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Defining Expectations in N.H. with McCain

By Lois Romano
PEMBROKE, N.H. -- As his GOP competitors tripped over each other in Iowa, a very relaxed and confident appearing John McCain today segued back to New Hampshire, where polls show him neck and neck with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

"It has to be perceived as a win, absolutely," McCain acknowledged to reporters about how well he needs to do in this state to catapult his campaign to the front of the pack.

But he would not parse what exactly defines a win, having struggled mightily over the past six months to regain his once front-runner footing. "That's the expectations game. Maybe fifth- you know, he came back from seventh," he quipped to laughter.

McCain took questions from about 100 potential voters -- many already supporters -- who braved very cold and icy conditions to hear him at Pembroke Academy.

To the woman who asked if he would be too old to be president after eight years in office, the 71-year-old Arizona senator assured everyone that he had a hearty gene pool. "My health is good, my campaign schedule is heavier than anybody else's, and I've said many times I can out-campaign anybody," he said. "Last Christmas my mother decided she wanted to drive around France. She tried to rent a car and they said she was too old so she bought one."

McCain would be the oldest person ever inaugurated as president if he were to win.

McCain heads back to Iowa later today, when polls show him trailing Mike Huckabee and Romney.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 2, 2008; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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Next: Romney Contemplates the Race Beyond Iowa


McCain will be younger than Reagan when Reagan started his second term. That said, ageism is just as ignorant as sexism or racism. Is Hillary too female to win the general? Is Obama too black (if so, why is he doing so well in Iowa)? Judge the man on who he actually is, not on what category he fits into.

Posted by: donttreadonme | January 3, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Many people at 72 are too old to become President. However I am inclined to judge the man as an individual. I look at his stamina and physical condition. He is as fit as someone ten years younger. He obviously does not eat often at McDonalds. Have we checked out the health of some of those other candidates who don't appear to be quite so physically fit and aren't able to keep up as rigorous schedule as McCain?

Posted by: roflanagan | January 3, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

His age is an electoral handicap but it's the exposure that would do him in; McCain is not a riveting speaker, I can't listen to him for thirty seconds without drifting.

And after people are doe admiring his candor there remains the fact that his positions are not popular ones; he wants to keep the Iraq occupation going indefinitely for all the most bogus reasons ("they'll follow us home"), he now wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the well-to-do, and so on.

Straight talk, sure, but nothing we want to hear.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 3, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a great candidate, and may win the nomination.

However, he will not, and Can Not win the presidency.

He is Too Old. The people will see this as the campaign goes on. A year from now when the general election takes place, he will be even a year older.

At that age, a year can make a difference that people notice.

Posted by: river845 | January 3, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

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