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. Was a Republican

    McCain used to command respect accross the board. It saddens me to see such a previously respected man stoop so low

    October 15, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. adg

    Everytime Mccain talked my bloodpreasure went up. Obama was in control and when He spoke I felt a little better, I cant see Mccain running this country with his temperment.. I vote Obama!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. Old White Guy

    Who is John McCain – he is an angry old man stuck with republican failed ideologies and an airhead for a running mate.

    John McCain's ideas will drag America into a prolonged depression that will only benefit the rich elite, like him and cindy.

    October 15, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. ohio voter

    iT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF sENATOR MCCAIN WOULD HAVE GIVEN sARAH pALINS SON TRIG THE CORRECT NAME OF HIS ILLNESS,,, tHE BABY DOESN'T HAVE AUTISM HE HAS DOWN SYNDROME,,, gEEEZZZZZ

    October 15, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  5. BENNY

    THIS DEBATE WAS NO DIFFERENT, OBAMA GAVE CLEAR CONCISE ANSWERS AND MCCAIN CONTRADICTED AND TRIED TO TWIST EVERYTHING OBAMA SAID. MCCAIN LACKED OR FAILED TO SHOW VISION.

    I COMMEND OBAMA FOR NOT STATING THE OBVIOUS ABOUT PALIN, WHEN MCCAIN TOOK THE LOW ROAD AND CRITICISED BIDEN.

    October 15, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. Ons

    I think Obama did real good in handling the issue of education , economy and he gave specification and insights on how he will achieve success on this while McCain was trying to drag in the issue of division, McCain was the first to run negative ads and he could not even defend himself neither could he defend Sarah’s comments. Obama was clear to the point and specification and McCain was just trying to drag the whole debate to Lewis comments forgetting his running mates comments on Obama, Obama portrayed leadership while McCain was on Karl Rove style of politics that people are tired of already. McCain thought he will get Obama on abortion but the answer Obama gave was clear we need to relax the whole adoptions process do you know why it’s Easy to Adopt from China that from here? We need to work together in educating young people. McCain said am not Bush but that’s the same failed policies you are running on Obama has clear vision to what he will do and achieve.

    Thank you Obama awesome job not forgetting Joe

    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. Old Guy who seen this before

    Wouldn't it be nice if John McCain could actually tell the truth?

    John McCain is twitching and shifting in his seat trying with all him will power to sell the same old Bush economic plan with a new wrapper.

    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Oh, Frances above. Watch the news dear, Obama came on television soon after the John Lewis comment and said that he was wrong for equating McCain with George Wallace. I saw it, my vision is 20/20...wonder why you and McCain failed to see it. I also read about it in my local paper, the Post, the Times, and many other periodicals. I guess, like Governor Palin, you and McCain don't read the newspaper either!!!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  9. Jim

    What was so funny with McCain all he could was smirk.

    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. Canta

    Do you want Joe the plumber to give you a job or pay more in taxes. Can't do both. You decide.

    McCain/Palin

    October 15, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. From Arizona

    IT'S OVER, PERIOD! WE CAN IDENTIFY ALL KINDS OF SITUATION IN MCAIN'S EYES. FIRST AND FORMOST, HE CAN'T EVEN LOOK STRAIGHT FORWARD OR LOOK FOCUS ON HIS SUBJECT. IF ANYONE WOULD HAVE NOTICED THAT HIS EYES LOOKED INSECURED, HAD TO LOOK AT SENATOR OBAMA, BACK AND FORTH ON THE CAMERA AND OBAMA, LOOKED SCARY TO ME.

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. INDEPENDANT VET

    OK!!! YOU WITNESSED IT , HE WOULD NOT TRY AND PUT
    THE FIRE OUT FROM THE GEORGIA CONGRESS MAN !!
    SO JUST SHOWS HOW SICKING OBAMA IS. SO MANY LIES AND TIES , ACORN , AN YOU SEE COMING OUT ALL THE FOREIGN COUNTRIES CONTRIBUTING TO HIS CAMPAIN , AND OVER THE LIMIT'S.

    I TAKE IT THAT IS FOR ACORN TO DIG UP MORE OF THE DEAD FOR ELECTION DAY .

    WAY TO MUCH IN THE OBAMA CONTAINER , WHY SOME ASKED , CONTAINER , WELL HIS CLOSET HAS OVER FILLED.

    THIS IS HOLLYWOOD , AT PRIME TIME , WRIGHT REZKO . THAT IS GOING TO HAVE TO COME UP WITH SOME ANSWERS ALSO .

    SO AS IT IS , MAVRICKS ALL THE WAY , SEND HIS DUMPSTER BACK TO THE SOUTH SIDE. THEN IT WILL END UP IN INDIANA LAND FILLS, UNDER WASTE MANAGEMENT .

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. Barb

    Reading all the comments from Obama supporters is instructive.
    Most of you seem very emotional, ignorant of the facts and McCain's record, as well as Obama's, and quite willing to throw verbal trash!
    Get a Grip !! Name calling in these comments does nothing but reveal your own lack of control.

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  14. Was a Republican

    McCain needs tokeep his kool

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  15. leba

    Mccain GIVE UP! sorry.

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  16. Jim from Illinois

    what was so funny with McCain all he could do was smirk and grin on imporant issues.

    October 15, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. James

    I have thought for a longtime that the campaign was way to long, but the cream does come to the top when churned and this time you can see the difference from a born leader that runs a organized campaign and a boring leader that runs a erratic unorganized campaign. I believe that their white house would fallow the same way. McCain boring erratic and uneventful (maybe dangerous) and Obama smooth carefully thought out and well organized (Maybe very successful)

    October 15, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. Yolander Newsom

    YES, SEN. MCCAIN WE KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT PRESIDENT BUS AND NO Sen. Obama shouldn't have run 4 years ago. I respect you Sen. McCain but not your policies. God put Bush into office to warn the American people about candidates like you! Therefore, Sen. Obama is running in the right race. He is definately the best candidate.

    October 15, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  19. Jim from Illinois

    My Friends,my friends, my friends , myfriends McClain lost this one. My friends.

    October 15, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  20. Rj

    It's Over!!! TOUCHDOWN! FOR OBAMA!

    October 15, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  21. Latino Independents

    OBAMA has never been to a Latin American Country much less our neighbor Mexico??? Are You kidding me......

    Unreal

    October 15, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  22. Betty

    All of you liberals keeping talking about what McCain looked like. What does that have to do with being president.

    McCain is not lying when, Obama won't say the truth about Aires, ACORN or his tax plan health insurance. He really thinks the american people are stupid to believe he can change the world . where everybody will have health insurance and spread the wealth, and only 5 % will pay taxes. WOW its amazing there are some people that will fall for it. BE INFORMED!!!! not with just words!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  23. JS

    Down Syndrome not Autism, well it is apparent that McCain knows just about at much about Pailn as she does about McCain. What a pair!

    October 15, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  24. PatS

    Nothing different tonight. Senator Obama held his own and Senator McCain at this late stage of the election...still floundering.

    October 15, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  25. Betty

    Give it a rest on Palin's daughter,

    October 15, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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