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May 15th, 2008
10:20 AM ET

McCain: Too old for the White House?

Editor's note: Will age be an issue in November? If John McCain wins, he would be the oldest person in the nation's history elected to a first term in the White House. We explore all the angles, tonight at 10 ET

Gary Tuchman
360° Correspondent

Is it fair for John McCain's age to be an issue in this presidential race? Is John McCain too old to be president? These are touchy issues and thorny questions, but we decided to tackle it in a story because it is indeed being prominently discussed.

If McCain wins the general election, he will be the oldest man ever elected to a first term. We spent a day with Senator McCain in Washington State. He paid an environmental visit to a wildlife habitat and led a panel discussion on climate change and global warning.

As part of his visit, he donned his sneakers and a baseball cap and took a short hike in the woods. He certainly dressed like someone a lot younger than 72. But I think even he would admit that for the most part he does looks his age. A poll this week by the Washington Post and ABC News indicates that almost four out of ten Americans say they would be uncomfortable with a 72 year old being president.

So is McCain sensitive about this?
On the contrary. While hiking with him, I asked him if his age is a fair issue. He says it is. And he laughed about it too. You will have to tune in tonight to hear what else he had to say, but it's fair to say John McCain is using humor as a defense against the accusation that he is too old.

And we shouldn't be surprised he continues to try to be wry and sardonic about this, because this is the same man who called a New Hampshire high school student "a little jerk" when the student asked McCain if he was worried he might die in office.

Just last week, Barack Obama said McCain might be losing his "bearings." Obama denies that comment had anything to do with McCain's age. Some of McCain's people aren't so sure about the denial. Either way, this issue has legs. Spry, youthful legs at that.

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TIME’s Michael Scherer and Alice Park write about John McCain’s bout with skin cancer and other medical ailments in "How Healthy Is John McCain?"  READ IT HERE


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. kalty

    YES TOO OLD.america need someone smart guy like OBAMA.YES thats our president. america thinks deep

    May 19, 2008 at 5:18 am |
  2. Jim Buchheit

    He might not make it to the election forget about a full term with out stem cell injections

    May 17, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  3. Marvin

    I am a ww2 vet. I was only 18 when I enlisted. Back then people had a different set of values. President John Kennedy stated; Do not ask what can my country do for me but what can I do for my country. I beleive Mccain has those same values. Unfortunatly everyone has their hand out today. God bless America.

    May 17, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  4. Rhonda Davis

    Mccain's age does matter. his is short on his temper and set in his ways which worries me. this became clearer to me yesterday- while he was attempting to answer a reporters questions on his bus ride, after his vision speech. very short with them and did not answer their questions...too bad.

    May 17, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  5. Rhonda Davis

    age does matter. his is short on his temper and set in his ways which worries men. this become clearer to me yesterday while he was attempting to answer reporters questions on his buss ride, after his vision speech. very short with them and did not answer their question...too bad.

    May 17, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  6. MARTINEZ

    THIS IS NOT FAR MC CAIN IS NOTHING BUT AN OLD MAN TO ISSUE IN THIS PRESIDENCAIL RACE .HE IS TOO OLD I THINK HE SHOULD BE THINKING OF DEATH NOW HOW I WISH HE LOSE THIS OLD GURS GOES TO THE RANGE.

    May 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  7. Yean

    yes, he is toooo.. old for the White House.If you notice what is talking about ,he start forgeting things ,flip floping ideas.First of all, it is very unlikely to win in Novemeber and enter the White House. The time when invited by George Bushhh was and will be his last time to enter the WH.

    go Obama or clinton

    May 17, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  8. Ron Briggs

    WHY does AC need to kiss up to McCain by ending the segment on McCain's age issue with this little bone–"He could out-hike me".

    WHY does AC need to add his opinion, especially one that is so blatantly manufactured?? WHY can't the issue of McCain's age stand as an open question?? WHY does CNN need to become like Fox??

    I'm becoming increasingly disappointed by AC's and CNN's objectivity. AC needs to regain the journalistic integrity he started with and keep his opinions to himself.

    May 17, 2008 at 2:35 am |
  9. mario ojeda

    Physical age may not be an impediment by itself. Ariel Sharon is pretty old but he was a wise man up to the last day of his service in Israel goverment. Mental age is another issue: When Mc Cain or president Bush talk about appeasement they forget that Sunni insurgents (or "terrorist" or "dead enders") are responsible for most of our military casualties and now we are calling them Sons of Irak and we are paying them and arming them with american taxpaying money . In the last two months we had intense fights against shiites militias in Basra and Sadr City and now we have a truce. My son was injured in one of this battles but I'm glad that hostilities have come to a halt, mainly for the soldiers that are still there. Please Mr Mc Cain: don't play politics with the lives of ours sons. You were ( not anymore) one of them.

    May 17, 2008 at 2:30 am |
  10. Zach

    I think it is completely fair for Mccain's age to be used as a issue during the general election. If Obama's race is fair play, than Mccain's age should be also.

    May 17, 2008 at 2:18 am |
  11. Dean

    John McCain's life experience has been viewed as a positive thus far in his political campaign strategy. Conversely, Barack Obama's youth and vigor have been accentuated as positive attributes in his campaigns. While the Republicans exploit inexperience and youthfulness as potential negative attributes of Obama. I feel it is only fair that we examine McCain's age and the potential of this hindering his ability to effectively manage the office of President.

    While listening to McCain's speeches and hearing his perspectives on many policies, I feel his ideas are antiquated. While Barack Obama has yet to specify the intricacies of his policies of foreign trade or his plans for the economy, John McCain uses the same fear tactics that secured George Bush's two terms in office, and garners pity from those who identify with his history as a prisoner of war and the numerous difficulties and challenges he's faced in life. While I admire Mr. McCain, these are not attributes that I feel will matter when determining the presidency. I am voting for Barack Obama, perhaps partially due to identifying with him as a 20 year old college student in Southern Ohio.

    May 17, 2008 at 1:58 am |
  12. Annie

    You who want Mr. McCain for President why not have your employer hire him for your CEO?
    Ask Donald Trump to hire him as President of Trump Inc., how about the Fortune 500 companies? Which one will hire him to be the CEO? What about Walmart? CitiBank, Starbucks.
    I could bet you that unless he owns the company that he will not be hired for the top job of any of those companies. Why then the President of the US.

    Nice man but we have to look towards the future. You cannot do that with a 72 yr old with old ideas. Wake up Americans!!!

    May 17, 2008 at 1:47 am |
  13. bertha arteaga

    ya mc cain is to old for office

    May 17, 2008 at 1:25 am |
  14. bJ

    No- He's not too old. It should have no more to do with politics than race. Anyone can get sick or hurt at anytime, it has nothing to do with age and he is in good health now. Probably better than Obama! He sure is more alert and knowledgeable. He isn't paranoid like Obama, thinking that President Bush was targeting him in his speech! It is rediculous!!! Obama is just trying to use it to his political benefit when it had nothing to do with him. The President gave a very good, brilliant and appropriate speech for where he was(Israel) and the anniversary they were celebrating

    May 17, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  15. Sienna

    John MCain may be an older person, but age is not as big a deal these days.

    As the baby boomer generation becomes older, it is more important to understand how to grow as a socially responsible country.

    These stereotypes are not in question; the question is: who is the right person to run the country in the next decade?

    May 17, 2008 at 12:02 am |
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