John McCain's presidential campaign of 2008 began when John McCain, the senior United States Senator from Arizona, launched his second candidacy for the presidency of the United States in an unsuccessful bid to win the 2008 presidential election. His candidacy, in the works for several years, was informally announced February 28, 2007 during a live filming of Late Show with David Letterman, and was officially announced on 25 April 2007. His team-mate for vice president was Sarah Palin, the Alaska governor, announced on 29 August 2008.
If McCain wins the election in 2008, he would be the oldest man to assume the Presidency in history upon initial ascension to office at age 72, and the second-oldest president to be inaugurated. He addressed concerns about his age and past health problems, the fact that in 2005, his health was "excellent." If he had won in 2008, he also became the first president of the United States not to be born in the current 50 states, as well as the first meeting of a U.S. Senator since John F. Kennedy to win the presidency. He also was the first president from Arizona. His running mate, Palin, was the first Alaskan on a nominated major-party presidential ticket, and the first woman to represent the Republican Party on a nominated presidential ticket.
McCain began the campaign as the clear leader among Republicans, with the strategy of appearing as the establishment, inevitable candidate, his campaign website featured Associated Press article describing him as "a political celebrity." He has made substantial overtures towards elements of the Republican base that had resisted his 2000 insurgency campaign. However, he soon fell behind in polls and fundraising; by July 2007 his campaign was forced to restructure its size and operations. The tide of Republican sentiment against immigration reform legislation he sponsored also led to the erosion of his lead.
In the general election against Democratic candidate Barack Obama, McCain trailed most of the time, only gaining the lead in national polls for the period after the announcement of Palin and the 2008 Republican National Convention. The dominant issue of the campaign became the financial crisis of 2008. Unable to gain traction against Obama in presidential debates, the final stages of the campaign saw McCain criticizing Obama for being a "redistributionist" and adopting symbols such as Joe the Plumber. On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated John McCain in the presidential election, winning with a 365-173 electoral college votes edge and 53% -46% of the popular vote edge.