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
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.
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
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