October 15th, 2008
07:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Rosen: Where is the room for John McCain to succeed?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/mccain1.jpg caption=" McCain hopes to win over undecided voters tonight."]
The CNN poll released today showed a dramatic decrease in undecided voters. In fact in the key battleground states of Florida, Colorado and Virginia, John McCain could get every undecided voter left and still not have enough to win the campaign.

This is the key turning point in the campaign.

It is much harder to change people's minds than to convince them to move from the undecided block.

That is what makes John McCain's task so difficult tonight. He has to use the issues that have brought people to the Obama camp – namely the economy – and convince them that the decision they have made about who helps them more in these troubled times, is the wrong decision.

All the talk about McCain "taking it to Obama" on Bill Ayers or his past associations, it seems pretty irrelevant to the real challenge at hand. Can John McCain convince people that they are wrong in their judgements?

What are his choices tonight?

-Personal character attacks?
-Social issues like abortion and same sex marriage – the so-called values retread?
-Create fear of a Democratic controlled Washington within Congress and the White House?
-Yet another economic plan?

Lots of choices, none of them sure winners particulalry when Barack Obama has shown a steady hand on all of these issues.

Filed under: John McCain • Presidential Debate
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Alan

    McCain only got one thing right in the whole debate. "Americans are very angry". Obama wins again. McCain's answers are rehearsed, like a broken record. Obama comes through as fresh, clean, and having a lot of great new ideas that will work. I had one spot blank on my ballot to fill in. Choice for President. The ballot is complete, the envelope sealed, it's ready to mail in.

    October 15, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. Amanda

    I am glad McCain dissociated his self with President Bush, yet he could not quite explain the differences. Barack seemed more confidant......a leader. He put his ideas into words and this third debate was stronger than the last.

    October 15, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  3. Cynthia

    Now let the American people have the final say.

    October 15, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  4. Dennis Braddy

    Schieffer was a disgrace. Again and again he gave McCain the last word no matter who went first. He was totally biased and unprofessional.

    October 15, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. Alan D. Ackerman

    I know that reform in education is the primary path to take. Education is failing because the basic foundation is cracked. The old ways of teaching aren't working and many of the teachers aren't working either. They are running their tenure. The way of teaching the young needs to be different inas our children are different. They think differently then when we were kids. The education system needs to adapt to their way of thinking so we may impart the infomation in a way they understand it therefore learn it.

    I also feel that McCain snide remarks toward Obama were childish.

    Bill Ayers "used" to be a terrorist. He is an educator now. Doesn't that say that the system trusts him now? He is not in jail.

    Please, people, let's look to the solution

    October 15, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  6. ShellOKC

    I think tonight's debate had a clear winner. Only one candidate demonstrates that he's at all in touch with the real concerns of us regular folks and that was Obama. From tax policy to education, and most especially health care, Obama stuck to the issues and gave us clear and concise answers. McCain has provided us with nothing but hypocritical personal attacks and obviously has no idea what the average American needs.

    I use to have a lot of respect for Senator McCain and I would have supported him in 2000 had he won the primary, but this campaign he has shown himself to be an angry old man that is completely out of touch with real people.

    October 15, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  7. Martin Bellan

    No real candidates this time around, unfortunately. I'm going to vote the lesser of the two evils and vote for McCain. All politicians are liars and crooked but at least McCain doesn't pal around with terrorists.

    October 15, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. God Bless America

    The FAT LADY is walking up to the mike!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  9. David

    How to sum up. It was long and complicated up there on the stage between those three, a lot of finger pointing on the quesiton of campaign ads a real tangle, hard to watch, but maybe needed, but they handed that off sort of and got down to issues, energy, healthcare, supreme court, education, the answers and follow-ups to the questions were solid. I agree that Obama was steady and that McCain took a couple runs at him in terms of argument, but they both contributed well to the debate. I agree it is a contest of strength or wills too. We could use a couple more like this. Maybe the candidates needed to go at it too, blow off some steam. I do believe that whenever they get together the campaign moves positively forward. You get a conversation. I admire these two candidates, it's not easy to know these issues as well as they do...I guess that's true of a lot of people involved in this, but Obama and McCain have to take the heat, you can connect with that. I love the back and forth in the after debate discussion, and the different perspectives too. Moderator Bob Schieffer covered sensitive questions and a lot of ground overall thoroughly and unflappably

    October 16, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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