Bumiller Czechs Up on Old John McCain "Gaffe," Raises Age Issue

As Democrat Barack Obama heads off to Hawaii for vacation, McCain campaign reporter Elisabeth Bumiller announced on Monday that"For a Week, McCain Has the Trail to Himself." But that doesn't mean he'll be getting a free ride, or even a fair shake, from the liberal Bumiller. McCain has apparently not made any recent verbal missteps, becauseshe is once again recycling athree-week "Czechoslovakia" gaffe from the candidate that no one else but Bumiller seems to care about, while obliquely raising the age issue:

As Senator Barack Obama headed off for a vacation in Hawaii last week, Senator John McCain was left in the continental United States with the Iowa State Fair to himself. Mr. McCain's campaign promised to take full advantage this week of Mr. Obama's absence - for starters, Mr. McCain was scathing about his rival in his weekend radio address - but up close and personal, Mr. McCain sounded as though he would not mind some August beach time himself.


Mr. McCain has made a number of verbal gaffes in recent months, including referring three times to Czechoslovakia, a country that has not existed since 1993. In his comments on the plane, Mr. McCain did not address whether his gaffes had anything to do with fatigue, but he seemed to suggest that they might have. "If I put in three or four 18-hour, 20-hour days in a row, then I'm not sharp," Mr. McCain said. "It's just a fact."

The issue is sensitive for Mr. McCain, 71, who would be the oldest person elected president if he wins. Although Mr. McCain sometimes looks tired on the campaign trail, his aides say he has more energy than they do as they run the grueling marathon of this long presidential campaign. On Friday, Mr. McCain started at 8:30 a.m. in Cincinnati, made campaign stops in Iowa and Arkansas, and ended more than 16 hours later in Las Vegas.

Bumiller concluded with her idea of a compliment - a back-handed one:

Fairgoers generally reacted to Mr. McCain with excitement and offered backhanded compliments about him to reporters. Many were on the theme that he was not as bad as they had thought.

"Better speaker in public than on TV," said Vester Crutchfield, 83, a Republican who operates the fair's giant slide. "I didn't think that much of him until today."