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. Laura

    Palin is NOT my role model as a mother, career woman or human. McCain seems to think that Palin's experience as a mother of an autistic child is enough experience to be VP, he also thinks that she for some reason has more experience in this situation than any other mother of an autistic child. It doesn't matter that she only has one autistic child and some mothers have several. He also fails to see that his harping on the fact that she is the mother of a special needs child just shows that she needs to focus more on her family and may not be the best person as a running mate.

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. bainwashed

    you are being BRAINWASHED DO YOU CONSTANTLY HEAR THE NAME OBAMA, OBAMA ? SUBLIMINAL MESSAGES ARE BEING SENT THRU THE TV SET. YOUR LYING FRIEND IS USING YOU NIEVE BRIAN TO MAKE YOU HEAR HIS NAME AT ALL TIMES. GEORGE ORWELL 1984. Warned of this and your Worship of this evil doer.If you want to know what Obama is really uo to go to Atlah.org. You WILL HEAR ABOUT HIS PLANS TO DESTROY AMERICA.

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. Frances Vaughn

    McCain r4rants about Obama NOT taking the public's money, to run his campaign. IT'S HIS MONEY given readily by millions of Americans. Better that, than using our (taxpayers) money...we wouldn't have had any to give to the banks!

    And another thing...isn't welfare defined as " relying or depending on government relief" ?
    Hooray! It's over...no more blinking or clenching of teeth!
    He's back to HIS record! and "careful stewards".

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Cynthia

    Pro-
    You completely ignored my past posts for your explanations. I guess its fair to say you have no argument.

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. Roc

    My friends, McCain lost this one too. Obama 3-0 !!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. Didi

    Is anyone tired as I am! Obama did/is doing a great job! I'm over it now I know who I'm voting for. McCain grow up and stick with what u are going to do and go into more details and stop trying to stick it to Obama, and the fact that u were a POW doesn't mean u automatically get Americas vote. It also doesn't mean you know how to be president.

    October 15, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  7. Cynthia

    McCain WAS calm and collected through the 1st and 2nd debate. He needed to take the gloves off this time.

    October 15, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. Felix

    Think Bush is eating a pretzel?... Palin needs to go hunting with Cheney...

    October 15, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. Betty

    Obama needs to stop doing his loooong responses that put you to sleep...

    October 15, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  10. TX for Obama

    Wow where is this dude flag pin and he blinks about 100 time's a min check that out! he look's like he is needing his next fix why is he all over the place, Obama is so cool and laid back .

    October 15, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  11. med

    McCain is sooo condescending and has no composure! I'm tired of his empty promises (balance the US budget in 4 years...good luck).

    October 15, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. Pro

    McCain is a 72 year old baby!

    October 15, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  13. Che

    Obama and McCain's responses to the question regarding education policy suggests both understand what is lacking in America's education system. However, Obama knows something about effective education that McCain does not. Obama's education solution is informed by the very history that McCain suggests confirms Obama is a friend of a domestic terrorist.

    October 15, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  14. LARRY SIMPSON

    My concern is healthcare. Sen McCain was off on cost...Sen.Obama was correct....my cost is is 12,000 dollars per year and rising...that does not include dental and life...I work nearlu eighty houirs a week to cover insurance cost. Thank You

    October 15, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  15. an EYE FOR an EYE

    Angry Mcain was back again.

    October 15, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  16. Betty

    Obama just wants to tell how to live how to raise our children, Get out of our lives and stop trying to take half my salary.

    October 15, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. Christine CT

    MCCAIN: 0 FOR 3

    October 15, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. Pro

    McCain finally said it he will tax our Health care benefits! Health Care is over now!

    October 15, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. John

    There is one thing that I must say that is truthful from the McCain camp. McCain must change the conversation from policy to personality.

    October 15, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. Jack Six Pack

    Well we have seen the final act of John McCain – grin and lie!

    October 15, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  21. CHRISTIAN VOTER

    christians take a stand vote for a man that will swear in on the bible IN GOD WE TRUST

    October 15, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  22. CH

    I think it's AMAZING that the ONLY time McCain has kept a straight face so far tonight is when he was saying that Palin would make a better president than Biden. HOW DID HE DO THAT? Simply amazing!

    McCain is a pouty, sarcastic, mud slinging, strange man. Presidential? NO WAY.

    Obama/Biden '08 & '12!

    October 15, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. White Christian Mother for Obama

    McCain is all about him... it was him saying the tone of his campaign (which is negative) might have been different if Obama agreed to town hall meetings. Well how mature is that? He is like HOW OLD?? You think he was 5yrs old!!

    Tax breaks for the Rich.. all about him..

    Complaining about the negative campaining which his party is the worst in history on that..

    He acted like a child up there.

    October 15, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. Betty

    You liberals say McCain in old and gone. Obama is just full of it

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

    McNasty lost!

    October 15, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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