October 15th, 2008
07:20 PM ET
6 years ago

Rosen: Where is the room for John McCain to succeed?

 McCain hopes to win over undecided voters tonight.
McCain hopes to win over undecided voters tonight.

The CNN poll released today showed a dramatic decrease in undecided voters. In fact in the key battleground states of Florida, Colorado and Virginia, John McCain could get every undecided voter left and still not have enough to win the campaign.

This is the key turning point in the campaign.

It is much harder to change people's minds than to convince them to move from the undecided block.

That is what makes John McCain's task so difficult tonight. He has to use the issues that have brought people to the Obama camp – namely the economy – and convince them that the decision they have made about who helps them more in these troubled times, is the wrong decision.

All the talk about McCain "taking it to Obama" on Bill Ayers or his past associations, it seems pretty irrelevant to the real challenge at hand. Can John McCain convince people that they are wrong in their judgements?

What are his choices tonight?

-Personal character attacks?
-Social issues like abortion and same sex marriage – the so-called values retread?
-Create fear of a Democratic controlled Washington within Congress and the White House?
-Yet another economic plan?

Lots of choices, none of them sure winners particulalry when Barack Obama has shown a steady hand on all of these issues.


Filed under: John McCain • Presidential Debate
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Barack Uda

    the rubber room. the romper room, the dark room,... the bathroom!

    October 15, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. vegasgirl777

    I really hope this puts an end to the Bill Ayers stuff. Asked & answered. Like Obama said, we have more important things to concern ourselves with.

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. ava

    lets start having all the fuel available in states that they are paying not to pump start pumping this will increase our oil and not used the other. Lets start at home lets use solar power and wind, lets put the ocean to work those waves is a great start. Here McCain goes again with those upsetting laughs. glad to be listening and not watch McCain I get more upset when he does those on camera response. Grow up and act like an adult.

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. M Minter

    To call Obama "Osama" is a blatant attempt to get people to vote for McCain out of the emotion of fear. The fact that anyone would do that and then complain that some vote out of emotion rather than intellect is right in line with the incredible accusations coming from the McCain campaign. The people of the world are tired of the Rovian policies of accusing others of your own greatest sins.

    October 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. vegasgirl777

    John McCain lost this election with this Ayers stuff. He proved he has nothing of substance to run on & he also wasn't truthful in saying that he has repudiated every negative thing said at his rallies-unless he's done it telepathically, I've only seen him do it twice-with the man & his pregant wife & the woman who falsely called Obama an Arab.

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. ava

    Someone shut McCains mouth when he is waiting for his turn and this is showing his age. OBAMA is answering question and staying calm you can see McCain is trying to stay calm its not work you are starting to show your true self.

    October 15, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. vegasgirl777

    I think it is truly sad that Senator McCain,who reportedly has been very respected all of these years, is going to be left with such a negative legacy. Whoever has been advising him has done a HORRIBLE job. Of course, Sarah Palin was his own brilliant move. Shame on him for thinking women who supported Hillary Clinton would automatically jump for Sarah Palin. I think not!

    October 15, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. Billy

    McCain has nothing left but character attacks and false accusations. he is finished. John Mccain has had more than a century in Washington. A change agent, reformer, or maverick he is not!

    October 15, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. Tonya Perkins

    McCain needs a reality check. When he goes to bed at night is he worrying about higher food and gas prices or how he's going to provide healthcare for his family. I think his only worry is which house key goes to which house. 7 houses wow!

    October 15, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  10. Billy

    McCain has nothing left but character attacks and false accusations. he is finished.. John Mccain has had more than a century in Washington. A change agent, reformer, or maverick he is not!

    October 15, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. Kimberly

    FINALLY,,, Hopefully the media will acknowledge McCain WINS this one...

    Obama reacts with lots of "Ands"... and "Uhs"....

    McCain is so much more experienced... Obama,,, YOU LOSE....

    October 15, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. ava

    McCain lets hope he don't bring up his war history, folks we have others that are HERO's from the WAR. "ITS NOT JUST MCCAIN WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE THAT JUST HIM IN THE WAR AND WAS A POW" lets give everyone a THANK YOU FOR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY

    October 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. David

    Ok to "look at" off shore drilling...didn't exxon valdez spill devaste fishing grounds around Prince William Sound, but energy is a pressing issue, McCain's basic argument is hurry up

    October 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. Denise

    Why is McCain keep changing the words that comes out of Obama's mouth? We are listening to what they both are saying and yet he still wants to lie on TV. He have heart.

    October 15, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. M Minter

    Wow. This just gets worse and worse and worse. McCain is completely out of control... "Joe the plumber you're rich" (smirk) followed by the gold-plated healthcare comment about cosmetic surgery and "transplants" What a pathetic attempt to suggest that Joe Biden is an elite man with gold-plated health insurance because he got hair plugs. It's a pathetic claim with such pathetic delivery that most won't even understand what he is referring to. I'm not sure that McCain will get anyone's vote at this point, maybe not even "Joe the plumber" who is apparently McCain's new best friend.

    October 15, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. Tonya Perkins

    McCain needs new answers. He's being coached, that's all we'll get if he's president. How can Americans elect another puppet?

    October 15, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  17. Billy

    When Bush and the McCain took office 8 years ago there was a surplus. Eight years later look at where we are. America can not go through another 4 years of the Republican regime. Enough is enough! The party is over! GO Nancy Pelosi!

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. ava

    Let women and families along with doctors decide what they want to do and its not up to the state. I agree with McCain is completely out of control… "Joe the plumber you're rich" (smirk) how much money did McCain pay Joe the plumber for the info???? OBAMA has won this one also. HOME RUN on this debate. McCain's family has the money to adopt and with 7 houses he can house them. Look at the cabin no cell phone so they get a tower. here in rural america, we need jobs, good doctors, and schools if they have all that money lets start using it for rural america and keep jobs here. Health care we have over 55% seniors here and with all the cost going up they have to decide on electric, food or med's. lets take care of them.

    October 15, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  19. geek

    The undecideds are just the undeclared, even my wife can make a choice in 7 weeks.

    Anyone can accept criticisms for bad decisions but saying someone had bad character is rude and unbecoming.

    John McCain as the presumptive head of the Republican Party can not escape how they have botched the economy, the budget and the arrogance of governing is something that will haunt him.

    Packaging Sarah Palin as someone who has the talent to make decisions and lead is impossible. She has clearly demonstrated based on her record and her words that she is not the answer to any of our problems. However if someone needs charm and makeup tips, she might be of marginal utility.

    October 15, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. Tonya Perkins

    Hey, Josie Richards what about your punctuation. Your correcting Faye Hicks when you need to check your own message. Democrats are used to C average republicans.
    GO OBAMA!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  21. M Minter

    Whomever it is that McCain has been looking to in the audience for guidance must secretly be an Obama supporter. I'm not sure I fully understood, but I believe that McCain just said that his answer to education policy is to have "bad teachers get different jobs" and retired military start teaching. He's really thinking out of the box now.
    Wow, the rest of his answer on education is nothing but a mix of venomous sarcasm and ridiculous pandering. Obama, on the other hand, is explaining his education plan with the same grace and clarity that he has illustrated on everyone of his previous answers.

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  22. Tonya Perkins

    Obama is clearly the winner.

    October 15, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. mopar7

    ABOUT TIME !!!!!!!!

    The MAVERICK Returns.
    MCcain Won This One.
    HE ALSO WON MY VOTE !!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. Kim

    What did McCain mean by Palin is close to the issue of autism? Twice. Was McCain saying that Palin has an autistic child?

    October 15, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  25. drumstring

    I became very concerned seeing John McCain roll his eyes repeatedly while Barack Obama was speaking. Imagine if he disagrees with a leader of a foreign nation and he shows such little diplomacy and respect. The foreign relations already in jeopardy between the US and the rest of the world could become more dangerous with that kind of lack of discipline.

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
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