March 31st, 2008
07:25 PM ET

When a candidate's background matters–or doesn't

As the Democrats continue their primary battle, John McCain has launched his biography tour as a way to re-introduce himself to voters. It will emphasize his half-century of public service highlighted by his military record and tremendous sacrifice.

But in an op-ed today, conservative commentator Bill Kristol argues biography alone won’t be enough for McCain to win in November. In fact, if you look back at the last four elections the candidates with stronger resumes all lost. And those four candidates, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Al Gore and John Kerry, were all war veterans.

But for some Democratic voters biography has played a role in their decision. Many of Obama’s supporters specifically point to his diverse background as a factor for choosing him over Clinton.

So how much does a candidate’s biography matter to you? Does McCain’s provide an edge over either Obama or Clinton in a general election match-up? Will the historic biographies of becoming the first women or African-American give Clinton or Obama an advantage?

Send us your thoughts.

– Eric Bloom, 360° Producer

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Raw Politics
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Ed K.

    History matters and CNN has a lot of work to do regarding Obama. Who is this guy that can sit in a radical anti American church for 20 years, get busted and still come out smelling like a rose? Don't his supporters care how he conducts himself? He can't win the general election but his fans still want him to get the democratic nomination. Go figure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 31, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  2. elias e cushi

    Bill Clinton said everthing is fair.(don't sign up to play football if you don't want to get hit. But Chelsea can't get hard question , and if Hillary get hit it's (everyone teaming up on a woman). so she cry,or I get hard question frist. Is this what USA what. A leader on pity. other country don't carry about color or gender. SO LET THE MAJORTY RULE

    March 31, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  3. Jennifer Lawless

    I think for young voters it's important for them to know about the candidates. I've heard alot about Obama,but what about Hillary Clinton's background? What about FALN and those pardons, what about her tax returns? Is the media really on Obama's side or on her side?

    March 31, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  4. tim

    character..its all about character....2 life long politicains..they are characters alright. 1 new politician with a message of hope..a message of change, real change. and speaking the truth about how "We "can bring it not us against them!!

    March 31, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  5. Linda

    Of course background matters. Mr. Obama has successfully given his race speech and turned the tables on everyone by taking the focus off his association with Rev. Wright. You do not consider someone to be your mentor ,sit in the church pew every week and make twenty-two thousand dollar contributions to something you dont believe in.Now the race card will be played if the superdelegates dont support him.How clever .Look wos playing the race card now.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  6. Bea, CT

    McCain's military background, though commendable, is scary. After seeing him singing "Bomb Iran," I can only view him as "trigger happy." As for Clinton's background, her lies overshadow her actual accomplishments; you always get the sense that she has an ulterior motive or hiding something. As for Obama, his experience in Constitutional law and civil rights are appealing. Although he does not have the experience of the other two candidates, we must remember that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States were written by "rookies," too. We are in dire straits and we need to project a more positive image to the rest of the world. America needs a brand new face and we need to remember the reasons we became a "government of the people for the people."

    March 31, 2008 at 10:50 pm |
  7. dan

    one last thing- I'm a registered Repubulican who if Hillary is on the ballot, I vote for McCain- If Obama gets the nomination I will vote for him.

    I don't think I'm alone...but then agian I also think we are just as responsible for the war as the President- I drive- I don't walk- I don't even try to car pool- I'm part of the reason people are dying in the deserts of Iraq.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  8. Janet

    Bravo! "Very Concerned American" And Leo, how are you going to vote for Obama when you can't spell his name.You won't be able to find his name on the ballot.And Leo, stick to the issues.Everything about Hillary Clinton is out there. There's alot we don't know about Obama.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  9. tim

    I wish someone would explain how John McCain can equate his time as a POW as experience to be commander in chief?? i respect and admire Sen. McCain as a vietnam war HERO, and a great american, BUT the Senator is way off on his support of the iraq war, on the economic issues he has NO idea..he seems to want to bail out the banks but not americans who need more. Has he had to buy a tank of gasoline or diesel fuel or groceries lately?? He is out of touch! (GW isnt near as bright as Sen McCain but they are the same except for that issue) experieced to be president..dont think so

    Hillary Clinton, as a democrat i can honestly say she will do or say anything to get elected,,and her experiece isnt much as a decision maker either. her ad about the 3 am phone call? will she be tired from an all night budget meeting and mis-speak??

    Barack Obama is the only candidate that anyone should support. Democrat or a Republican. His ability to reach across the aisle, he believes in compromise in the political arena. He has the strength of good judgement, and believe that america is strong and can be stronger by bringing hope and change to not only the way we think and act politically but the way we can be brought together as a NATION!
    Is WASHINGTON experience necessary or is it more important to think that AMERICA IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN POLITICAL GAIN?

    March 31, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  10. Angel

    It matters when the voting public is considering placing someone in the White House for 4 years. It also matters to know a candidate's record in regards to honesty and judgement.

    Why has CNN not "examined" Sen Obama's business dealings with Rezco and relationship with William Ayers, the Weatherman...new-age terrorist? I think these deserve at least as much attention as CNN gave 50-Cent's endorsement. Don't you, Anderson?

    March 31, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Tom, Florida

    Hey Anderson. I'm a 76 year old Dem. Have always supported the Dem candidates. This year due to either the state party or the national party my vote along with 11/2 million more that was cast in the primary will not count. I can assure you my vote in Nov will count as I am sure McCain will count it. I know that I am not alone with my feelings as I have friends all over the state that suggest the same sentiments. And for those that think Sen Obama can win Florida they have their head some where other than in the sand. Only Hillary can win Florida over McCain.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  12. Susan Crown

    Background matters a great deal in any endeavor, and it certainly matters for the leader of the free world.
    Although I still have time to make up my mind on the Democratic candidates personally, I do know that neither background has been presented well by the campaigns or the media.
    On Obama...what do we really know about what he has done on specific issues to make a difference? He presents lofty idealism well and I agree with a lot of the concepts I've heard. I just want the cold hard facts on what has been done, when , and about what at his hand.
    I do want to defend Senator Clinton on one matter (I also have criticisms.) But, she has been portrayed as a former first lady and I've even heard her described as that on CNN rather than as a US Senator. But, one doesn't hear that she was a Watergate prosecutor before she ever married Bill Cinton, that she was appointed by President Carter to lead the LSC (in charge of ALL legal aid in this nation) decades ago, etc. She was a partner in a high power law firm; I hear daily about Obama being a lawyer but have never heard about her being one from CNN. If Carter could appoint her to an important post decades ago, she deserves notice that her experience is beyong white house teas by a long shot. She does not get her real 35 years experience mentioned at all.
    I think I just made up my mind.:) In this dangerous world and bad economy, I think I'd like the experience to bring the change we really need that Senator Clinton has. I think Senator Obama would make an OUTSTANDING candidate when he has things on his resume that have produced results we can see. Thank you.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Penny

    Hi Anderson
    I believe that both Hillary and McCain are too OLD to run for president.
    They are like the TITANIC. They say the professionals built the TiTANIC. The ARK was built by the Amateurs, The titanic sank, but the ARK made it over. McCain is a vietnam veteran. Til this day a lot of those guys have FLASHBACKS as a result of that war. Furthermore, he does not look strong physically, socially, or mentally. He could be a sociopath because all he wants to talk about is the WAR. No one can fight the world. How can two OLD people interact with the innovative and energetic global world. They are sharp. Even their school systems are better in MATH than Americans. McCain will sink our economy like the TITANIC. What that mean is that the global world will began to scavenge our AMERICAN society. It will never be the same if we elect one of the two OLD PEOPLE!!!!

    March 31, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  14. Tony Adamshick

    As calls for her to step down come forth the Clinton campaign dutifully reminds us that they would like the voters in last 10 democratic primaries ' not to be for gotten ' and ' they should be heard,' But of course. In the event she should run the table and win the remaining primaries, and yet still lose the total over all vote, and be behind in the
    regular and super delegate counts prior to the convention, whose voice has she ' for gotten ' and who is she ' not listening to ' but the first 40 primaries and their voters. By stong arming delegates and disregarding the popular vote (should this come to pass), only then is it okay and convienent for her to ' forget ' and ' not hear ' those who have voted all over the conuntry. Run baby run, but be gracious in defeat, and know discretion is the better part of valor.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  15. carrie

    Although i think America is in love with the idea of breaking race and gender barriers, the truth is they are still just two people and can't possibly represent such a large group of people. That's the problem with identity politics. Obama is too liberal & inexperienced and seems to have flubbed even more of his biography than Clinton. Mccain does not represent all of my views either but I think he has the Foreign Policy experience to lead the country through this extremely perilous time and has demonstrated(as opposed to talked about it)and ability and interest in working bipartisanly-so he's my choice.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  16. David

    I am well aware of John McCain's background and I have a great deal of respect for his service to this country. Having said that, I think he uses his service and his horrible experience as a POW as a crutch and for his own advancement. There are serious issues facing this country. His military experiences are in the past. I'm more concerned with the present and the future. He can't run just on his history. He has to lay out some plans to address more than just military issues.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  17. G J from New Jersey

    A candidates biography does not matter to me, especially one in which wars are emphasized. The people of the United States have great problems – of which number one is the economy. Soon you will be seeing people either not buying enough of food to put on their table so that they can enough money to buy the medication they need. People in trouble with home forclosures will be homeless and the sick people will die at home because they have no insurance to go into a hospital and get proper care. So ask the people if they care about biographies – I think not........................

    March 31, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  18. dan

    I think the bios matter- but its really hard for the average American to know what the 'truth' is. I think its clear that Hillary-has always and will always use everything she can to win- some people don't care she would bend the rules to accomplish what she wants- the problem with that-is this- whats the biggest thing agianst Bush- he lied to meet his own goals-

    Obama doesn't have a big resume but even us (republicans) feel that he will bring a breath of fresh air- even if he is agianst everything I think is right- I think he is new enough to not be currupted by the system...and I'm willing to take a chance.

    And one more thing- if you don't want your daughter to take hard questions please don't put her out there...I have a daughter and I wouldn't ever put her in front of a bunch of college students if I thought they might ask her questions that bring up bad feelings...agian Hillary will even sacrifice her daughter to win- what would she do with my life?

    thanks Anderson....and your head tilt about OJ coverage was priceless!

    March 31, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  19. Nicolette

    I do think a candidates biography matters, because it's so easy to talk the talk but never walk the walk! A few weeks ago on the anniversary of the Iraq War, most of the people standing on the corner protesting were in their 60's, a sad comment on today's youth, but as to biography, they probably protested in the 60's too and are still walking the walk! I became impressed with Obama after reading his first book and learning how he came to believe as he does.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  20. Janet

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Hillary Clinton should stay in the race.And I find it hard to believe the voters of Florida & Michigan are not going to be counted. That's outrageous! For God Sake, Do it over again! What is Obama & his supporters afraid of .And yes, if Hillary loses and we don't count Florida & Michigan, I will definitely vote for John McCain.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  21. Lisa

    I agree that background is important but it is not everything. We also have to look at what they are doing as well. Are they uniting the country or spewing more and more lies and misrepresentations.

    Also, why is CNN not reporting that "Clinton says Obama wants to stop votes?" I have seen this article and I feel that again, there is the misrepresentation that Barack himself is asking her to end it now.

    Yes, they all misrepresent each other, but we need to look at the importance of these misrepresentations and how often the candidates are doing it as opposed to talking about the real issues.

    This back and forth bickering is just getting silly and I want to see less of it and more on the issues.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  22. allxdreamer

    I think it is very important to know the candidates. Why wouldn't it be? First of all, let's look at Obama. Obama was said to be born in Hawaii, then lived in Indonesia where it was said he became a citizen. Obama is also a citizen of Kenyan. Obama was photographed in a Kenyan ritual in 2006 and Obama was sent to a school that Muslim religion was primary religion taught, in Obama's own words "But the school did teach the Quran, Islam’s holy book, along with subjects such as math and science". Obama has attended a church for the last 20 years with a pastor who is anti-America and racial towards whites and Obama said he was inspired by the Pastor. Enough that in Obama's book he goes on to tell about how he admires MALCOLM X. Not to mention Obama's pastor had Islam leader FARRAKIN come in and even gave award to FARRAKIN. Obama and his relationship with Tony Resin is a factor. And the fact that Obama put his own grandmother down to justify his dedication to his pastor. Obama lied about his negative stand on Nafta and then sent his Economic advisor to Canada and say NOT REALLY. Obama has campaigned that he will bring the troops home, yet his senior Foreign affairs advisor resigned after she said that would happen only at the best case scenario. So with all those negative facts about Obama, you just don't hear them like you do with Hillary. Hillary said one comment in jest about Bosnia and snipers and the media took it and ran with it until there was no where else to go. But yet Obama can have all this history and many American's do not know it. It is just not fair. What is going to happen is we are going to have a President elected and Americans will at some points say, well if I knew that about him, I wouldn't have voted for him. But the media will not share Obama's life.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  23. Betty-IN.

    Yes, it does matter. McCain has built a life of service decaited to this Country ,scarifed years as a prisoner of War. I'm not for McCain as a President, but would choose him any day over Obama, who hasn't done much except pull the wool over peoples eyes. Oh, wait He did sit in Rev. Wright church for 20 yrs., with his wife-who's also not proud of America-& his childern & listen to hate filled sermons about this great Country. Hillary's not perfect or McCain, but at least they love America!!

    March 31, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  24. TundraVision in Minnesota

    I am a 50+ year old white woman, lapsed/cafeteria Catholic, "yellow dog" Democrat Pundits and polls to the contrary, if Hillary steals the Dem nomination, I will not vote for THAT woman. Nor will I vote for McCain. I will write in Barack Obama, and if Hill wants to call that a "throw away" vote, so be it.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  25. Justin

    I'm voting for dream ticket or I'm not voting. I say we should have a voice still and I think our pressure as voters to have the dream team ticket would be our best hope!!!!

    March 31, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  26. Jimmie Davis

    I think a canidate background should always matter, that's the reason why I admire and respect John McCain, however that doesn't mean you can't begin to look towards the future of America, I am only 32 years old and for the first time in the 14 years I have been elgible to vote I think OBAMA!! is the ticket and the path of the future while I admire McCain I want Obama. Obama is only 46 years old which means he has more on the line than Hillary or McCain in terms of retirement, health care, war, education, he has more in common with my family than McCain, or Hillary/Billary.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  27. John

    A candidates background does matter 100%, however the media refuses to air stories such as the accusations by Mr. Larry Sinclair against Obama. I guess we just aren't supposed to question Obama?

    March 31, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  28. Julia Glennville, Ga.

    Very concerned American, I agree and wish that we had a lot more info on his history, his life in public service, his tenure in the Senate etc. There is far too much about this guy that we do not know. If what we have found out about by DEFAULT is any indication we SHOULD be VERY concerned.

    March 31, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  29. Julia Glennville, Ga.

    I believe that a candidates history is probably the most important factor in choosing or not that person for office. McCain has an enormous edge with his war record and service history, especially among older voters. Hillary has her years of public service, albeit a good majority of it as first lady, BUT as any wife of a service member or wife of public office holders will tell you, they are not just window dressing, they do a lot of charity and public service work. They work too. She did a lot of good in those years. And she has her record as senator. Most of all she has been thoroughly vetted. We know all about her, the good and the bad. Obama is a mystery, he has not held office long anough to determine if he is a good or bad senator. What is his record? Not the hype and retoric but the written, verifiable record? What we have learned in the past few weeks is that he can spin a story again and again to fit his theme, but the fact is on really important issues that matter he has shown extremely poor judgement. Yes he has gotten people out to vote but alot of those people who voted in the primary wished they could change thir vote now. If he is the candidate for the Democrats we will lose to McCain, hands down. McCain's record will carry the day.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  30. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    I think it does matter how much experience a person has. Giving solutions to problems that you have never actually solved, is not experience, but hopeful thinking.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  31. Very Concerned American

    The background that matters the most is Senator Obama.
    He has managed to put his relationship with Pastor Wright and all that he stands for under the rug.
    There are many other issues about this pastor and Obama's relationship that should be discussed.
    This is not something that should be dropped.
    This is about the President of the United States.
    It is frightening.
    It is serious. Very.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  32. leo

    background matters to a point, listen i like hillary, and i would vote for her if obama wasn,t in the race , but the name clinton is what she is running on , yes she has done some good things but she is a part of washington for 20 years , and i havd read some of the thing that that clintons on done in washington and good, the clintons have been a part of too much scandals if you research the clintons u will see i am not againist her but she has a lot of bages far more then abama, and as for FLA and MICH both hillary and abama agreed that both states wouldn,t count but since she is losing now she wants to changed that to her faver, as a abama supporter is by same chance that he doesn,t win i will VOTE for HILLARY , GO AMERICA

    March 31, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  33. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    A candidate's background is important, but it's not the defining factor for votes. There is a combination of background, work experience, ethics, personality and natural ability which all comes together to create the best candidate.

    And then there are defining issues, sometimes only one issue, which grabs attention. For me, in this election, that issue is the Iraq War. I cannot vote for a candidate who supports this war or a candidate who refuses to admit the war was a mistake.

    So, that leaves Barack Obama for my vote.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  34. debbie

    Hey Lynette,why is it some people have to put everyone in some sort of class and imagine in their small world what all African Americans would say? Since you don't and you really have not really been following the campaign ,you would know most African Americans were not supporting Obama.,until South Carolina. And what Obama supporters are pushing her out ? Do you mean the media and elected officals because it's not the real people saying that . So save the what you think African Americans would have said or what they think. , and Hillary can handle herself she was after all in war zones ducking ,and served as vice president to her husband.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  35. Illinois

    For me it depends on the "sins" of the candidate. EVERY candidate is corrupt to a certain degree. Dishonesty and politics go hand in hand, unfortunately, so for anyone to expect that politicians are going to be "honest" or "not corrupt" is being unrealistic and naive. Like it or not, a certain amount of palm-greasing comes with the territory. No politician will accomplish anything if they don't "bend" the rules on occasion. Flip-flopping on issues goes on constantly as candidates fine tune their presentations to the public, and not all of it is politically driven. The more information you get about certain issues may cause a candidate to change their opinions on things.

    Major crimes like murder and racketeering, racism and ties to terrorist groups, deliberate character assassination used as a way to get rid of one's enemies, etc....all are deal-breakers for me because they speak directly to a person's integrity. Yes the candidate may have lied or may have had difficulty keeping his fly zipped or flip flop on an issue or misrepresent their credentials, but that is more "politics as usual" as opposed to engaging in criminal and sociopathic behaviors that indicate the true nature of a person and what direction that person will take this country.

    So is a candidate's background relevent??? Yes....but within reason!!!!

    March 31, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  36. Z. Thompson

    . . . .My mental picture of each biography.
    HILLARY CLINTON – Nafta, Bill's impeachment, whitewater, secrecy. .. . . .

    JOHN MCCAIN – Prisoner of war, war hero, war ...war....war

    BARACK OBAMA – Change from the previous two.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  37. Alexandra

    After the last 7 years, what matters to the american people are the issues. When it comes to election day, people are not going to chose a candidate because he was a POW or because she took sniper fire in Bosnia...wait, that didn't really happen. The point is, people are going to elect the candidate that they feel is going to make a difference in their everyday lives.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  38. McGee, The OC

    The only biographical litmus test that matters is one that is negative . . . even if it'a a false negative. Clinton's baggage is a huge negative . . . Obama's luggage comes up empty, another huge negative . . . McCain will be the next President of the United States by default.

    March 31, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  39. Annie Kate

    Many jobs require prior experience – some a lot of experience. Some blue color jobs have steps you have to take as you gain the skills and experience to do the job – you go from apprentice to journeymen, to master in jobs in plumbing , carpentry, etc. White collar does not have the steps but requires certain levels or years of experience and knowledge before you can be considered for hire.

    So for the most important job in the country – President – why would we put someone not experienced in the White House.. We need someone who knows how to get the job done and doesn't need a training manual. In this race I only see one candidate that has enough experience and that is McCain.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 31, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  40. Lilibeth

    A person's biography matters...to a point. Even if you had an impeccable record in the past...it's all in the past....what matters more is how you are behaving in the present and if you can make good decisions for the future. There's a saying..."You earn your job everyday." You can't rest on your laurels on your past alone. (Look at Eliot Spitzer).

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 31, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  41. Independent-woman-voter-for-Obama

    We should as voters, have as much knowledge of the person we are electing president or for that matter anyone who is running for office.

    I admire, John McCain, we actually contributed to his campaign against Bush in 2000. However, I can not vote for anyone who voted to for the war with Iraq. All the effort, money and military might should have been used to FIGHT the terrorists like Bin Laden.

    I am supporting Sen. Obama, he is new, has fresh ideas and is not, yet, a Washington insider.

    John McCain is a fine man, but he was and continues to be wrong on Iraq.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  42. Cheri

    Hey there Cheri from Michigan and I have a question I hope someone can answer. Did I miss the math lesson that can explain how Hillary campaign is 8.7 million in debt and that she has not been able to provide payment to her vendors and of course the best of all and to define IRONY has not made the payments on her staffs health insurance coverage. Is she not telling the american people that the economy is a priority and everyone deserves health coverage. Who balances her budget and where again are her tax returns

    March 31, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  43. Lynette

    Senator Hillary Clinton is receiving calls from Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Chris Dodd and others to drop out of the Presidential Primary even though the difference between the two candidates in both popular vote and pledged delegates is minimal and the fact that neither candidate can win the nomination without the Super Delegates. The question no one is asking is, if the fortunes of the two candidates were reversed, would there be calls for Senator Obama to withdraw? Frankly, I doubt it. The DNC would be afraid of alienating the loyal and highly vocal African American base. More than likely any attempt to push Senator Obama out of the race would be met with charges of racism.
    Women comprise fifty-one percent of the population and an even greater percentage of the voting electorate. Yet, women are vastly underrepresented in all three branches of government, from the congress to the cabinet, and there has never been a female President or Vice President. On a personal level, I am reminded daily of the subtle yet significant government sponsored sexism that permeates my life. Not a single piece of paper currency has a picture of a woman on it and the vast majority of pictures on stamps are of men. Pick up any newspaper and compare the number of photos of men vs. women, and you’ll be astonished by the results. From Wall Street to the White House, we are in many ways still a nation of “men and girls.” Women are undoubtedly still the second sex.
    Hillary’s candidacy is significant to me as a woman. She knows what it is to be a woman, to be marginalized and sidelined. I want the Obama supporters who are trying to push Hillary out of the race to know to me a woman in the White House is CHANGE, REAL CHANGE and the most significant political event of my lifetime. I want the woman and girls of America to see a woman in the White House. I am a registered democrat, but if Hillary is pushed out of the race, I will not vote and I urge other women to do the same. Why should I be loyal to a party where a group of white men try to shame the first female candidate for the Presidency out of the race?

    March 31, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  44. Connie

    I see the McKain ad as a way to appeal to conservative values. I think that is a smart move at this time. It alienates no one. I plan on voting for Hillary in our upcoming Indiana primary because I think she has guts and much more experience than Obama. My choice has nothing to do with race but I may have a gender bias because she has had to defend her statement that she has more experience and no one seems to ask Senator Obama about what experience he brings to the table. I think this is a sexist bias and find myself identifying with her fight to be respected and taken seriously. I am excited that Indiana has a role in choosing a candidate but frustrated about the gender bias. I have not decided who I will vote for in the fall.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  45. Andre

    Your background matters to a point. More important is you vision. What are you going to do to help the american people going forward with some level of urgency? How much of your background will help you convey to the american people that you have the Gump to get it done?
    We are tired of the politics, the rhetoric, the double talk, and quite frankly the lies. This is what has made Obama so refreshing.
    Can we get 100% straight talk from our leaders for a change.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  46. utoo

    It matters ALOT! We've just suffered through 7 years of an incompetent chimp whose resume was glossed over by the media and Republican spin machine.

    Democrats are well on their way to making the same mistake.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  47. Maribeth

    A candidate's biography does matter a lot, and I think McCain's will give him an edge over Obama, but not Clinton. We know McCain and Clinton but we do not know Mr. Obama very well. I believe that Mr. Obama's 20 years plus membership in a church where the minister preached hatred towards the white race and the United States of America would indeed prevent him from becoming the president of our country. The media has ignored Mr. Obama's connections to Kenya, has failed to inform the people of Mr. Obama's support of Odinga who lost in his race for the presidency of Kenya. This is an important part of Obama's biography which the American people should know.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  48. Olivia

    Hillary Clinton's bio is very important to many voters. It speaks old politics. IMHO, I think this is the primary reason Obama has done well, and is continuing to do well, despite the relative sameness of position on the issues from both democratic candidates. The Bosnia blunder and what Clinton is doing now is a glaring reminder of the tactics of old.

    March 31, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  49. Jolene

    I think a candidate's biography does matter. I want to get-to-know the candidate as best as I can. I appreciate 360 focusing on this especially for us undecided voters. Afterall, there is just so much time one can devote to reading all of the books out there on the candidates and their backgrounds. If I can at least learn one thing about the candidate that I didn't know before, it would be worth it.

    Thanks for asking.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    March 31, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  50. Cindy

    I have to say that I don't think Obama's background comes anywhere near Clinton's or McCains. He has done absolutely nothing compared to these two! If you go by background then there is no way he could ever win. But honestly I think people this go round are going by their feelings and the hype surrounding him Because as of yet he has done nothing to warrant being president. I can't believe people want Hillary to just drop out when she is WAY more qualified to run against McCain. I think McCain will chew Obama up and spit him out!

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 31, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
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