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. Betty

    excuse me I mean her son,,

    October 15, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. J.C.

    Yes, we should cut it short to three months. But then Obama will never be able to beat Hillary. A shorter campaign doesn't give enough time for newbies to gain name recognition.

    October 15, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  3. Marty, FL

    Once again, the debate was won by Obama. He came across more composed, calm, and presidential.

    McCain seemed angry and awkward at times in his body language. His loud breaths while Obama was speaking were distracting and somewhat disrespectful.

    McCain also sounded divisive by targeting Democrats, while Obama reached out to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in a unifying manner.

    Obama/Biden '08
    Hands Down...

    October 15, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  4. renewedrnc

    Senator Obama agrees with Senator McCain that he believes Charter Schools are a good idea, but he disagrees on vouchers. Now if you are a parent and a charter school is not available in your area, with Senator Obama's plan you will pay for your childs education. Senator McCain's voucher plan allows you to use a voucher to pay for your child's education. What is very petty about these blogs, nobody is arguing their plans. You viewers are looking at the faces, listening to the tone, but are missing the message.

    October 15, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. nelda

    McCain may not LOOK like Bush or have his DNA, but he sure does act a lot like him! McCain has a real record of voting 90% with Bush and that would have been a great comeback line for Obama; however, Obama is a man of grace and has dignity.

    McCain looks old, and tired. Not presidential at all.

    October 15, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. Nicey

    For the last 25year of my life I have voted for a white president and trusted him to the fullest. Whats is the problem when its a afican american?

    October 15, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  7. Candace Grube California

    McCain keeps emphasing Palin and special needs children – Lets face it that is the only experience that Palin brings to the party. Oh and John, in order to help special needs children you have to spend some money -

    On McCain's Plan to Bail out people in foreclosure: He says that he will purchase the toxic mortgages from Banks at full value so the banks win and then re-finance these mortgages reflecting the true value of the homes.

    So.... Lets say I am one of the 95% whose home is not in foreclosure but I have a mortgage that is also higher then the value of my home – Then why don't I get to re-finance and get the same equity gain ??

    October 15, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  8. Rj

    I just heard Sen. McCain openly admitted that Sen. Obama won the debate. Right after the debate Sen. McCain told Sen Obama "Good Job! Good Job! Good Job!

    Now what's the spin for?

    October 15, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. joe lunchbucket

    I couldn't believe Mc Cain;s marmy face and Grade School rhetoric. Get the sot some school vouchers!
    IHis strategy is as old as politics (McCain) Attack, attack, attack and kep your opponebt off his game. BUT Obama, (presidential timbre ) parried all his cheap barely truthful attaks.
    Listening to them both decided me OBAMA IS PRESIDENT. Now if Florida doesn't.......>

    October 15, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  10. God Bless America

    McCain Could NEVER win on Character!!!!!!!!! This is a man who Cheated and left his first wife. Then LIED about his Age to his second wife. Chose Sarah Palin after meeting her TWICE maybe! Can be QUOTED in 2008 saying GEORGE BUSH is doing a fine job as President! This is The BEST OF THE REPUBLICANS. SAAAAAAAD!

    October 15, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  11. Senator Government

    1. The Democrats control Congress. Congress is just as much at fault here, they are just less visible than Bush.
    2. If Obama was so concerned with change, he would not have picked a Washington insider as his running mate.
    3. Hitler was a great orator. When Germany was having trouble economically, the Germans thought he would be a great way to change things....just saying.

    October 15, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  12. freedom

    McCain is not a socialist, Obama's backers and advisors are socialists, its who he hangs with, Geo. Soros the Peters woman who banned all the guns in australia, and now Uraguay, he wants us next to be a socialist country. redistrubute the wealth which will kill jobs and make a lot of people complacent. Anyone who votes Obama needs serious help!

    October 15, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. Hopeful

    McCain is the "American Idol" that you wonder how he made it as far as he did. How did HE make it to the finals?

    October 15, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  14. Kate Fergus

    Well character and crisis didn't work. And Republicans shouldn't be so happy about the line "I am not George Bush".

    I think it is a great line for Obama to use in his next ad. It goes like this.

    "McCain says, 'I am not George Bush'! Well if that is so, why did he vote with George Bush 90% of the time".

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  15. Travis

    I can’t wait till the 5th when the demarcates are the winning team agene lets hope that there is not any more funny stuff like with the bush mess

    October 15, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  16. db

    The American people are rising up to show the are paying attention, and DO care..
    "I have NEVER been more proud of my country"...

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12 !

    October 15, 2008 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  17. Jennifer from Atlanta

    I am an Independent who went from supporting McCain years ago to supporting Hillary in the primaries. It has been a loooooooonnng season and I am ready for this to be over.

    I am proud to have already cast my vote for Barack Obama. His steady, even, intelligent leadership is what we need to help get this country out of the pit of darkness dug by the Republicans. VIVA PRESIDENTE OBAMA!! Now let's get to work fixing this country!

    October 15, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  18. So sick o mccain

    So sick and tired of mccains stupid lies. Why can't he just shut up already?? His smile is so creepy....... and he needs to stop rolling his eyes at everything obama says and everything else he does is creepy. And he needs to control his temper too. So many problems with him, he definitely cannot be the person controllng our country. And he repeats himself soooo much.

    Obama is the man for the job!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    Obama carried himself well, he stayed on the issues that matter and he gave a clear plan. Mccain could not even bring himself to say that his own running mate is qualified to be President of the United States. Wow!!

    October 15, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  20. tony

    If Joe the Plummer doesn't like the Obama's idea of being taxed for profiting more than 250k a year, here's an idea. Joe, give each of your employees a raise you greedy jerk. Reduce your profit to 240K, help your employees make a better living and you'll be just fine.

    October 15, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  21. renewedrnc

    Anonymous, you said Senator Obama said John Lewis was wrong. Senator Obama really said he did not agree with John Lewis, but he was justified. In the dictionary the word justified means to prove or show to be just, right or reasonable. Where did you read wrong.

    October 15, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  22. teenager

    McCain: Heres 5000 for your health insurance!

    American: THANKS, were do i go to buy it?

    October 15, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  23. joe lunchbucket

    Mc Cain ihas shown his truie colors, BUT I have no idea what they are!!!!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. Jim from Illinois

    Did I hear that Sara's baby had Autism'

    I thought the baby had Down Syndrome, I s that all McCain did that I would have thought he had paid more attention.

    October 15, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  25. Bea Gold

    McCain knows he made a mistake when he chose Palin and her husband as his running mate. He is to old; he has served our country well but he needs to retire and go spend time with his rich beautiful wife. The one he left his sick handicapped wife for. I don't see him out there supporting the handicapped. He told lies about Obama and Ayers but, to show how decent Obama is he neversaid anything about Palin's abuse of power or her and her husband's membership in the AIP. A know anti-American party. Those members are probably the ones shouting kill Obama. McCain and the Palins seems to get off on those dangerous people.

    October 15, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19