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ON THE TRAIL / ONE ELDER STATESMAN TO ANOTHER

A McCain victory would be old news

June 13, 2008|Don Frederick

Barack Obama no doubt could have lived without the nod he recently received from now-retired Cuban President Fidel Castro, who called the Democrat "the most advanced candidate" in America's presidential race.

And on Thursday, John McCain received the type of backing from a foreign leader that he too would just as soon forgo.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, at a joint news conference with President Bush in Rome, initially demurred when asked about the U.S. election, saying, "I cannot express any preference with regard to an electoral campaign going on in another country."

But Berlusconi quickly shifted his stance, acknowledging a preference for Republican McCain based on a "very selfish reason": If the Arizona senator wins, Berlusconi no longer will be the oldest leader when the Group of 8 industrial nations meet, "because McCain is a month older than me."

McCain turns 72 on Aug. 29 and, as much of the nation will be able to recite by November, he could become the oldest person elected to a first White House term.

Berlusconi gets points for doing his homework. Born on Sept. 29, 1936, he is exactly one month younger than McCain.

-- Don Frederick

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