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. Obama

    And Barack Obama is the last politician standing...
    also, notice Obama had to answer to Ayers, but Obama was genuined enough to avoid Keating 5... Obama is a true gentlemen.

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  2. JOHNSON & JOHNSON

    I am amazed, I only watch Fox after debates for the amusing spin, but EVEN Fox is saying McCrypt lost it.

    Yeah I felt the earth move on it's axis too!

    Game Over!

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. sherryg

    You might have seen the fighter pilot in Senator McCain, but I saw our next president in Senator Obama.

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Republican for Obama

    McCain showed how angry and erratic he is, he is just a nasty and desperate person. The debate also reminded us how horribly unqualified Palin is. This Republican family is voting for Obama.

    Obama '08!

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. Joe citizen abroad in Canada

    McCain comes off like Montgomery Burns.

    October 15, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. No McCain/No Palin

    Obama: clear, concise, intelligent answers. He looked very presidential, professional and would be a good leader

    McCain: Attack, attack, attack with false information. He looked angry, arrogant, pissed, very disrespectful

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. Obama

    To that Christian voter...
    it's a good thing Obama is a Christian.

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Jocely

    John Mccain spent more time criticizing Obama’s plan and he spent more time on negative atacks tonight, didn’t talk about the economy, spent more time talking about Obama’s plan, but failed to talk about his plan.

    Jocely

    NY

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Cynthia; Bham

    McCain was not effective to me because all he did was attack. He did not tell the American people anything other than the fact that he did not believe in Roe v Wade and for a lot of women that is not a good thing and that he and Cindy adopted a baby – can they adopt all of the babies that will be out there if Roe v Wade is overturned. Duh

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. NC voter

    McCain did come on strong.....PATHETICALLY!! Obama did not take the bait, remained presidential and stuck to the issues we the voters are concerned about.
    McCain and Palin ignore the questions in the debates and are more concerned in tearing down the opponent that informing us what they will do.
    Kudos to Bob S. - the BEST moderator.
    Cant' wait for the fact checks - hope media does a good job of that this time.

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  11. Alexander

    I must say, I was impressed with tonight's debate. Obama did good, and McCain did better than he has in the past. Both were solid, but I think Obama was caught a little off guard on some of the accusations regarding ACORN. And McCain put forth some great points about spending freezes on Govt.

    October 15, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. America think for you

    Barack Obama just won the debate.

    October 15, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  13. Betty

    Words just Words,,,who said that you liberals...

    Look at the record of the two..It says a lot. Even Biden said it best a few months ago. We need an experience president not a 2 year senator that half the time he has been running for President

    October 15, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. renewedrnc

    Senator McCain gave his health tax credit. $5000 per family. Senator Obama in 3 debates has not given the cost to the individual or family. Senator McCain has asked him in the last 2 debates. NO ANSWER. What is Senator Obama not telling the public.

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. Pro

    Obama uses his brain, MCCain uses nasty comments! Mr Angry man lost!

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. Joe Sixpack

    I'm sick and tired of CNN's moderator eliminating any thing to do with McCain that's positive.

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. Pro

    I am not a liberal, i ma a registered Independent!

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  18. 1 thing said it all to me!!

    When I heard last week on the news that Obama during the vote in the senate to vote for fungds for the troops that Obama stayed in the Senate coat room and would not come out to vote either way that told me all I needed to know about this chicken s--.

    October 15, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  19. Marsha Harris

    I'm voting for Senator Barack Obama because he has proven that he's able to reach across the aisle to get things done. He will surround himself with the people that have the expertise that he needs when he gets to the White House.

    Go Obama!

    M. Harris in Delaware

    October 15, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  20. Jan

    I am PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN. McCain is negative and can not focus on the issues. He repeats himself OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER...A BROKEN RECORD

    October 15, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  21. Lupe

    I did not enjoy the conduct of Senetor McCain. He seem angry and out of touch with his temper . For Senetor Obama, He seem patient and steady with McCain.

    October 15, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  22. Bitsey Smith

    An excellent debate between a gentleman and an angry, bitter and rude old man. Anyone watching should know which one was which. Also the old man interrupted often, sneered constantly and prove without a doubt that he is not fit for the highest office in the USA.

    October 15, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Mike

    On the two C's. Obama won hands down. Obama's Character came through unscathed. On the economic Crises Obama has sound plans and McCain has tired old talking points. Obama clearly came out ahead on every important issue.

    October 15, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  24. Ken in NC

    McCain looked like a man tired from a long run tonight. Maybe he should find one of his houses and take a long rest. He appeared to be upset a few times tonight at Obama. He did better in this debate that the other two but I think it was to little to late.

    Obama won the debate.

    October 15, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. Lisa from AZ

    Bob S. that is how to moderate a debate! AWESOME. Obama 08

    October 15, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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