    I agree Ronda, last night was not a good setting for him and only proved even more why he shouldn't be president. He is too old...can't remember...can't speak right...and what the the sam hill is wrong with his arms??? Are they mechanical or something!!!

    Over all it wasn't a "wow" type debate but I have to say that McCain showed so much disrespect. While he spoke and answered his questions...Obama sat in his seat, listened and then responded if necessary. When Obama spoke you could seen McCain at one point behind him walking the floor and the camera actually caught him making a hand signal suggesting that Tom Brokaw cut him off!

    The kicker for me though was his childish tap on Barack's back and basically telling him to shake his wife's hand...who in the heck do he think he is?

    I for one will be so glad when this is over. I just pray Obama continues to stay on path and answer the questions that so many of us just want straight answers to.

    Obama/Biden 08!!

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |

    Geezer said "I would rather lose a campaign than change my mind".

    POOF! Wish granted!

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Lisa P

    I have to say the McCain looked pretty awful last night - downright creepy, in fact. Last spring I would have dismissed concerns about his age and health but the last week or so has me really wondering. It's like he's on sedatives or Valium or something.

    October 8, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Jill American

    'That one' is disrespectful but certainly not racist. C'mon people. Sorry, but at the first debate the first thing I noticed was Obama calling McCain 'John' . So it is both sides.

    It's been a very disrespectful campaign, primary and general, from both sides and I'm quite sick of it.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Sarah C.

    I have been reading stories today that suggest McCain went home last weekend due an incident where he almost collapsed, and had to be caught by an FBI agent. We need to know whether this is true, and whether McCain is currently experiencing any serious health problems. It is a very grave matter, given that we now know his Vice Presidential running mate is not fit to be president. John McCain absolutely must come clean.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Pam

    There was one point during the debate last night when Obama was answering a question and McCain came roaming into the picture. He was wandering aimlessly around the stage! What was that, another "senior moment"? He really looked like he couldn't find his chair.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Annie

    Funny how the Obama campaign have made it an issue but they don't want race discussed. To me inciting fear about someone dieing in office is despicable. Discussing age and health as a weapon against someone is no better than those holding Obama's color of skin against him. Also it was McCain who allowed onlookers to see his actual medical records while Obama produced a one page note from his doctor. Now just who is trying to be secretive about his health? But then of course, there is never the scrutiny for Obama that others are put to. Obama's fact checks here are mostly always true while McCain's are almost always wrong. The bias is so blatant it is almost laughable.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. JD in NC

    The problem isn't his age, it's his agenda.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. nina

    Sen. McCain not only looked old, he looked really angry. If this guy can't even control his temper, anger during a debate...how can he worked on contentious issues with a democratic congress....much less the rest of the world. He looked really cheesed off. And then he called Sen. Obama, "that one." Sheesh!

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Lauren

    Age is most certainly an issue when he's chosen Sarah Palin to be his heartbeat away from one of the most powerful offices in the world.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Karen

    John McCain is old, has had serious cancer four times, and refuses to release his complete medical records. It's scary to think this cranky, out-of-touch, old guy has a slight chance of being elected president, but far scarier that Sarah Palin might be called upon to fill his shoes.

    October 8, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Ed Word

    McCain looks like dead man walking.

    The mud in the baths he's taking is leftover from his campaign strategy.

    Adios, geezer – you time has come and gone long ago.

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. RC

    The Straight Talk TITANIC

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. karen-phoenix

    We are in a global technological world!!! McCain is back in the 1950's and lost–age wise and technologically!! McCain is just tooooo old and toooo grumpy and his judgement throughout his entire life leave a LOT to be disiered!! McCain has very, very poor judgement and disposition!!! I DO NOT want his finger on the "red button". OR do I want Palin's!!!! Palin will blow us up faster than McCain!!!
    God Bless Obama/Biden and our world!!! Peace is Patriotic

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Ohio Independent

    I have to admit that McCain does look old and tired at times. Does this mean that Sarah Palin will expand her duties as VP as she suggest in the debates. America we will be in real trouble. Please vote wisely folks. I have changed my vote for Obama / Biden '08...

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. James Bailey

    McCain looked to me like he had Parkinson's last night. He was visibly shaking at times. Maybe he was just so angry he couldn't control himself. He came across as a bitter, mean, old guy who couldn't string together complete sentences.

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Frank in Deerfield, IL

    McCain could be 27 rather than 72.
    What's aged are his ideas and thought processes how this country operates in today's world.

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. A chicken clucks in Johns yard

    Bounds,you should have stayed in school.You just dont get it do you?

    October 8, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Jan

    I see CNN is now committed to not posting pro-McCain letters. The stakes are too high. I hope college students know that they won't have a job with Obama in power–just continue to bank the handouts..the stock markets are reflecting the poll results. My money will go elsewhere–ie–under the mattress.

    October 8, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. Jane S. Zacek

    I believe McCain's advanced age (for a presidential candidate - this is NOT age-ism - is a huge issue, given the person he selected as his VP running mate. Unfortunately, McCain selected someone whose knowledge of the world outside of Alaska is **very limited**, to put it kindly.

    I believe it was hopelessly irresponsible for McCain to have selected someone with such little experience, knowledge, and sophistication. If it is correct that the first major decision a presidential candidate makes is his/her selection of a VP running mate, then McCain made a very bad mistake, in my judgment.

    J.S. Zacek
    Albany, NY

    October 8, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Baby B

    Yes it is, With Crazy Palin just behind him...It scares us!

    October 8, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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