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. Jon Moore

    who would vote for somebody with a name like obama we need an AMERICAN president americans remember 9/11 be against terrism unlike obama

    October 15, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Tony

    I can no longer tell the difference between Bush, McCain and Palin.

    McCain has shown tonight just how unstable he truly is. Very, very sad!

    October 15, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. BRENDA

    LESLIE, YOUR GUY LOOKS UNCOMFORTABLE....DID HE USE THE REST ROOM BEFORE HE HIT THE STAGE OR HIS DEPENDS ARE SOAKED THROUGH

    October 15, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Ben

    Cynthia,
    47 million Americans are without health insurance – many of them children. The not so hidden cost to Local government is in the $100ds of millions. Does it make sense to take money away from education, infrastructure refurbishment and strengthening the miliatary just so you don't have to contribute the the health of the community?

    Think about it.

    October 15, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. susan

    JOHN STILL IS NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS HE IS DANCING AROUND THEM

    October 15, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. Adrienne

    The women loved Obama tonight! Women vote in higher numbers than men. Win Obama. McCain is an old attacking creep.

    October 15, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Richie

    ------------------------
    WHERE IS MCW'S GOSH DARNED FLAG PIN?????
    ------------------------

    October 15, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Betty

    truth – Do some research on Aires, he is a terrorist that managed to get around the system, he should be in jail right now, not teaching students in a University.

    October 15, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  9. Cynthia

    PRO-
    Explain your comment! If you believe he is going to do that educate us all in what you are talking about!

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. George

    Linda is absolutely right. "Obama is telling the nation what he thinks. That is his focus. McCain is so busy talking about Obama that he does not talk about himself."

    So far, every question that McCain was supposed to answer, he did not. He went back, attacked Obama, and praised his campaign BUT never actually answered the question. All McCain did was boohooed the whole time and did not discuss his policies. Shame on McCain.

    You know, I was actually thinking about voting for McCain until now. I wasn't sure who I was going to vote for but now I have made my decision. I do not want an angry old man in office, I want a president who knows the facts and will follow through with his policies.

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Laura

    Essentially these debates are a trial-run for meetings and discussions between our future president and other world leaders. The president is not going to agree with every other world leader, or even like every other world leader, however he must work with them. If McCain can not behave properly for a debate how are we supposed to think he can behave in an future meeting with another world leader? My 5 and 3 year old sons behave better than McCain is currently behaving. He is running over on his time, interrupting Obama, being rude to both Obama and the mediator. He also is obviously speaking from a script. He doesn't answer the questions posed to him but states whatever he has memorized next. He is not able to address any issues with any facts. He also has said that we don't need to "spread the wealth." So essentially he has said that the rich will remain as the people with the money and good luck to the other 95% of America who are in some way financially strugling because he will not do anything to help. I feel so bad for Joe the Plumber, he is going to have to pay more taxes because he makes a quarter of a million dollars a year, how is he going to afford his gold plated plunger after paying all his taxes. In the meantime the average
    American is trying to figure out how to pay for food for their families, mortgages/rent and other necessities. McCain does not agree with spending any more money when it comes to helping the average American, however if a rich person or corporation needs something he plans on taking it out of the taxes he will raise for us average Americans.

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. edd

    Palin is NOT my role model nor does she represent me as a mother. I am tired of her attacks the media. By accepting this nomination you would think she would have known that she would be put under the microscope but like she said she didn't think, I mean blink when asked.

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  13. FRANCIS

    mccain is all over the map and still not answering the questions

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. Cynthia; Bham

    The amazing thing to me is how some people believe some of the things that Senator McCain is saying. As I see it if you are rich vote for McCain because whatever he does won't matter to you unless he starts of the draft at some point and you have a child that might be drafted. If you live from paycheck to paycheck then Obama is your man.

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

    The Republicans have been trying to cut everything that help Americans, but they are willing to give our money to his rich buddies!

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

    McCain peed his pants 5 minutes after the debate began. He's lost!

    Erratic is not a strong enough word. SCHIZOPHRENIC is morr like it!

    What a pitiful way he will be remembered.

    October 15, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. argiro

    McCain is to focus on character and crises.

    a) Character:
    he is an angry, bitter, old man who gets mad because his plans lack substance and his opponent is succeeding

    b) Crises
    he only repeats what we know, what the crises are, and how they were caused – but never does he focus on how we could potentially solve them

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. Bruce

    McCain has lost it, 3 for 3. AMF Republicans...

    October 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Richie

    What does McW keep writing down? He can't remember for 30 seconds?

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. small package

    Obama just made the most important statement by telling the parents to turn off the tv's and put up the video games and instill good study habits in their children. That is straight talk that we need more of.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. Devona

    What is McCain doing? Why does he keep accusing Obama on issues "Fact Check" has already concluded is false. I am so disappointed that McCain made my choice as an INDEPENDENT voter easy! I don't even want to watch the debate anymore. Look at McCain's face he s so angry...

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. Laura

    McCain chose Sarah Palin as a way to hopefully get the female vote, because us women are too stupid to have any oppinion, we will just vote for any women on the ballot. I wonder what he thinks about those who are voting for him because of Palin. Essentially what those people are hoping is that McCain wins, then dies so Palin can take over because they don't think McCain can handle the presidency and wouldn't have voted for him without her.

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

    What the heck do you all see in Obama. Why can't you see through him and see him for what he really is. He is the one that is going to ruin Washington. He is only in the race for one reason and I just mentioned it. Don't judge a book by it's cover....and I don't mean that in a good way.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  24. Betty

    Pro I will still have the health insurance I have now working in a small law firm. YOU are just being ignorant with Obama's words

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. Didi

    For someone to say someone isn't american b/c of their name is bull crap! I was born in america but I have an Nigerian dad, He gave me an African name....you can't help what name ur parents give u! That just shows how some people are racist.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
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