They say 70 is the new 50 – but the fact that three of the top White House candidates would tie or break the record for oldest president-elect in American history could make health and age a campaign issue for them this year.
It’s an uncomfortable topic, and one that trailed then-71-year-old John McCain when he ran against the youthful Barack Obama, then 47, in 2008.
The generation gap could be even wider this year, though, as Gen Xers like Ted Cruz, 45, and Marco Rubio, 44, compete against Donald Trump, 69, on the Republican side – and Bernie Sanders, 74, battles Hillary Clinton, 68, on the Democratic side.
If one of the Democrats faces off against a much younger Republican, the dynamics from 2008 could repeat themselves – only with the parties reversed . . .
Critics thought Ronald Reagan, the oldest candidate to be elected president at age 69, was too old when he ran for re-election in 1984. He ultimately was able to deflect that suggestion — and win — with debate quips like, “I will not make age an issue … I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” referring to Democratic opponent, Walter Mondale, then 56. (Read more from “Past Their Prime? Health, Age Could Become Campaign Trail Issue for 2016 Candidates” HERE)