Former L.A. Mayor Riordan vs. John McCain

As former LA Mayor Richard Riordan entered Tuesday night’s Barack Obama fundraiser in Beverly Hills he told CBS2, “When I was mayor I had dealings with McCain where I didn’t respect him.”

Riordan, a Republican, is now endorsing Obama for President, saying, “I think he’s a much more open person. He’s young, he has more energy, more electricity.” [watch here]

And Riordan knows something about age in politics – he was 72 in 2002 when he was beat in the race to be California Governor to the much younger Gray Davis, a factor that Politico’s Gary South, who worked on Gray’s campaign attributes to Riordan’s loss.

…the overwhelming majority of [voter focus group] participants thought Riordan was younger than he was, most guessing in his 60s. When informed of his actual age, it was an instant disqualifier for 25-30 percent of the participants in nearly every focus group (and this, of course, was for governor, not president). As of today, it will be quite evident to every voter that McCain is, in fact, 72 years old.

The focus group then, on their own, began making connections between Riordan’s age and former President Ronald Reagan’s alzheimers, “surmising that the onset of the latter’s Alzheimer’s had actually occurred while he was still in office.” The Riordan campaign attempted to deflect the age issue by distributing photos of Riordan riding a bike with Lance Armstrong and pumping iron in his basement gym.

Reason editor and McCain biographer Matt Welch also recently drew some comparisons between McCain and Riordan:

In many ways, McCain reminds me of another politician I happen to know pretty well, former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan. Both men are short, septuagenarian political rapscalians with a taste for booze and (younger) broads, who are on some level absolutely terrified of solitude, and so are just constantly yapping to a chorus of mostly charmed listeners. I’ve had Riordan tell me the same terrible Jonathan Winters joke within the span of 30 minutes, and add layers of, ah, fresh detail to his hoary old stories.

It’s almost like Riordan and McCain are peas in a pod… except that Riordan lost in his run to be Governor of a state, and McCain is now their party’s choice to be President. Maybe Riordan’s backing of Obama is projecting that he knows what the country would be in for, or perhaps he’s just plain jealous.

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One response to “Former L.A. Mayor Riordan vs. John McCain

  1. I was never the biggest Riordan fan (I voted for Woo in ’93 and think the Central Library renaming was an awful idea) but give the guy a break, he’s never been a partisan tool.

    You really should talk about these dealings with McCain that Riordan mentioned that made him lose his respect for him. I wanna know more about that!

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