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. Ben

    Betty,

    How old are you? Do you have any direct knowledge of what was happening in the 60s?

    The times they are a changing.

    October 15, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. Cynthia

    Ben, I am not saying dont give children health care. Let me put this simply. I worked hard for what I have that is the American dream is it not? Frankly I dont like the idea of supporting Lazy America. Of course they like the idea of taxing the rich, its free money for them. 30% of my income goes to taxes. Obama is talking about increasing that to almost 50! If I have to pay 50% of my income Id rather quit my job and take unemployment!!

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. j

    I think McCain is spending at least half the time spewing outright lies, distortions, and otherwise avoiding the issues. He claims he "knows how" but never expalins how, which leaves me to believe he doesn't know. He whined about how much money Obama had to spend. He avoid answering questions directly or changed the subject.

    I thought Obama was concise with his answers, was presidential and his answers had substance, not to mention that heactually answered the question asked.

    I thought the whole thing about Ayers & Acorn was an unneccessary distraction. No points to McCain.

    October 15, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. Tim

    Again McCain sounds like a foaming mouth mad man. Is medical folks alailable cause he sounds like he is about to have a stroke.

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  5. Same Ol' Politics

    Will someone please give us "JUST THE TRUTH" and solvent solutions that will save our jobs, help us send our kids to college, dependable health care and protect our retirement funds for when we retire. Both Candidates keep losing my attention and i dont want to settle for the lesser of two evils, I want solutions! These debates are a waste of money and time, its time to act!

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  6. Richie

    Betty - Ayers doesn't matter. It doesn't matter.

    Palin's kid does NOT have autism. He has Down's syndrome. Does McW not know the difference?

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Cynthia; Bham

    If McCain mentions that Obama didn't do the town hall meetings with him one more time I am going to scream and I'm surprised that he hasn't said my friends tonight – he normally does.

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. RK

    please. Not another four years of McBush policy. I lost everything

    October 15, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  9. Richie

    Palin's kid does NOT have autism. He has Down's syndrome. Does McW not know the difference?

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. Tony

    McCain is TOTALLY out of it.

    He keeps talking about autism and Palin's son.

    Someone should have told teh old fool taht her sone has DOWNE SYNDROME!!!!!

    Not autism!

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    Betty. Ben is right, the times are changing. Our democracy is falling, and the change America and Ben wants is socialism(Obama)!

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  12. Charles Jameson from Idaho

    McCain had a unique opportunity to prove himself as a calm and collected leader. But he comes off as irascible, condescending and self-righteous. His need to constantly attack Obama also leaves him prone to easy counterpunches and throws him off message.

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  13. Pro

    McCain is a Jerk and Rude!

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. George

    McCain did not even answer why Palin would be a better president than Biden. I hope all you hockey moms, soccer moms, six pack Joes, Main Street Americans, and Joe Plumbers are listening to the nonsense that is coming out of McCain's mouth. (No offense to anyone, just trying to prove a point that that is all Palin has.)

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Cynthia; Bham

    Senator McCain is soooooo rude!

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  16. rose

    they emphasize kids with autism only because of Palin, had Palin not had a special needs child, such interest groups would be ignored under Mccain. Mccain is suffering verbal vomit. His body language reveals so much negativity. Obama is great.

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  17. Bruce fron Virginia

    McCain has lost this one, too. He just does not have the intellect or grasp of the issues that McCain has. Also, he's gonna burst a vein in his head before the campaign is over.

    October 15, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. JOHNSON & JOHNSON

    Some one needs to check McCrypt"s Depends!

    With all that angry straining and grunting, they must be full!

    And please, Sanchez, tell him to stop with the death rattle chuckle, it is creeping me out!

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  19. Felix

    Again, Mac wants all these government programs to receive aid, but wants a spending freeze. BTW, vouchers in school do not work...

    October 15, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  20. Ellie, MD

    McCAIN IS CRYING THE BLUES!

    McCAIN IS CRYING THE BLUES!!!

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

    Can McCain stop interrupting Senator Obama? Does he know what respect is? Apparently not – since his plans don't show any toward those who are not rich or multimillionaires.

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

    It's over. I'll miss the old fool. (NOT!)

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  23. MireyaInParis

    McCain is rude.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  24. Cynthia

    Ayers MATTERS! It shows Barack Hussein Obama may show the same beliefs in Communism! He needs to explain What was going on with that relationship. He touched it in this debate but he didnt go deeply enough into it. McCain should have pushed him harder on that.

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  25. Richie

    Did McW SNORT? Did he SNORT on National TV? Can he not even speak for 2 minutes without tripping all over himself?

    October 15, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
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