Arizona Senate Republican primary candidate Kelli Ward doubled down on her attacks on Sen. John McCain's (R., Ariz.) age Thursday on Meet The Press Daily, saying he had gotten old and weak and suggesting he was near the end of his life.
Ward, who is trailing McCain in the polls with the primary less than a week away, was blasted by the Washington Post for launching "one of the nastiest political attacks."
Recent Stories in Politics
"I'm actually the only Republican that can win in the general election," she said. "John McCain is falling down on the job. He's gotten weak. He's gotten old. I do want to wish him a happy birthday. He's going to be 80 on Monday, and I want to give him the best birthday present ever, the gift of retirement."
"So you think he's too old to serve in the Senate?" host Chuck Todd asked.
"I think anybody who's been in Washington for almost 40 years has been there too long," Ward said.
"But you brought up his age. That's a tough attack," Todd said.
"Well, I'm a physician," she said. "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."
"You feel comfortable diagnosing him on air like this?" Todd asked.
"Diagnosing him as an 80-year-old man? Yes, I do," Ward said.
Ward's remarks echoed an earlier interview she gave to Politico, where she suggested McCain could die in office if re-elected.
"I’m a doctor," she said. "The life expectancy of the American male is not 86. It’s less."
McCain dismissed the attack as a "dive to the bottom" by Ward.
Ward also referred to McCain as a dinosaur in her Politico interview:
Ward is unbowed. Comparing McCain to an overworked physician, she said she worries that McCain could slip after serving so long because "when tired eyes look at problems, you have bad outcomes for the patient and the provider." That could spell disaster for the state, Ward said.
"There are things that happen physiologically with the body and the mind. One of them is control over your anger and he’s already known as an angry man," Ward said, munching on a baked potato at Durant’s, an old-school Phoenix steakhouse. "It becomes more and more difficult to control those kinds of outbursts. And we have to have someone with a steady hand, someone with the ability to think on their feet. Someone who can problem-solve."