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. Diana

    when meeting with other leaders do you want a hothead or a calm one?

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    McCain is about to explode. He and his attack dog are toast.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Mike in Texas

    Keep spinning Leslie. John McCain is a former shell of himself. He has no soul because he sold it to the devil to win this election.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  4. Jeanne Beans

    Obama is doing his usual impeccable presidential job with answering questions. McCain keeps coming back to the axes he wants to grind and is TOTALLY negative–TOTALLY!

    Awesome moderator though–he's pushing the questions, keeping time, and redirecting.

    October 15, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  5. Anna

    God, Mccain is so annoying, i am getting irritated the way hes talking

    October 15, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Linda

    He is not focused (John McCain). He is all over the place, grunting, twiddling his thumbs and staring into a deep space. When is he going to convince America that if we do have a crisis, he won't be dumbfounded. If he is playing possum, he is doing a good job at it. It's time to be Presidential – not possumish (if this is such a word).

    October 15, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    One of those nuclear subs has leaked from here to Japan and back. It's a proven fact.

    NNO nuclear until it is safe.

    October 15, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. D Nicol

    McCain keeps trying to change the subject to attacks on Obama. What a whining loser. Not what I want as president. Obama answers the questions.

    October 15, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  9. Craig

    I think McCain is kicking butt!!! He has my vote. Obama's great fame is starting its downturn tonight baby!!!! GOOOOO MCCAIN.... Obama never answers the questions... But McCain is shutting him up!!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  10. JC Dorsainvil

    Is McCain ever going to answer the question he is asked? His collar is on WAY too tight!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  11. Joe Sixpack

    McCain should get mad! He should nail Obama to the floor. "You People" repeat what the media says. I swear if one democrat jumps off bridge the rest of them will. Hey, wouldn't that be great!!

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. Jeanne Bean

    Obama is doing his usual impeccable presidential job with answering questions. McCain keeps coming back to the axes he wants to grind and is TOTALLY negative–TOTALLY!

    Awesome moderator though–he's pushing the questions, keeping time, and redirecting.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. truth

    PoliTRICKS is like a flashy Broadway production, with the dumb down american voters as the captive audience. it's all about show. this is all staged. the prez has been selected in advance, and all these debates are nothing more than distractions

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Jon

    Does Leslie Sanchez accept that her comments help to reduce the alleged "left-wing media bias?"

    That's right up there with the "vast right-wing conspiracy."

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. Cynthia

    YES THIS IS THE MCCAIN I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! He is DEFINETLY winning this so far.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Mike in Texas

    If other world leaders acted like McCain, his supporters would be calling them ranting lunatics.

    October 15, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. Claus

    Ryan: You keep talking about socialism. If you knew what a socialist was, you would know, that Barack isn´t one. But I guess in your opinion, everything left of right-right is socialism? Well, it is difficult to discuss with people, making up their very own definitions.
    And by the way the chaos right know hasn´t been made by socialism but capitalism version Bush.

    No Hillary = No Obama:
    McCain´s a person? To me he looks hot headed, not in control of his temper. Not the Captain you would want on a ship heading for an iceberg.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. changing times

    McCain is losing his bearings. He's also getting angry pretty easily. Not a good trait for someone meeting with world leaders

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Well said Nancy. McCain has been so unimpressive tonight.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Sanchez blind republican.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. pyrites

    McLame, you have not repudiated what your running mate has said in regards of Obama, "palling around with terrorist."

    Gee...this is not like AI at all. David Cook and David Archuleta can run circles on McCain...plus, I don't really wanna hear him sing "MY FRIENDS" for like the billionth time.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  22. CH

    McCain is doing it, keep it up... I also think tonight starts the fall of the Obama fame...

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. mark

    McCain should be mad. Obama is not being honest and will not be able to do most of what he says. Like it or not, McCain is being honest.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. Mike D.

    Obama is as cool as a cucumber. McCain is turning red, getting mad and stuttering.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. bond trader

    mccain is killing him...Obama looks very liberal

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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