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. Joe Sixpack

    McCain/Palin, America's only choice!

    October 15, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  2. Betty

    There you liberals go againg, right away Obama won. GIVE ME A BREAK, he just talks and talks and talks about nothing. Reminds me of the tv show Seinfeld. Obama is nothing

    October 15, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. James

    The contestants on American Idol are all smarter than Palin and McCain. What a joke those 2 are.

    October 15, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  4. GINA


    October 15, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. Roc

    What is the problem with the rich speading the wealth? They can afford the higher taxes, spas, country clubs etc, etc, etc, etc..... and still have profits higher than most salaries. The country is struggling. We as "Americians" cannot be selffish. Vote for change.

    October 15, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Denise

    McCain is all about himelf. He thinks he will make a better president because he is a Vet. and served his country. We do not need another hot head to lead this country. He talked about Palin being a role model for women. News flash McCain, most women are not amused by Palin right now. We all know that he picked her for VP to get most of the women votes. He only picked her because he is a woman and if he would of picked her thinking she will do a great job then hen wouldn't of picked her at all. She seems like she is not doing a good job as a Govr. what makes you think she will do one as a VP.

    October 15, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  7. Cynthia; Bham

    Joe Six Pack – I hope that you are rich.

    October 15, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. renewedrnc

    To mmd, you said Noone owns Obama. Is that Peter Noone from the Herman's Hermits.

    October 15, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  9. california

    Obama was so much more clearer than McCain in this last debate. It was very easy to understand. He not only explain his plans in detail and clearly, but he also explained McCain's own plans and programs, because McCain seemes to confuse everyone and go back and around and puzzle everyone. I lost track of what McCain would say. He starts off by condemning what Obama says and adds false facts. That response to Obama's response about the "Zero payment" made McCain look like an idiot not knowing what to say and bringing back Joe the plumber and talking about small businesses. What??

    October 15, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. Isaiah

    McCain is STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. DEBBIE

    McCain looks scattered some say his debate was strong. He looks like he is Mentally Disturbed and its scary to think this would be the man with his finger on the RED BUTTON. I Believe he needs a mental diagnosis. He was erractic, cartoonish like manaic. Its sad to know he is a represenative in U.S.Congress. BARRACK seemed more diginified,more Presidential some one I could trust in a difficult conflict in World Affairs. So PLEASE VOTE FOR Barrack OBAMA

    October 15, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Ben

    it is interesting but sad. We think that we are not a socialist country.

    We just forked over $700,000,000,000 to save institutions have been given free reign package high risk derivatives that have lead to the worst banking crisis since the depression.

    I like Obama's ideas on community responsibility and don't like the Bush/McCains idea to continue down the road to financial ruin.

    October 15, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. andrea

    It is clear that Mccain used the last of his prescripted comments and put downs. It is clear that he is completely out of touch with the direction this country should be lead. Obama was yet again well spoken , direct and informative. He clearly won this debate as he did the other two.

    October 15, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  14. Roc

    McCain is just like Bush. Bush interest is oil, McCain's is housing. Thats why his plan suggest they buy all the houses. There has to be a conflict of interest somewhere!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. keith north

    Mc Cain was on his way to victory then the grumpy old man came out and it was down hill from there obama gets my vote!!

    October 15, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  16. About the Truth

    Mr Jon Moore,

    What level of education have you completed? Clearly, you are not that intelligent..I think you meant terrorism.

    October 15, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. Nate

    I love Sen. John M. However i'm with Sen. Obama, He covered the issues that me and my family are faced with. Thats my final answer.

    October 15, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  18. Barb

    Once again, Obama was very smooth, smiling condescendingly at some of McCain's points, careful with his words ("we'll look at that"), eloquent and arrogant. Reminds me of Slick Willy ! (what IS the meaning of "is" ?). Choosing a Supreme Court Justice on his idea of "fairness" for certain Americans is a recipe for disaster! What about just choosing someone who follows the LAW and our Constitution.
    McCain won the debate, hands down!

    October 15, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  19. I'm Dreamin of a Blue Dixie

    Palin shoulda told ( I mean advised ) Sen. McCain on her "no blink" policy!

    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. CH

    Doesn't Palin's son have Down Syndrome...NOT autism? Why did crazy McSame keep saying she knows so much about AUTISM? Does HE know there's a difference?

    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. Lisa T.

    Shame on CNN!!! Will only print negative McCain comments. Many folks felt Obama was flat out LYING!!!!!!!!!!!! Why don't you post that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  22. Karen

    This was excrutiating. McCain CONTINUED to spread lies and what really drives me nuts – SOME PEOPLE ARE BELIEVING THEM!!!! If you are even remotely considering voting for McCain and Palin you need to check out fact check. They just keep going back to the inflamatory lies over and over again! This is what we would be in for on a much larger scale if by some absurd chance McCain won.

    I can't begin to describe my lack of respect for Palin. I am a woman and she WILL NEVER be a role model for me. And if anyone has been destructive in this campaign – it is her!

    I'm disgusted. Somehow they seem to believe that by correcting the lies that McCain has been telling that Obama has been running a negative campaign. This coming from the campaign who has said the most vicious personal attacks and Palin has whipped up horrific nastiness to the point where some attendees at her rallys to yell things like "off with his head", "terrorist", and "kill him". She just SMILED. I don't want that scum in the White House – she needs to go back to Alaska.

    October 15, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  23. cmil22

    Finally put Ayers to rest! Now get over it McCain!!! go and vote with Bush one last time!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  24. JS

    Obama won the debate, McCain clearly upset most of the time. I'm sorry Joe Th Plumber, but Obama is right some folks have to toe the line. I wish I made more than $250,000. I'd be happy to give a couple of thousand extra as opposed to making my measily $75,000. Those folks are still on top compared to the few!

    October 15, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. Jim in Indiana




    October 15, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
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