Age an issue? McCain points to his sprightly mom

(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-16 07:34

A 96-year-old woman with a history of driving fast cars might seem like an unlikely campaign weapon, but it is one that the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, has deployed to good effect.

Addressing concerns on Monday that he is too old to be US president, McCain invited anyone with doubts to meet his mother, Roberta, who has shown few signs in recent years that age has slowed her down.

McCain, 71, likes to tell how his mother, who spends three months a year on holiday abroad, usually on long drives, was denied a rental car in Paris in 2006 on the grounds of age. She bought a car and drove it round France, shipped it back to the US and then drove it 4,800 km from the east coast to the west.

Speaking in Washington at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, he said Americans should judge him on his energy, his intellect, experience and judgment, not his age. He said he had out-campaigned his Republican rivals by working between 16 and 20 hours a day.

"I am capable of doing that," he said. "I know, I am doing that. If anyone has any further doubts, come and meet my 96-year-old mother."

Strategists working for Barack Obama, 46, the favorite to take the Democratic nomination, signaled on Monday they were planning to make age an issue, portraying their candidate as representing youth and change and McCain as old-fashioned.

McCain said that because of his age, the media were placing great importance on his choice of vice-presidential candidate, but he insisted that a shared philosophy, values and priorities mattered more than the age of his running mate. "That would be the criteria that I have. But certainly it will be an important selection. And it may be viewed by some as more important in my case," McCain said. He said he hoped to decide on his vice-presidential candidate "earlier rather than later".

The senator, who is occasionally accompanied on the campaign trail by his mother, tells another anecdote about her: Three years ago, she was stopped by police in Arizona for driving at about 180 kph.

(The Guardian)

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