October 15th, 2008
09:38 PM ET
14 years ago

Sanchez: Campaign like a long season of American Idol

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/art.walkout.jpg]
The presidential contest has degenerated into an overlong season of American Idol. Obama is the finalist with the charm and charisma - the fan favorite. McCain can still win but, unlike Obama whom the media has put on the fast track to victory, his pathway forward is indeed a tough row to hoe. He has to overcome voter fatigue, anxiety about the economy and America's habit of tossing a party out of power after eight years.

Despite the gloomy outlook, McCain has been in tough spots before; and we know how that turned out. It's a wise political observer who never bets against him. The race, according to at least a few polls, is closing - not by much - and it will continue to tighten.

For McCain, tonight's debate will not be won by defining complex policy issues or a new grand idea. It doesn't work. His focus must be on the two C's: character and crises.

Character matters to McCain as an election issue and a defining issue of his life. He's yet to make the strong character argument, which outlines how he put his country first and Obama took a pass.

Secondly, he must convince undecided voters why he's best prepared to navigate this country through a crisis-filled environment, now and in the future.

soundoff (466 Responses)
  1. aha

    aha so true.
    American politcis, very flashy.

    October 15, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  2. Ryan

    McCAIN won't win unless he pushes the character abyss that is Obama.

    October 15, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. ST

    Is it just me or is McCain being very rude tonight? You can be agressive without coming off as a jerk! He doesn't seem to know a balance. Can you imagine him talking to foreign leaders?! That would be a nightmare.

    October 15, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. dustin

    i don't know which polls she's been looking at, virginia leaned towards obama today

    October 15, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. brian

    Right, yet wrong.

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. Diana

    this debate sucks.. i made my choice though... is american idol on?

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. SimplyObama

    I think McCain is angry and he looks tired. He's all over the place in his communications. What's wrong with him?

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. Disappointed Republican

    McCain is irratic!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  9. John

    More like an idol season with Untalented Contastants!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. ST

    Gee, I wounder whose side you're on, Sanchez? Can we please get an unbiased opinion?

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  11. Drew

    McCain sounds like a grumpy old man and the lack of respect he shows Obama is transparent and astounding.

    October 15, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. Truthfighter

    game over...McCain just lost for sure.

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. White Christian Mother for Obama

    I read about Ayers and I never seen him say that!! I seen him say he regrets alot of what happened in the past... most people do when they reach 60 years of age.. give it a break!!! People grow up!! Ayers was a young young adult at that time and fighting about the Vietnam war.. many were!!! He paid his price and rose above it!!

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Geeeeeez – just like the talk shows – once a rep. starts talking they won't shut up. We don't want to hear the lies again and again. They are in all the ads here in NC and they turned us off to McCain.

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. David

    So is McCain the "WONG" dude???

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. sabrina

    This debate stinks, can they please talk about the issues!

    Sabrina , NJ

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Rob

    besides the fact that more americans vote in american idol. loooool.

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. Lisa/Minnesota

    If his character matters so much he's slaughtered his own. I used to have respect for the man, but after he picked Mrs Palin as his running mate and all the lies she tells and her KKK rallies I've lost all respect. He make poor decisions.

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. saint paul mn

    I AM SO SICK OF MCCAIN,
    WHY IS HE SO DEFENSIVE
    WHY CAN HE BE HONEST
    HE CONTINUES TO LIE

    I WAN TO HEAR FROM OBAMA ; MORE SOLUTIONS

    BUT I CAN NOT STAND THIS MCSAME PERSON it is a shame shame shame

    did he put lots of makeup a
    and

    he keeps breathing so hard i can hear it

    he is angry
    looks like he will come out of his little old suit

    this is terrible
    the moderator needs to take congtrol of this mess

    starting to look like the economic crisis

    October 15, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. mark

    why WHAT poll is the race closing??

    isn't the gap widening by MOST polls?

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. zuq

    I believe Barack has nailed the coffin shut tonight. McCain still has no answers. http://www.BarackForUs.com

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  22. Cynthia; Bham

    Sanchez, he may have been in a tough spot before and recovered but I I don't see it this time. He at times looks like he wants to explode and that is not a good thing.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  23. amandazz

    And McCain's song is "its my pary and I'll cry if I want to" Stop it and stop being personal I want to hear the issues.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. Nancy

    Oh Leslie, you are always the partisan!! McCain cannot still win. Americans do not want an angry, sarcastic, and erratic (YES he is too erratic) man in the white house, especially with the likes of bimbo idiot Sarah Palin!

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  25. tom

    Exactly, Obama is JFK all over again. I didn't know great speakers made great Presidents. Interesting.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
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