PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:
Shot: The questions about Hillary Clinton’s health are absurd.
—Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post, today.
McCain’s health has long been a topic of discussion in the campaign due to his advanced age — he will be 72 by the time of the November election — and his past medical problems.
McCain himself regularly pokes fun at both his age and his wounds; “I’m older than dirt and I have more scars than Frankenstein,” he jokes with audiences.
But, the Arizona senator’s campaign is well aware that concerns about whether he is well enough and up to the job are potentially perilous for a candidate seeking to win the age versus experience battle with youthful Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in the fall.
To that end, the McCain campaign knew this day would inevitably come. What was out of their control was what the records would say. Picking how the release of the records would be played in the media, however, was under their control and they sought to control it.
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* TGIF: It’s become a tried and true policy in Washington that bad news tends to break late on Fridays. That’s because sharp flacks know that the attention of the American public tends to linger to movies, bars, sports and other distractions right around noon on Friday. (That is, of course, not true for The Fix who retains his laser-like focus on politics 24 hours a day, seven days a week.) By releasing the documents on a Friday — and a Friday before a long, holiday weekend no less — the McCain campaign is relying on the fact that average voters are either already on their way to Memorial Day destinations or heading there in their minds.
The story will get major play no matter what — McCain is the Republican presidential nominee after all — but the audience for the stories is likely to be lower than if the documents were dropped on a Monday or Tuesday for example. (Interesting sidenote: The Fix spoke to Serbian reporters and editors yesterday and confirmed that the Friday afternoon document dump exists even in Serbia!)
—“McCain’s Health: What It Means,” Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post, May 23, 2008.
Related: “Is it true that John McCain’s injuries as a result of being tortured as a POW are the real reason he does not send e-mails (using a keyboard is painful for him)? Or is Barack Obama’s ad portraying him as a computer luddite true?”
—“McCain’s War Injuries and Computers,” “FactCheck.org,” September 17, 2008.