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. Derek (FL)

    McCain just wasted 15 minutes of this debate to try and get an apology for a comment from a person not on Obama's campaign. Wow. I want my time back. That is not the way to try and win voters... debating about how his feelings were hurt.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. witch

    MCCain is not my fan favorite nor if the polls are right is he alot of other people's favorite

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Lorraine

    UH OH a GREAT question about their running mates!!!!! LOL this should be good

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. Mike

    Right on Leslie,
    Sadly Senator McCain seems to have given his character
    to the GOP machine and let this one slip away.
    I for one miss McCain.2000 and wish I had never upgraded
    to McCain.2008

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. LTC

    I think Obama will be the best at reaching across the line along with Biden.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Accountant Guy

    Somebody should call the police because Obama is beating the crap out of McBush!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  7. Elias

    John McCain said he would be happy to do half as well as Sarah Palin did in the VP debate; well he was right on the mark. So far he has done only half as well as Palin did which is not saying much.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. wayne

    ok im bored now! McCain is coming across as a old angry man, and I as of today leave the republican party. He need to quit snorting and making noise!

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    You know, you hear Obama talk and he sounds very practiced, very comfortable yapping away – just like a lawyer, at the ready with an argument. You hear McCain talk and you get a person, a sense of character, a definition, a true blue in red.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. Dr. Roy

    I ageee. McCain's strategy has been to hit Obama where it hurts and make himself look good.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. White Christian Mother for Obama

    Sorry but there is no contest... Obama has won every debate including this one.. and is gaining in the polls. I dont see a Contest.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. Patrick Purcell

    Why is this lady paid to make stupid comparisons like this? It's not professional, it's not clever, it's ridiculous. Somebody fire this woman.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Roy

    NOW I KNOW! McCain is a disgusting human being, He has no honor and no scruples. this crap about Ayers is just the kind of stupid immorality that got the country into the mess it is in now.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. Jen from IN

    This party needs to be thrown out after the ridiculous past 8 years.

    October 15, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  15. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    Leslie........you need a more lively debate like the one in 2000 SC Republican primary between George W. Bush and Senator McCain.....now that was a lively debate!!

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Felix

    OK, they got Ayers & Acorn out of the way. I want to hear Mac on Palin. BTY, Mac's not wearing a flag pin. Does that mean he's a Muslim terrorist?

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. Carrie Pa

    Can't wait until Obama wins! This election process has been to long.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Nancy

    McCain is acting like a RUDE JERK. Sarah Palin is a role model to women and a reformer?? She abused her power. Lets talk about that McCain!

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. Emmanuel Winner

    Why is this inane remark appearing on a live blog during the debate?!

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. sea

    McCain seems bitter and not sticking to the issues. wow.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  21. ines

    Palin – a role model to women???? McCain overspeaks and is sidestepping the entire economy.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    I got to know Sarah Palin Senator McCain....I said thanks but no thanks.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. laura

    Is it me or was McCain getting a little mad.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  24. CindyN--PA

    Sickening to listen to McCains Hypocrisy. His campaign has been a disgrace to the American people and he sits there and acts like it hasnt been that way.
    When has Palin stopped the people from Yelling, "Terrorist" or "Kill Him"....
    Yeah, we've gotten to know Palin and she's no role model for anyone. Abuse of Power and a horrible choice.
    After watching McCain I'm just disgusted with him even more.
    I've lost any and all respect I could have ever had for him. I just wonder why I was stupid enough to have some in the first place.
    Just goes to show, being a good soldier isnt everything.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. Jillian

    In regards to Acorn, isn't it true that John McCain also attended an Acorn rally? is that not something that would help to silence the accusations regarding Obama with Acorn?

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
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