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Monday, November 3, 2008

The Exercise Gap

posted by on November 3 at 8:40 AM

This morning the New York Times offers two compelling vignettes on the mood and style of the candidates as the campaign winds up. There’s one for Obama, which I believe was already mentioned below, and one for McCain. They’re both great reads, with lots of of points of contrast, including a particularly strong contrast in workout regimens.

On McCain’s:

During the day he gets almost no exercise, eats the candy and junk food strewn all over his bus, and naps slumped in his seat in the curtained-off front section of his plane.

On Obama’s:

On Sunday, he was in the gym of the Doubletree Hotel here shortly after 6 a.m., but he spent some time with his wife and daughters before boarding his plane at 9:30 a.m.

Obviously, a 72-year-old man is going to have a different workout routine than a 47-year-old man. But life on the campaign trail is grueling, most often compared to a marathon in terms of the sustained energy it takes, and candy and junk food are probably not the winning combination when it comes to fueling the necessary stamina.

Beyond that, though, is the fact that it would be nearly impossible, even if he had perfect eating habits and was in the best of shape, for McCain to match Obama’s energy. Relative youth has its advantages.

Which brings up something I’ve been thinking often during these last campaign days: what we may be seeing in this race, among many other things, is a de facto addition to the rules about running for president. The Constitution says a person must be at least 35 to run for president, but it doesn’t specify a point at which someone is simply too old to run. If nothing else, John McCain’s campaign may succeed in setting that upper age limit. When it comes to the sheer physical stamina required by modern campaigning, 72 is probably too old.

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I couldn't do what McCain is doing and I'm not old enough to run for president (though dangerously close.) I should go to the gym, but I've got this cold I'm getting over.

I'd like to try life with a huge staff though. Like with the presidential campaign staff but the same responsibilities I have now. I guess that would be a bit overkill.

Posted by daniel | November 3, 2008 8:48 AM

I keep expecting to hear that McCain has dropped dead due to the schedule they have him keeping these last few days.

Posted by Katy | November 3, 2008 8:54 AM

McCain is an old 72 - not a new 72. That is, 65, 70 whatever is not as old as it used to be as people are living healthier lifestyles longer. I bet Obama will be a great 72, if he did indeed quite smoking, which rumours say he hasn't.

Posted by Cat in Chicago | November 3, 2008 9:05 AM

You are what you eat!

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | November 3, 2008 9:06 AM

Woody Allen is 72 and he's still making great movies. So what's John McCain's excuse for being a sad old prune?

Posted by Jeff Stevens | November 3, 2008 9:14 AM

i remember when the liberal media was taking obama to task for refusing greasy pro-american treats in PA, while hildog was belting back boilermakers.

fuck them.

Posted by max solomon | November 3, 2008 9:30 AM

It sounds like you're recommending a health requirement for the office, not so much an age requirement, and amending the Constitution for that is probably overkill. The voters balance all that stuff out in their heads: maybe next time a fit 72-year-old will win a huge electoral college victory over a couch-potato 48-year-old...

Thomas Jefferson wins again!

Posted by Uncle Vinny | November 3, 2008 9:32 AM

McCain is 72, but with the body of a 90-year old.

I mean, shit, Mick Jagger is 65! Mick and McCain are only 7 years apart, but it's a stretch to compare them physically.

Posted by Mahtli69 | November 3, 2008 10:07 AM

Mick Jagger would be the best president ever.

Posted by Matthew | November 3, 2008 10:21 AM

Let me put it this way, McCain is not the CEO of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson, and he's way too old since he's stuck in the 15th Century when he was born.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 3, 2008 10:47 AM

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