Former Prime Minister Alain Juppe, who would be the oldest candidate to become president in France’s history, dismissed questions about his age and health while traveling to Strasbourg for his first major campaign rally.
“If I had doubts about my health I would stop right here,” said Juppe, who turned 71 last month and is currently the mayor of France’s wine capital Bordeaux. His aides said he won’t release health records unless his rivals do the same.
Juppe leads the Republican field, edging out his nearest party rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, 61, in the polls. His age has been a target for opponents from President Francois Hollande to Sarkozy, who held the office until 2012.
The issue has taken on increased prominence after U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s own health became a campaign focal point as the former senator abruptly left a Sept. 11 memorial service on Sunday in New York and said she’s suffering from pneumonia.