Skip to comments.Are Dems talking about McCain’s age in ‘code’?
Posted on 06/17/2008 9:13:33 AM PDT by van_erwin
In a campaign year marked by flare-ups surrounding comments that have offended one group or another, John McCain and Barack Obama have moved on to the next sensitive battleground: the question of McCains advanced age.
As some Republicans see it, Democrats are deliberately talking in code about the presumptive 71-year-old GOP nominee as part of an attempt to highlight his age.
It is code; there is no question it is, Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist who helped lead President Ronald Reagans 1984 reelection campaign, said when age surfaced as an issue. They are trying to raise doubts.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough repeatedly argued on his show last week that the Obama campaign was portraying McCain as a doddering, old, confused fool. He needs to go to Miami Beach and play checkers.
To Democrats, however, Republicans are imagining slights and smears where there are none as part of an attempt to silence any discussion of McCains vigor.
They are definitely trying to just put a lid on the kind of language we use, said Democratic consultant Jonathan Prince.
Obama aides deny any strategy to highlight age, and Obama, 46, himself told reporters last month that age should not be a factor. Indeed, he used to compliment McCains half-century of service to the country as a Vietnam War veteran and a member of Congress, but after McCain campaign manager Rick Davis argued that it was a sly way to inject age into the debate, Obama dropped the reference in February.
But a Democratic strategist not involved in the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said he sees footprints of a deliberate Obama campaign strategy.
They have made allusions to McCains age and temperament because, with McCain, both his age and his volatile temper are legitimate issues. There is a line of appropriateness that they cannot cross. And I dont think they have, the strategist said.
Certainly there have been times when Democrats have tackled the issue head-on, as Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) has several times in recent months.
The older you get, the more difficult it is to have the energy to confront these things, Murtha, who turns 76 on Tuesday, said in an interview with ThinkProgress, a liberal blog. I know myself. I have to pace myself. Im the same age he is. He said I was senile a couple of years ago. Well, thats beside the point, whether Im senile. But I just believe that his age is going to be very difficult for him to become a good commander in chief, because the decisions are so difficult.
The issue is no small matter for McCain. Polls in recent months found voters more likely to take into consideration his age than Obamas race, which explains why the McCain campaign has turned into ersatz word police, calling foul on even the slightest hint of a reference to the Republicans age.
McCain senior adviser Mark Salter rebuked Obama last month for saying that the Arizonan was losing his bearings. Obama, who was defending against charges that Hamas wanted him to win in November, protested that the phrase has nothing to do with age.
But when Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) each described McCain as confused last week, Republicans became convinced that Democrats intend to run a crypto-ageist strategy, using words that create a subtle impression in voters minds.
McCain himself did little to wave reporters off the narrative.
Im obviously disappointed in a comment like that, McCain said when asked about Kerrys statement that the Republican confuses facts about Iran, Al Qaeda, and Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
Kerry called the suggestion that his comments had something to do with age unfair and even ridiculous.
But the dynamic of Obamas running against a candidate whos a quarter of a century older is nonetheless creating an environment where some Democrats see the need to self-censor, proving that the McCain offensive is already working.
I was going to say, He lost his grip, said Democratic consultant Jonathan Prince, recalling a recent appearance on CNNs Situation Room. Those are normal words you use when you are involved in campaigns. You say, They are nuts, they are off their rocker, they lost it. They have become very adept at grabbing every opportunity they can to turn it into a personal slur.
Look at how the late night shows portray him with comedy.
Letterman is the worst because he never balances out with something funny about Obama.
geez! Maybe I can vote for McLame after all.
Everyone thinks it is code for his age but it is really code for his sanity (some have discussed his “temperament”. “Confused” can mean “old” but also it can mean “crazy”). As we get closer to the election I fully expect Dems to claim that McCain is mentally unfit for office.
With plenty of brainwashing by the media I think we can feel certain that Hussein is our next president. We get attacked by Muslims and then go out and elect one. ONLY IN AMERICA!
Is Politico just an online forum for the same, DNC rumpswabs you find in the WaPo, LATimes... etc?
These same jokers don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that Fat Teddy is 76 and has terminal brain cancer.How fit is he for his job?Fit enough for them apparently...
If ever there is an opportunity to fight fire with fire. There are so many pictures, so many instances where Barry looks and sounds around 12 years old.
At least he knows how many states there are!
Talking in “code?” What did they exactly say? That he is getting ong-lay in the ooth-tay? That he’s getting eenile-say?
71 IS NOT OLD but any stretch of the imagination......we had a “young” and “vigorous” Clinton and look what the hell we got.....8 years of do nothing foreign policy that absolutely ushered in 911....
I wish McCain would call Obama out on his patronizing of Mc’s military service. I find it disgusting the way they do that. Of course it meant the world when they talked about Kerry’s brag!
I read one liberal blog post the other day (sorry can’t remember where) that seriously alleged that McCain had Alzheimers! Not kidding...
After the crap Politico pulled during the Republican primaries I find it hard to give them any respect at all frankly...
Is that really the Dem's strategery here? "I'm a doddering old fool, so he must be one too".
Are the Dems swiftboating?
I can’t find the exact quote, but wasn’t it Reagan who said, “If you promise not to talk about my age, I’ll promise not to talk about your lack of experience.”?