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. Thomas

    Are either one of the canidates going to be able to make a change? This debate is all about the economy, can either one make a difference in 4 years?

    October 15, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  2. Cynthia; Bham

    McCain and no one else should even attempt to tell a woman what to do with her own body. In most cases he can't even tell his daughters what to do. Everybody doesn't have the kind of money that McCain & his wife has.

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  3. Elaine

    McCain is talking all around the issues and interrupting the thruth of Obamas plans. Joe the plummer is the man who stood up and is buying a building worth 250,000 dollars that is why Obama says he will be taxed. McCain is not making any sense in his plans. He rumbles on the same all comments of all the debates. Same all,
    same all

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  4. Southern Girl for Obama

    To Cynthia: Be careful. For all you know, My money is helping to pay YOUR medical benefits. Ever heard of insurance? A novel concept.

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. janforgoodusfuture

    yes, but it is so much more fun than American Idol. And listen, also hugely more important. That is why I dedicate two hours a day in following this campaign. And I started doing that November 2007

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. sabrina

    Please answer one question, mccain!

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  7. Patty

    McCain brought it up, Obama answered the accusations and now onto discussing the issues.

    October 15, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Nica for Obama, San Diego

    First, I can't believe that McCain is cutting across Obama almost everytime. STFU!! SO disrespectful! Second, McCain points out that Obama has never been to South America but Palin hasn't be ANYWHERE!! So how can he tout her foreign policy experience!?! Also, why does McCain think that because Obama didn't waste his time on town hall debates, his campaign has the right to go negative? Seriously? That's so.... grade school! McCain can't focus on explaining any of his idea's because he's so busy pointing the finger at Obama. Also, and this is truly out of concern, but what is wrong with McCain's face? The right side seems extremely puffy- my boyfriend says this is a scar from his cancer, but I don't know? Does anyone know if his health is taking a turn for the worse due to stress of the campaign?

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  9. charles

    american idol, the best guy wins. barack obama

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Watch the bottom of the screen see the down turn when McCain talks and the up turn when Obama talks.

    Maybe the FIRE is in McCains throat he keeps grunting like the Penguin

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    Pro...Are you okay, I never once heard im suggest he was against American Women. Oh but he must be if he HAS A WOMAN VP!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Felix

    Betty, what do you see in Putin's eyes?

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  13. Marie Thomas

    OMG poor Senator McCain is really desperate, he can hardly look to the people.

    He is too late to run not because of his age but because of his lack of talking.

    It is too bad Senator McCain is being so rude, I guess he is again desperate because he is losing ground BIG TIME.


    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. Betty

    Pro – you do not know what you are talking about it, if Obama gets in your employer will now have to supply you health care the government will supply it for you. Obama's plan will never work.

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  15. andrew

    mccain is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. i really have to wonder if he is not on the verge of some type of dementia. he had a great legacy before but history will show he lost it all during this campaign!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. truth

    If Ayers is such the terrorist why hasn't he been arrested like all the other terrorists? This Ayers nonsense is a lame attempt by the karl rove republicans to say obama is not only a muslim, he's also a terrorist, and anyone with critical thinking skills should be able to see that...ooops, i forgot, critical thinking isn't encouraged by right wingers.

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Not4frumpy

    It seems McCain is glowing red and getting rather frumpy. Obama very clearly explained his stance about and Senator Lewis and Ayers, I am satisfied with his explanation McCain sounds like a broken grama phone. Move on to what matters.Obama has surrounded himself with people who I believe can address the financial epidemic we are going through. In regards to Health, I dont know where i would find the additional $7000,00 to finance my health insurance. John McCain, my Insurance is not $5,800, I have a spouse and a 4 year old child that needs health insurance. We need enoculation from the old guard in Washington, that includes McCain and his economic views

    October 15, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Archie H.

    Good lord give it to one of these Bozo 's so we can start over for the next election! Do any of you politicos think any thing is going to change? They get elected and roll around in our money and their ego and con us all into making themselves rich !

    October 15, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Tony

    McCain has LOST!

    He is not coming across as a fighter, someone with answers, solutions and a plan to deal with the issues that matter to most Americans at this time.

    McCain is flailing like a sschizophrenic. Raising his eyes, sighing, acting if he is shocked and stunned.

    This debate shows just how sad and desperate he has become. McCain will be rememberd in bhistroy for teh sleazy, disrespectufl way he has run his campaign and NOT for his military record.

    October 15, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. charles

    american idol... sarah palin's baby give the kid a break sarah.

    October 15, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  21. Pro

    McCain knows nothing on any of the issues, all he does is attack and gives no details of his own so called plans, which he has none! Can anyone tell me one detail McCain has on any of the issues! And now he put down a person that speaks well, when his own running mate can not put a sentence together!

    October 15, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Adrienne

    Is McCain coked up? He keeps sniffing and he opens his eyes real big... he looked hopped up on something. He is also acting b!tchy again in this debate. He is a small petty man. Yuck!

    October 15, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Pro, what is more important, your employer health care or your taxes? At least you can get other health care from some where else, you cannot get your taxes back.

    October 15, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Pro


    McCain will end health care all together!

    So stop lying to yourself!

    October 15, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Obama is telling the truth.. I am currently reading the audacity of hope.. and some of the things Mccain is trying to lie about , Obama speaks the truth in the book.. Read the book and truth u will find

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