Daniel Tammet runs the numbers on McCain

Posted By on October 16, 2008

Daniel TammetFor those of you familiar with the book “Born on a Blue Day” by Daniel Tammet, you’ll enjoy his blog post on John McCain’s age. As a ‘numbers guy,’ he takes a look at both actuarial tables of a 72 year old man in the U.S., the McCain family history and lifespan of past U.S. Presidents and runners- up.

His conclusion: “There may be all kinds of reasons to oppose a McCain victory in November, but age isn’t one of them.”

McCain’s longevity prospects look pretty good. His mother, Roberta, is still active at 96, as is his aunt of the same age (Roberta’s twin sister). His maternal grandfather, Archibald Wright, also lived well into his nineties.

A final note: Modern presidential candidates (from the 1930s on) appear on the whole to have above-average lifespans. Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both lived to 93, while Herbert Hoover also reached his 90th birthday and Harry Truman lived to 88. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush are both still active at 84.

Presidential runners-up fare well too: the 1972 Democrat nominee George McGovern is 86, while the party’s 1984 nominee Walter Mondale celebrated his 80th birthday this year. The 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole is now 85, while the Republicans’ 1964 candidate Barry Goldwater lived to 89. The longevity prize, however, goes to the Republican’s 1936 candidate, Alf Landon, who died a month after his 100th birthday in 1987.

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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