Once, Frank Lautenberg was a 58-year-old hopeful who implied that his opponent, at 72, was too old. Now, Lautenberg is running for re-election in New Jersey at the spry age of 84. “Age is not a factor,” he says. “The question is effectiveness.” But as John McCain seeks to become the oldest first-term president ever, age has become an issue, writes Gail Collins in the New York Times.
A case in point: Hillary Clinton was miffed when Bill defended her Bosnia gaffe by saying of her critics, “When they’re 60, they’ll forget something when they’re tired at 11 at night, too.” Did he forget that her ads claim she can answer the red phone "at 3 a.m."? But Collins writes that boomers in their 60s are ready to forgive a few geriatrics. Senator Robert Byrd, re-elected 2 years ago at age 88, concurs: “I’m told 90 is the new 80,” he said.