In a potentially dangerous ploy that could leave them open to charges of ageism or sexism, Republicans looking for a line of attack against Hillary Clinton are hoping to cast her as a political dinosaur and a throwback.
The plan is to make Clinton's age stand in sharp contrast to up-and-coming conservatives like Marco Rubio and the libertarian-leaning but less well known Rand Paul.
But Democrats are already expressing confidence that voters will welcome the chance to make history by electing the first female president.
Doing so would be by definition a forward-looking act supporters say, and one that would counter any argument that she is too old.
'If Secretary Clinton runs, she’ll be the nominee, the first female nominee of either party,' Stephanie Cutter, a former top adviser to the Obama White House and campaign, told Politico.
'That breaks through the old tagline that the Republican geniuses are cooking up because, if handled correctly, women of all ages will absolutely be inspired by that. I don’t recommend that be the totality of her message or platform, but there’s no way to hide that fact and it certainly shouldn’t be discounted.'
With the absence of a once in a generation Obama-like candidate to contend with in a primary, Democrats believe Clinton’s potential to become the country's first female to win the White House would be a game changer that could galvanize voters of all ages.
Clinton herself has expressed her desire to see a female president 'in my lifetime.'
Many voters have already responded to attacks on Clinton's age with outrage, claiming she is being treated unfairly. As Secretary of State she was constantly on the move, they claim.
One Republican strategist told Politico that one risk of attacking Clinton’s age is that it would make her more sympathetic to seniors.
'If she wins enough older voters in Florida and she wins enough older voters in Ohio, she’s the president of the United States,' said the strategist, who asked to remain anonymous.
Other Republicans were bemused about their chances, given the disarray of their platform. 'We can’t even decide as a party whether we’re going to pass immigration reform or tank it,' one strategist said. 'We don’t know what we’re doing on this Clinton age issue.'
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