Are McCain and Obama fit to be president?

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In this telegenic, mass-media age, the health and fitness of presidential candidates often is equated with their fitness to lead.

But should someone's health, vigor and resting pulse rate make a whit of difference as a barometer of performance as president? And is it fair to compare the health and wellness of candidates who have a 25-year age gap, as is the case with Barack Obama and John McCain?

Yes, says presidential historian Allan Lichtman, author of "The Keys to the White House" and other political books.

"Sure, it reflects the superficiality of politics, but it also reflects a reality a modern president has to go through," says Lichtman, a professor at American University in Washington, D.C. "Health and fitness of a candidate is a legitimate issue. The president is under enormous pressures and tensions.

"And when you look at the two candidates, the electorate is bound to make (physical) comparisons. Robust health has been a positive image for a president for over a century."

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