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. TomW

    McCain's campaign is done.

    I live in Wisconsin...I have not seen one positive ad from the McCain campaign. Every single one has been an attack on Obama. McCain is a liar and he's lost a lot of a respect from a normally right-leaning voter.

    Obama/Biden '08!

    October 15, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Go Obama!

    WHy does McCain always get the last word!???????????????????

    October 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Fred T. Black

    If character matters why is G. Gordon Liddy one of his major fundraisers. i think he appreciates character because he lacks it.

    October 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Cynthia; Bham

    You all are closing the things too fast for someone to get a comment on.

    October 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. Deborah

    How can John Mccain be a good president? He can't even give Senator Obama the respect to not interrupt him. How can we trust him to lead our country and be respectful to World Leaders much less get us out of this current financial crisis? Senator Obama has been respectful to Senator McCain during the debates. It would be a disaster for our country.

    October 15, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Felix

    There goes Mac again. Contradicts himself a lot. Promises a lot, but no money. Looks frustrated.

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Southern Girl for Obama

    McCain is too reactionary. This is why he has appeared erratic in his behavior. (suspend campaign...drill now...Obama is scary...deregulate-NO-regulate!, etc)
    I would prefer a Commander in Chief who CONSIDERS options and makes the most prudent and responsible choice for the American people. Not a Rumplestiltskin type character like McCain.

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. young

    Why is McCain so negative? He still don't get it.....

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. sarah from va

    I believe the comments on this board are made by people that made up their minds before this debate. It would be nice if people would stop making inappropriate comments themselves and start voting according to the issues. How many times has Obama changed subjects tonight?

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. truth

    tony, i'm with you. why the hell are people still undecided after two years of the candidates saying the same mess over and over with a spin?

    you wanna tell me with three weeks left people are still undecided? what are they expecting magic? I hope they are not relying on debates on campaign ads to make up their minds.

    October 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. Richie

    Is it just me? Big O is sounding like a calm expert. McW looks like a babbling idiot.

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. Joe Sixpack

    you are right! I remember seeing alot of babbling black men trying to be somone they are not. Just like Obama!

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. mark

    Someone needs to tell the truth about Obama. People may not like what McCain is saying about Obama, but it is all true and a matter of record. Look at his record and realize what you are voting for: Higher taxes for all, not just the rich; Increased business taxes for all businesses (less jobs); Poor support of the military; Socialized health care (poor healthcare and long lines at the ER); Suspicious relationships with unethical people and groups. Inexperienced – never held a leadership job in government at any level. Anyone who thinks Palin is inexperienced should not be voting for Obama.

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. mms

    mccain is losing this debate just like he did the first 2.He really doesn't get it!

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. Mad

    GET RID of this sheifer fool, he is being unfair and I don't like his deamnor he is obvisouly for one candidate. I am not gonna say who but you could decided!!

    October 15, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. KAL

    It is amazing that McCain would be running ads saying that Obama is dangerous and disrespectful. I can't recall ever seeing a candidate treat another candidate with the amount of disrespect that McCain is demonstrating toward Obama tonight. I can't imagine anyone watching this would think otherwise its actually disturbing.

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. zuq

    Where is McCain's Flag Pin? Patriotic?

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  18. Richie

    We should have physical fitness in schools, but we can't spend any money. We're giving people $5000, but only as a refundable tax credit (does not apply to the unemployed).

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  19. Tim

    Please mute McCain's mike when Obama is talking. It sounds like he is turning into something.

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  20. Millie

    I just wanted to ay It doesn't matter who Joe THe Plumber is, Its who is Obama? He won't even give us his full name. Whats going on?

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  21. "You People"

    McCain/Palin! The only real choice for America!

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. Thomas

    This is just a general comment but I wish that McCain would mention that Obama has a serious problem with the military. The spam emails going around about Obama are true. He will not even salute the national ensign, let alone a fighting soilder. I am obviously a McCain supporter but Obama is smooth but can we trust him. Let me throw this out there...Is he the Anti-Christ? Oh,and who is this Martin person keeping track of the score of the debate. He/she needs to work on being decisive. He/she is a joke and needs to be fired on the spot.
    Lastly, both canidates need to actually answer the question that is being asked.

    October 15, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. hannah banana

    if only as many people would vote in a presidential election...

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. Southern Girl for Obama

    To Frances, who said "Obama stated that Congressman issued a repudiation and that his campaign issued one. I don't believe either one of those were done."

    Believe whatever you like. But the truth is, that both the Obama Campaign as well as Congressman Lewis issued repudiations. I saw it on Headline News!!!

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  25. Roc

    McCain is using the hell out of Joe the Plummer

    October 15, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
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