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. Helena

    OMG! John McCain just said Sarah Palin was a role model to all American women! I just threw up!

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. bruce

    McCain adds nothing new. How can a guy that old say Washington needs a breath of fresh air!!!! Obama is smooth as silk.

    Obama can't let the old guy bait him into saying something stupid.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. Richie

    Good job O on the autism funding.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. gadawg

    I have never seen Obama look so frazzled! Not the President for us.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Frances

    Obama has not only failed to answer so many questions, he out and out lied about the issue of Congressman John Lewis. Congressman Lewis did not repudiate his statement and neither did the Obama campaign. The Obama campaign made a comment about they did not agree with the congressman's comparison but they also stated that they agreed with the congressman that Congressman Lewis had a right to cxondemn the rhetoric of the people attending the rally. (As much as we hate it, is freedom of speech not for everyone? I hate to see flag-burning, but freedom of speech is a freedom whether we agree with it or not),

    Obama stated that Congressman issued a repudiation and that his campaign issued one. I don't believe either one of those were done.

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. bond trader

    McCain is kicking his can......get some integrity Obama

    October 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  7. leonard Kishore

    That is such a republican argument, bring up his characher AS IF he has anything to hide, bug more so, like republicans have a monopoly on 'good clean Americanism". It's a complete crock, and you need to keep a fair eye on your clear candidate.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Mike

    McCain's compaign obsession with this tells you that he doesn't understand the economy and has no new solution!!

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. JC Dorsainvil

    Obama is trying to talk about the things we NEED to hear about.

    McCain looks like a litle kid who has had his marbles taken away.
    McCain just wants to throw mud.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. John Buchanan

    Senator John McCain is a Cry Baby and he keeps calling Foul. He is like the little Kid that has dropped his Ice Cream and he has failed to make a valid point.

    His Heart is in his Throat and has not SQUARELY looked Senator Obama in the Eye. He is so Intimidated by Senator Barack Obama's presence.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Simon Cowell

    McCain is simply dreadful...I asked him to bring the energy tonight and he's letting the crowd and himself down. I just don't see him being an idol-like personality. You either have it, or you don't.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. just me

    Barack needs to bring it! He is being too nice! It couldn't be me! If I see that smirk on McCain's face again, I will vomit!

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. Lisa

    I am sick of McCain acting like he is running an honorable campaign. How dare he stand up for people at a rally who call for the death of Obama & use derrogatory terms to describe him. He should have just acknowledged the impropriety and moved on. I so can't wait to vote!

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Eric from California

    I got to say something for the McCain supporters: your candidate is a socialist too! He wants to buy $300 billion of the bad mortgages. THAT'S SOCIALISM! FIGURE IT OUT!

    Your candidate says lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie EVERY DEBATE!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  15. Cindy

    Yeah, thank god it's almost over. I'd like to get my life back, please.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. tom

    Someone should ask Biden again if FDR was President during the depression and how much a TV was then. Now that's funny

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  17. Southern Girl for Obama

    Correction, Ms. Sanchez. John McCain no longer puts country first...he puts winning an election first .

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. Cheryl from Minnesota

    He is older , wise, but slow and has no clue how it feels to struggle in todays economy. Obama is intelligent, young, quick and in touch with the average American and their struggles.

    October 15, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. Charlie

    Once again, Leslie's dreaming. If McCain had any character he wouldn't be running such an absolutely sleazy campaign.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. argiro

    McCain is always in tough spots because he never shows or says anything new. McCain is not answering the questions with "hows" but only with "I know how to do it" and "I got the scars to prove it." Just because I'm a teacher and not in the military, or just because I'm poor and not rich like you, doesn't mean I'm less of a citizen JOHN. Just because I'm not in the military doesn't mean I shouldn't have health insurance John. Just because I'm poor doesn't mean I shouldn't have the opportunity to teach full time as opposed to subbing for minimum pay after a year of graduating. I have scars too, and deeper than yours or any you would ever understand.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  21. saint paul mn

    ohhhhhhhhhhh
    good

    he is about to explote
    did you hear his big breathing tones

    he is about to EXPLODE

    he is AN ANGRY OLD MAN

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  22. Joyce

    McCain needs to talk about what he can do ....not what he perceives what Obama cannot do.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. Dr. R.H. Moose

    Does Mr. McCain realize how stupid his choice of 'Failin' Palin for VP. God, bring back Nixon.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. Mizzy

    Leslie, why do you bother???

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  25. Disappointed Republican

    What is the deal with with the angry snorting John McCain????

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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