September 8th, 2008
08:55 PM ET

Monday buzz: McCain’s surge

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/08/mccainpalinpost.jpg]
Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

In the newsroom, we’re as stunned as everyone else. What a difference a week has made. Who would have guessed that “field dressing a moose” and “champion snow machine racer” would become part of the election narrative so late in the game?

With 57 days to go, the presidential race couldn’t be closer – or frankly more interesting. New polls, including CNN’s, show Barack Obama and John McCain in a dead heat tonight, with virtually every analyst attributing McCain’s bump in the polls to the Palin factor. Alaska’s governor has certainly shaken things up, but she’s yet to field any questions from reporters.

And there are many questions.

Tonight we’ll be taking a close look at Governor Palin’s religious beliefs. Barack Obama and John McCain have come under similar scrutiny – Obama for his ties to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and McCain for his ties to Pastor John Hagee. The McCain campaign so far has refused to discuss the years that Sarah Palin spent worshipping at a Pentecostal church where speaking in tongues is a practice and a literal interpretation of the bible is taught. Tonight, in an exclusive interview with Palin’s former pastor, we’ll hear how he thinks her world view has been shaped by her religious beliefs. Palin no longer worships at that Pentecostal church. But her new church in Wasilla, which recently hosted a speaker representing Jews for Jesus, also raises concerns for some people. Now that Palin is officially on the ticket, these questions seem fair, considering Obama and McCain have endured similar scrutiny.

There’s much more in the program as well, including the latest on the O.J. Simpson trial. You hadn’t forgotten he was back in court, had you?

We’d love to hear what you think about Gov. Palin’s reluctance so far to go face-to-face with reporters. We’ll see you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: The Buzz
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Erica

    Perhaps a better question: What's the difference between hockey, lipstick, pitbulls, and being the Vice President of the United States of America?

    Answer: The ability to distract us from the real issues towards entirely asinine and superficial subjects, which have nothing to do with the serious realities facing our country & our world – and that are the actual substance of & reason behind which we vote.

    September 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  2. Thomas Baird

    McCain seems to be having a good time with Palin. Palin seems like a singer that just came out with a hit record, top of the chart. Instant stardom. Give some speeches sign some audographs,all smiles.But really who is Sara Palin .I never heard of Her till a few weeks ago.What if she was ugly would He of picked Her.

    September 8, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Debbie

    Sara Palin SCARES ME!!!!!!! As a Jewish woman, I'm highly offended that she stays in an audience in which a preacher claims that Jews were punished due to their lack in faith of Christianity. I remember when I was young and people would tell me that the Jews killed Jesus and the atrocities of WW2 was retribution for not believing in "god".

    I now believe there is a cultural divide in this country and antisemitism is again raising it's head in the puffy hair of Sarah Palin

    September 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  4. Rosie

    I think we need to stop using God as a means of taking advantage of those who truly believe in him and do not want to be found walking in disobedience unto him.
    We need to stop blaming him for wars which he did not start, and give the credit to the right one, Satan. For Jesus said, I come that ye might have life and having it more abundantly. But Satan come to steal. kill, and destroy. So let us lay these wars at the right doorstep.
    We need to stop trying to control the minds of the people, by taking advantage of their love for their God. For should you tell a person God told you to build a road, because of their own fear of being disobedient, they will give you their last penny. We need to stop using the name God to con our way through life, and deceive the innocent who know not the ways of God.
    For if God wanted to build himself a Pipeline, in Alaska; all he would have to do is say, "Let there be, and it would be".

    September 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  5. Debbie Kinsora

    As a voter I'd really like to see her give some interviews with the press. If she expects to be considered as the next Vice President she must face the same scrutiny as any other candidate. The longer she takes to answer questions from the media (things we voters want to know) the more I wonder what the McCain camp is trying to hide. I don't trust her yet and she isn't doing anything to prove she deserves consideration. Talk is cheap. What does she really know about the world? Is there any intellectual curiosity with her? All I know for sure is that she can deliver one Sarcastic speech.

    September 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  6. Rita

    It's not McCain's surge. It's Sarah Palin's! However, in taking advantage of her beauty and snarky comments, he runs the risk of being badly overshadowed. I'm afraid he won't be able to get her to take a back seat to him. To me at least, her ego appears larger than life. She all but seems to knock him out of the way to shake the hands of onlookers. He appears more the benevolent and slightly bewildered grandfather than agent of change. Sad...

    September 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Thomas Baird

    Its like Obama said ComeOn be real.

    September 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  8. Roberta (Indiana)

    Let us know when you find terrorist, as friends.Obama is trying to take her out as he has in past elections.It seems this is the only way he can win an election.The one time in Illinois he ran a clean campaign.HE LOST!!!!

    September 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  9. Thomas Baird

    Its a short term Palin relief rally,it will stall out. She needs to be interviewed and answer questions on Her own without knowing the questions before she is asked to get a honest read on Her.All the canidates in the primary had to answer many questions on a variety of subjects. Biden has been questioned already in the primary. Palin has not. Its lie Obama said Come on if they think they are the canidates of change now that Palin has signed on. Well tell us how and what your going to make changes to ,and can we have it in writing.So if you dont youll resign.

    September 8, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  10. DR

    Hey when you decide to put yourself before the American public what do you expect. Any comments made before a public forum are fair game. This is the one way the average Joe can determine if they identify with a canidate or not. Some may agree and some may not thats jsut how the ball bounces for a politican. I think the Republicans were hoping the media and many American would shun away from a female canidate after they way Hillary was treated. If Hillary can take can be take years of punches, it should be a cake walk for anyone after her. Bring it on Palin, lets she rolls with the Big Dogs!

    September 8, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  11. Danny

    Goes to show you how ignorant voters are when they start liking a candidate such as Palin without know where she stands on issues. Given that the move has brought quite a few female democrats over, most of the new McCain/Palin supporters know nothing of where the two stand. It is a sad day when voting for the President of the United States has turned into a popularity contest. Not enough people look at the actual views the candidates have, and it cost the country horribly for the past 8 years. It appears that it will be inevitable that it will happen again if Palin gets into office. She will ban things such as abortion and sex education, and start more "task from god wars" considering that was what she called the Iraq War. America will be in for a rude awakening once it starts losing all of its rights to choose.

    September 8, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  12. Carol

    Just as it was considered fair to inquire about Obama's church and relationship with his pastor, and question how Romney's Mormon faith would influence his actions were he to become president, it is perfectly reasonable to look into Palin's church, her faith and her beliefs. How would she have faired at the Faith Forum? Her handlers are sheltering her from questions and this just makes us wonder what she has to hide if she won't do interviews.

    September 8, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  13. Cheryl

    Governor Palin is trying to make the case that her short time in office would make her viable as commander-in-chief. However, no one is talking about that George Bush was governor before he was president, and he obviously didn't do a great job. So why should we rely on this arguemwnt?

    September 8, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  14. Pat

    Republican emails have been accusing Obama of being the anti-Christ. Now, with the extreme views of the Trojan Moose rising from Alaska, could the anti-Christ be a woman?

    September 8, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  15. Patricia Burlage

    I can't wait to hear Palin answer some tough questions, the Republicans have protected her long enough. I can't believe how many people are reacting to her sarcastic comments, without knowing or caring about her views! My only solice is, if McCain wins, we will have an extrodinary race between Sarah and Hilliary in 2012!

    September 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  16. Jeff in Los Angeles

    Last I remember, when the Reverend Wright issue hit the public airwaves the coverage on CNN and the questions asked of the Obama campaign were never ending. Now, anytime there is an issue regarding Sarah Palin, the McCain campaign refuses to answer any questions, and speaks as if the media is wrong for even asking these questions, such as her flip flopping on almost every issue she has spoken about in her pre-written campaign stump speech. It's about time the media including CNN stops giving the McCain campaign a free pass and starts demanding answers. It's obvious their plan is to let 57 days go without having to answer any questions. She obviously doesn't have the answers as we saw today when she completely misstated the Fanny Mae / Freddie Mac situation.

    September 8, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  17. Gabrielle King

    I can't understand how the McCain/Palin ticket is getting away with avoiding having her answer any direct questions that address her stands on the issues and past record. It is a disgrace that she is hiding behind the false veil that it is sexist or personal attacks when the media tries to ask her questions on these issues. This election is too important to let them play this card and it seems that the media is timid in pushing the issue. The American public needs straight answers to important questions that will effect the future of our country. Palin says she's qualified to be the next VP and yet she has avoided any direct questioning from journalists. I have little hope that the only interview which will be on ABC will be anything less than a fluff, entertainment piece with questions provided ahead of time. Let's hope this will not be the case. We deserve our media sources to report the truth and not be subservient to the networks race for ratings and the profits of the corporations that own the

    September 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  18. JB

    Dig more into Palin's record as Mayor and Governor. What happened to the spending and budgets. An email is circulating from former Registrar of Voters Anne Kilkenny stating that Palin ran up spending bigtime. Kilkenny's email has been all over the web.

    Can you substantiate any of the claims?


    September 8, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  19. James Dylan

    Who would have guessed? I would have and did. As I commented here during the primary season if the democrats nominate Obama they are voting to loose the election. It's taken a little bit of time but the polls are starting to show the inevitable outcome and will continue as the debates take place. As many will admit Obama isn't the greatest debater as he lost virtually everyone against Clinton. Only the devout followers have I found even attempt to argue this. So is it the Palin bump? Maybe, but I believe it would've happened regardless of who McCain chose. Company this with the continual backtracking by Obama; for some reason he keeps adopting positions that he previously spoke against. The latest; he will not change the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. Of course he still claims he would not like to renew them but will have to wait and see. There was a point when Obama was new to the people, that he was a breath of fresh air, but the air is proving to be hot air; just things to say to win an election.

    September 8, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  20. Kent, Illinois

    I'm hesitant to speak unkindly of Palin. If you cross her she will punish you they say. She feels as a Penacostel that she can speak to God. And, when she does she speaks in a different language. Are you kidding me? This is a serious contender for VP? When McCain drops dead in office from the stress she will take over as President? If so.........Bye guys........I'm learning French and moving to Canada.

    September 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  21. Kristin

    Why is this person getting sheltered from the press and questions about her integrity that all other candidates have been exposed to? Anderson, please don't let her handlers get away with this, the stakes are too high. We dropped the ball during the past 8 years allowing Bush to lie and mislead without being challenged. If Palin can't face the press and questions she isn't up to the task of VP.

    September 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  22. Cris Ledger

    I can't believed the republicans used an innocent baby with down syndrome and a pregnant teenager to get the attention of the voters. I don't think the people will vote for them because of that, it was very distasteful. Americans are smarter than they think. Although, based on current surveys, McCain is ahead of the game (at least for now). I respect Palin but if she couldn't take care and watch over her own kids, how would she help lead the greatest nation in the world? I hope and pray that the majority of Americans will choose the right people for the positions at stake. Time for a change, time to smarten up!
    Thank you.

    September 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  23. Renee

    When's the report coming out on Biden's church?

    September 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  24. Donald Williams

    She will be revealed and the bounce will disappear.

    September 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm |