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. PaulMoATX

    Poor Leslie Sanchez. Republicans just love to whine, and make excuses about everything.

    October 15, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    McCain is an angry old man. Where is the nearest retirement home?

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. Sabrina

    Enough! Stop the bull Leslie, McCain has lost this at the fault of his campaign.

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. barbara

    Sarah Palin does NOT represent me, not now, not ever. Please inform Mr. Mccain of that!!!

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. Jeanne Bean

    McCain is really scaring me! His eyes make him look crazy!

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. wxlady

    Come on, McCain, quit smirking!

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. Craig

    WHy does CNN keep taking off any positvie posts for McCain? You see them for a second, then they get ripped off by a moderator... LAME

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Tony

    How many American people are watching this last debate. I know I debated about watching the debate.

    I have voter fatigue. I just can't understand people who say they are still undecided. We have a clear choice. Senator Obama continues to take the high road and politically very wise (notice he didn't attack Palin's qualifications to be President - which is so easy to do). Instead he turned the table on JM about how do you fund R&D for autism when you have a spending freeze.

    By the way, John McCain has this angry forced smile. He is not genuine. Obama is winning the debate.

    October 15, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. truth

    let's not forget that both these candidates voted for the greatest wealth transfer of our time, and this wealth transfer compensated individuals who are responsible for one of the biggest financial scams every.

    no matter who is elected, these two candidates will answer to the gods whose financial backing put them in office.

    October 15, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Tiff of lithia springs

    I don't know why we have early voting and a third debate. I already voted.

    Rock on Obama/Biden

    October 15, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Sanjay

    McCain has been consistently too negative so far. Instead of talking about major issues facing the country, he is focussing more on the "so called" negatives.

    In my view, a very poor performance in this debate so far.

    October 15, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. FL 4 OBAMA

    McCain needs to learn to control his mannerisms. In the first debate, it was lack of proper eye contact; second debate it was pacing the stage; and now it is audible sighs. Not very presidential, even by "American Idol" standards.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 15, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Mccain did not give answer the question regarding america's dependence on oil. Please answer a question and stick to the facts. Stop focusing on Obama's answer and answer the question.

    October 15, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. CindyN--PA

    Wow Columbia is trying to stop the flow of drugs into our country???
    So where does the cocaine in Miami come from these days?
    Not Columbian war lords or anything like that right?

    October 15, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Ahab

    McCain is desperate, rude, and nonsensical tonight.
    To me, the McCain offering to this whole debate tonight is sounding like a long, annoying attack ad.
    Obama is showing remarkable patience – I know that if I was up there and McCain was talking about me, I would have lost my temper a few times, not because of what he's saying, but because he makes no sense and is just being rude .

    October 15, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. Eyes wide open

    Red states are turning Blue. McCain can't recover his descent in the polls. Republicans for Obama! Yes we can vote for the wise one!

    October 15, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  17. Rory - NYC

    McCain is frightening me. I don't want a man who can't
    controll himself in a simple debate to be running our
    country. Obama is way more presidential.

    October 15, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. HouseDiva

    HAHAHAHA...Obama made McCain mad

    October 15, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. Heather

    Wow, that is disgusting- that McCain doesn't feel like it's necessary to condone the deplorable remarks made at his (and Palin's) rallies towards Obama ('kill him')- there is absolutely no place for such comments in this day and age, especially at the Presidential level- but I guess that's just how McCain does it- 'maverick' style. I suppose he'd approve of lynchings, too? He absolutely should condemn such supporters- unless he's just that desperate for votes!

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. Brian

    At least under these debate conditions, we do not have to hear McCain say "my friends" 10000000 times.... McCain is mad!

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  21. Lori

    McCain cannot express a clear, focused plan on one single thing. Does he have a plan?

    Obama lays out clear plans. They may not work but he has a plan. He is thinking through the problem.

    I am a registered Republican, but I am voting for the man with the plan.

    Senator Obama shows the world that he has the power to put politics aside to explain his solution. This man will be good for the world.

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  22. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    I wonder what the "I'm mad....I'm really mad" guy is doing watching this debate.......I hope he's ok and hasn't burst an artery!! McCain's not scoring any points.

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  23. mr smirk

    all mccain did was blaming, whining and smirking....

    October 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  24. Patty

    Obama answered McCain's accusations. Now it is time for McCain to discuss the issues without being nasty.

    October 15, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  25. L

    Mccain has not said anything convincing enough. Mccain also being a little rude, very unproffesional

    October 15, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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