In the past week a few articles have been written that ask if John McCain’s age will hurt him in the 2008 election. McCain is currently 70 years old, and if he were to win the presidency in 2008, he would become the oldest person ever to be sworn in as a first term president. McCain leads a very active life, not just for a senior citizen, but for a person of any age. He also maintains a lengthy work schedule each week. “I work seven days a week, 16-plus hours a day. I’m fine. I’m in great health,” McCain reports to anyone who asks. One of the things working in McCain’s favor in 2008 is that on the GOP side there is not a young candidate to challenge him.  Rudy Giuliani is 62 years old and Mitt Romney is 60.

McCain’s age could hurt him if he wins the GOP nomination, and has to face off with a much younger Democrat in the general election. If Barrack Obama were to win the Democratic nomination, he would be only 47 years old at the time of the general election campaign. John Edwards would be 55, and Hillary Clinton will not turn 61 until a couple of weeks before Election Day in 2008. The image of an Obama or Edwards facing off with McCain in the nationally televised debates might be enough to swing younger voters towards the Democratic candidate.

It seems like to some Republicans, McCain’s age is already an issue. “He looks tired. He looks like he’s dragging,” said GOP strategist Chip Felkel. In order to offset these types of fears, the McCain campaign plans to release updated medical records, and they also intend to give voters plenty of opportunities to see their candidate at his vigorous best. The question of how the health of a man in seventies would handle the presidency will probably dog the McCain campaign, no matter how many medical records they release. McCain’s choice of a running mate will also be critical for easing the minds of those who support him.

Thus far it has been McCain’s unwavering support of the Iraq war, not his age, which has cost him support among potential 2008 voters. No one should doubt for a second that any of his political opponents for the White House will not hesitate to play the age card. They may not come right out and say that McCain is too old to be president, but it is more likely that the younger candidates in the race will stress their youth and energy. His opponents will use video and pictures in campaign ads that will make the Arizona senator look all of his seventy plus years. The message will be very subtle and designed to convince voters that McCain is too old to get the job done. His campaign will do their best to combat this notion, but in a nation that values beauty and youth, this may turnout to be an uphill battle that even a decorated veteran like John McCain can’t win.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
 

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