Dems' Coded Message: McCain Is Old

GOP cries foul over between-the-lines jabs at candidate, 71
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2008 12:07 PM CDT
John McCain carries a cup of coffee as he gets out of his SUV at his campaign headquarters in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Va., Sunday, June 15, 2008.    (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – To a chorus of Republican indignation, Democrats are taking subtle swipes at John McCain's, er, septuagenarian status. From Joe Scarborough saying the "doddering" 71-year-old "needs to go to Miami Beach and play checkers” to John Kerry calling him “confused” or Barack Obama, 46, noting McCain's “half-century of service,” conservatives see sleights. “It is code; there is no question,” said a Republican strategist. “They are trying to raise doubts.”

Polls show age worries more voters than race, so Republicans are purposely overreacting to “put a lid on the kind of language we use,” says Democratic consultant Jonathan Prince. Kerry called the backlash “unfair and even ridiculous” against what Budoff Brown terms a "crypto-ageist strategy." Adds Prince: "They have become very adept at grabbing every opportunity they can to turn it into a personal slur.”