PHOENIX — Challenger Kelli Ward came out swinging, figuratively, at U.S. Sen. John McCain, this week during a national television appearance, describing him as weak and near the end of his life.
Ward, of Lake Havasu, is hoping to be a roadblock to the 79-year-old fellow Republican’s re-election. The state primary is Tuesday.
The osteopath and former state legislator told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Thursday, “I’m a physician. I see the physiological changes that happen in normal aging, in patients again and again and again over the last 20, 25 years. So I do know what happens to the body and the mind at the end of life.”
Earlier this week, a CNN poll showed that McCain was the likely winner in Arizona’s primary and general elections.
McCain is seeking a seventh term. If he wins the primary, he would face Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in November. He has said that he hadn’t given much thought as to whether this would be his last hurrah in government.
Ward’s criticism took Todd by surprise, calling the age reference a tough attack.
“John McCain is falling down on the job. He has gotten weak. He has gotten old. I do want to wish him a happy birthday. He is going to be 80 on Monday and I want to give him the best birthday present ever, the gift of retirement,” Ward said.
McCain has been in Arizona politics since 1982 and ran for president in 2008.
All of that counts against him, Ward said.
“I think anybody who has been in Washington for almost 40 years has been there too long,” she said.
Ward did not back down on her stance when speaking with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Friday morning, but she did focus more on term limits.
Ward also blamed McCain for the country’s immigration woes, referring to it as mess that needed to be cleaned up.
National security was a problem on his watch, as well.
“I certainly don’t feel safer with John McCain in the United States Senate since 1987.”
Ward’s tweets of late have been fault-finding of McCain and the account has been retweeting supporters’ agreement that McCain should retire, using the hashtag “#RetireMcCain.”