Speed Reads

campaign 2016

GOP rivals won't call Hillary Clinton old, just hint at her age

It seems there's one thing Republican presidential hopefuls won't accuse Hillary Clinton of: being old, says Reuters' James Oliphant. A few months ago, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), 52, and prospective candidate Gov. Scott Waker (R-Wis.), 47, said that Clinton's age — she's 67 — might disqualify her from being president, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (73) suggested she belonged on The Golden Girls.

Republicans have dropped that talk, and now are making only vague references to "generational" changes and looking to the future. Clinton, if elected, would be the second-oldest president to take office, after Ronald Reagan (71 in 1981), but Republicans have a more practical reason to tread lightly, Oliphant says:

They fear that highlighting Clinton's age could alienate women voters whom Republicans need to be competitive in next year's general election. Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said women older than 50 would likely comprise the largest bloc of voters in 2016. [Reuters]

It will be interesting payback if Republicans make her age an issue, gingerly or directly: Her husband, Bill Clinton, used coded attacks on Sen. Bob Dole's (R-Kansas) age in his 1996 re-election campaign. President Obama beat two candidates in Clinton's age bracket: John McCain (72 in November 2008) and Mitt Romney (65 in November 2012).