Opinion: Jolly Jack Murtha, who’s 75, thinks John McCain, 71, is too old


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Here’s a good one. Rep. Jack Murtha, the 75-year-old Pennsylvania Democrat, thinks Sen. John McCain, the 71-year-old Republican, is too old.

How old, by the way, is too old to be in the House of Representatives? There is obviously no age limit on earmarks.

Murtha, you might be surprised to learn, is backing the 60-year-old Hillary Clinton for president.


Murtha has been stumping for the former Illinoisan, former Arkansan and current New Yorker in Pennsylvania, which holds its crucial Democratic primary Tuesday.

‘I’ve served with seven presidents,’ Murtha told a union audience Wednesday. ‘When they come in, they all make mistakes. They all get older ... This one guy running is about as old as me,’ he said to laughter and applause. ‘Let me tell you something, it’s no old man’s job.’

Later, McCain responded. ‘All I can tell you,’’ the Arizona senator told CNN’s John King, ‘is that I admire and respect Jack Murtha ... Speak for yourself, Jack. I’m doing fine, thanks.’’

Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became president and left office just shy of his 78th birthday. Rep. Ron Paul, who remains a Republican candidate, is 72. Ralph Nader, who’s also running again, is 74.

When asked about his age, McCain usually suggests that people take a look at his mother’s longevity. She’s 96. That, by the way, is more than twice as old as Barack Obama, who’s a mere kid at 46.

-- Mark Silva and Andrew Malcolm

Mark Silva writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau. Photo credit: Associated Press