Now that a primary season fraught with racism and sexism has ended, the nation now gears up to face its general-election gremlin: ageism. While John McCain, 71, may joke that the primary qualification to be president is "to be very, very, very, very old," the New York Times reports that his age may work for him among ever-more vibrant oldsters trying to break a gray ceiling, of sorts.
But Bob Dole's presidential bid in 1996 at 73 showed that his peers didn't vote for him because "they really know what the measure of their infirmities are," said one expert. And there indeed appears to be a split among generational lines. But Obama, who would take the helm at a relatively young 47, hasn't done well with seniors and boomers and needs to take care: "The more he tries to make McCain’s age a liability, the more people who are older are going to be a little bit turned off by it,” says one expert.