ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 25, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 52

McCain says fit to run for White House

WASHINGTON, Saturday (AP) - Republican John McCain tried to ease concerns that he is too old to be president, opening medical records to The Associated Press that reveal the three-time melanoma survivor appears cancer-free, has a strong heart, and is in general good health.

McCain's age has been highlighted now that it appears Democrats will select the 46-year-old Barack Obama over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as his opponent in the November election. While age has not been an explicit issue, Obama has campaigned on a call for change while McCain has highlighted his experience, especially on national security.

John McCain gives a thumbs up. AP

McCain will turn 72 in August and would be the oldest U.S. president elected to a first term. Early on in the primaries, a number of voters said McCain's age was a problem, but recent surveys suggest it may not be as big an issue. An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted in April found 70 percent saying McCain's age would not make any difference to their vote.

His most recent exams show a range of health issues common in aging: He frequently has precancerous skin lesions removed, and in February had an early stage squamous cell carcinoma, an easily cured skin cancer, removed. He had benign colon growths called polyps taken out during a routine colonoscopy in March. McCain has degenerative arthritis from war injuries that might mean a future joint replacement. His blood pressure and weight were healthy, and his cholesterol good but not optimal.

McCain was a Navy fighter pilot who was shot down and spent nearly six years as a Vietnam prisoner-of-war, and he is likely to stress his impressive military record and Obama's lack of one as the race moves forward. He blasted Obama on Thursday for never having served in uniform as the two took aim at each other.

His comments came after the Illinois senator accused McCain and unpopular President George W. Bush of ''political posturing'' for opposing a bill that would guarantee full university scholarships for those who serve in the military for three years. The Democratic Congress passed the measure.

''I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did,'' McCain senator said in a statement. While the contest for the Democratic nomination is not over, Obama leads Clinton in the delegate count and it is virtually impossible for her to catch up with only three primaries remaining. On Friday, Obama picked up four more delegates, including two delegates from former presidential candidate John Edwards, a California lawmaker and superdelegate who switched allegiance from Clinton, and an Oregon superdelegate. Superdelegates are the party leaders who may vote for whomever they choose at the August convention.

Obama now has 1,970 delegates to Clinton's 1,779, with 2,026 needed to win the nomination. Democratic officials said Thursday that Obama's campaign is quietly scouting for a running mate. Candidates for consideration include Clinton, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, anti-war Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and former Senator John Edwards.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday that she believes that if Obama becomes the nominee he should select Clinton as his running mate, arguing that they have complementary constituencies. Clinton is popular with white working-class voters and older women, while Obama gets heavy support from the better-educated, the young and blacks.

The Clinton campaign says there have been no discussions with the Obama campaign about the vice presidency. On the Republican side, McCain this weekend is hosting at least three Republicans mentioned as potential vice presidential running mates at his Sedona, Arizona, home _ Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. A top aide said it is a social event with more than two dozen guests not meant for vice presidential vetting, but the socializing is a prime opportunity for would-be running mates.

Some Republicans are frustrated with McCain's campaign, saying he has been slow to take advantage of his potential head start for the U.S. presidency against Democrats, who are better organized and generate more excitement among voters. They say it is the opposite of the way President George W. Bush ran his two successful national campaigns.

''In a lot of the states, we had folks on the ground September of the year before,'' said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, who was Bush's chief spokesman for swing states during 2004. ''We did it, literally, precinct by precinct, and folks were doing it street by street.''

The private frustration is starting to bleed into public fretting, especially as Obama this week called together supporters in swing states for meetings about the November election. In Iowa, Colorado, Florida and elsewhere, aides and volunteers planned to meet soon.

Bush will start raising money for the Republican National Committee and for McCain's campaign next week, as the main attraction at three McCain events _ in Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah.

Bush's low approval ratings have raised questions about whether he will help or hurt McCain, especially as the Democratic candidates have argued that a McCain administration would amount to a third Bush term. In the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll last month, 28 percent approved of the job Bush is doing, his lowest rating ever in the survey.

The Democratic primaries will draw to a close June 3. Three contests remain: Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana. However, the deciding delegates are likely to come from superdelegates _ party officials who can vote for whomever they want _ because there are not enough pledged delegates from the primaries and caucuses left for a candidate to make it to the 2,026 mark.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]

Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.