Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama and McCain Deal With the Age Issue

This year’s Presidential election presents a number of striking contrasts. Barack Obama is a black, liberal Democrat whereas John McCain is a white, conservative Republican. But perhaps the most striking difference between the candidates is their age.

Soon to be 72, John McCain is even older than Ronald Reagan when he first became President. And that presents problems for the Republicans in attracting the youth vote in the upcoming election.

On the other hand, Barack Obama is only 46. Some are questioning whether a candidate that young and inexperienced is ready to take over the Oval Office.

Both candidates, however, have a plan to deal with the age issue.

"First of all," said Senator Obama. "I won’t be the youngest President ever. Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were all younger than me when they took office. Not bad company, if I do say so myself."

But just to be safe, Obama is considering other tactics to give his candidacy a touch of gravitas and seniority.

"I’m going to start talking in a lower voice," said Obama. "And, if possible, I’ll be speaking even slower than I do now. I may even start pretending to forget a few words here and there."

If that doesn’t work, the Obama campaign has some other aging tactics available. Look for the freshman senator to start wearing bowties and suspenders and to sprinkle his speeches with phrases like "when I was a kid", "they don’t make ‘em like that anymore" and "hey, you young punks, get off my lawn!"

Working from the opposite pole, John McCain has a few tricks up his aging sleeve as well.

"You’re only as old as you appear," said the presumptive Republican nominee. "And I aim to appear a whole lot younger by picking a really old guy as my Vice Presidential running mate."
While McCain’s plan has merit, it may be difficult to implement given the paucity of potential candidates older than him.

"West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd would be great," said McCain. "He’s 90 and would make me look like a kid. Trouble is he’s a Democrat and a former Ku Klux Klan member."

"I could always choose that 84-year old Alaskan nutbar Ted Stephens," said the Arizona senator. "But then I don’t look young, I just look crazy."

"When it comes right down to it," said McCain. "If I want to capture the support of young people in their fifties and sixties, I’m just going to have to be more with it, more hip, so to speak."

In order to court that essential youth demographic, McCain is heavily lobbying organizations that might be able to help including the AAA, the AARP and the Arthur Murray dance studios.

"If I can just learn their favorite music and their trendy new dance steps," said McCain. "I’m a shoe-in for The White House. I hear a lot of them like the Beatles and that crazy new dance - what’s it called? - oh, yeah, the Twist."

Luckily for McCain, he still has two years left in his current Senate term.

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