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. emilyb

    John McCain spoke at an ACORN rally in 2006....Let's look into that if we are going to point fingers at who has supported things that in retrospect they probably shouldn't have....

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  2. Tammy

    Love the title...apropos......yes..a VERY long season of American Idol....

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. Rob

    John McCain is very defensive because he has no idea how to fix the economy and his campaign is falling apart

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. Al

    I hope Jr. Senator Obama divides up the wealth evenly. I really don't feel like working hard and making wise decisions in order to get ahead in life

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. NA Nevada

    Is this the reason why they are starting to wear me out?? Because I just lost MOST of my investments, and I STILL don't see ANY of those two candidates how they're going to fix this. YA HEAR ME? Fix, not ADD TO WHAT IS ALREADY A DOWNSIDE.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. Annie, Atlanta

    Ms. Sanchez, if character is so important to McCain, why isn't he showing any?

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  7. NC turning Blue

    McCain looks stupid talking about Palin.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. francee

    He looks like a grumpy old man and his lack of respect for Obama is not going to get him any votes

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

    And who are you? Paula Abdul??? Talk about the issue and not the social bug...

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. mmd

    Mccain come back that everyone talks about was accomplished with the help of his fred, rudy and to some extent huckabee. Because they did not want mic to win. They pulled their resources and energy together and defeated mic. Mccain went along for the ride.
    He owes them big time.
    Obama is his own man with his own accomplishments. Noone owns Obama.

    October 15, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Tim Johnston

    Yes, it may all be about character...and McCain is not showing much of that. His attacks are petty and not of interest. He's having a huge meltdown!

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  12. changein08

    There is absolutely no comparison when you place Biden against Palin. There is no way Palin is ready to become the President of the United States. God forbid.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Cynthia; Bham

    Now McCain his putting it on thick talking about Palin and we all know that what he is saying is not true. Palin is not a reformer, what about her getting her house built for free – she obviously is taking notes from Ted Stevens..

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  14. Roy

    McCain's lack of decency is scary

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  15. Jane

    Notice the flat line on women when Sarah Palin is mentioned

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  16. SD

    I agree. I think this debate is the worst ever. And it is definitely not looking at its best for McCain. To say he needed to do strong to pull through, he did just the opposite by sounding like a little kid who got knocked down and wants the whole world to apologize. This debate is not about issues, it's about throwing punches and the moderator is being an instigator. I feel like I'm at a school yard watching a fight.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. mark

    Obama refuses to answer questions honestly. Its obvious he is hiding these relationships. He continues to lie over and over.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. Cyrus

    McCain talks about Palin like a father talks about his daughter.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Marylou

    McCain just keeps on ticking..soon he will blow up..WHY wont he talk about the issues??? Obama is PRESIDENTIAL,even under attack!

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. Casey

    Both are whining about what the other one said and are not addressing what is important to Americans.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  21. Diana

    i think palin is running on mccain.. shesh.. what is he talking about?

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. Ash

    Why won't McCain stop! He is endlessly going on and grasping at straws. In the meantime, he is making a fool out of himself! Give it up McCain! Stop making yourself look bad.

    October 15, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  23. EVN

    "why would ur running mate be better than ur opponents running mate?"

    OMG Obama should have just said "Are you frikkin serious???? Its Palin for christs sakes come on now?"

    lmao!!! such a great question too bad he hes not gonna answer the question the way wed like him too.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. Didi

    I think Obama's answers about Ayers and Acorn were very good! Mccain is acting like Ayers is still running around bombing areas of the USA. The fact that he was never convicted on terriosm is another great point, that shows McCain has nothing else so he thinks he can scare America and get them to vote for him. Not going to happen from me.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  25. invictus

    it has gotten old. no new real answers but McCain is stuck on If you would have done it my way... It is sorry and childish. MAn up and say you started the mud slinking

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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