October 9th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

McCain’s Mission Impossible…Almost

Editor's note: Watch Ed Rollins tonight on AC360° with David Gergen and Paul Begala.

Ed Rollins
AC360° Contributor
GOP Strategist, Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman

This race is starting to feel like the 1980 Reagan- Carter race. The country is desperate to change from the Bush policies as it was in 1980 from the Carter policies. Reagan won in an electoral landslide winning 44 states; 489 electoral votes and 50.7% of the vote in a three person race. (Carter got 41%). Equally important a switch of 12 Senators to the Republican side and 35 in the House allowed Reagan to get much of his agenda through in the first several months.

Obviously, this election isn't over but McCain's prospects dim by the day. If Sen. Obama wins it won't be by the Reagan numbers but it could be an electoral landslide and well over 50% of the vote. He also is going to bring in a large number of new Democratic Senators and House members that could make this a re-aligning election.

A substantial lead in the polls, resources allowing Sen. Obama to out-buy Sen. McCain by a three to one margin on television, and a far more extensive get out the vote operation, all combined with a bad economy add up to a formula for victory for Sen. Obama.

I don't underestimate John McCain and I admire his courage but overcoming a "mood for change", more intent supporters, more television and a ground operation better than any modern campaign is an almost impossible task.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Rollins • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. harold

    When your down and out like the Republicans are they wll do anything, say anything and stop at nothing to try to get to the white house. Sorry to inform them it will not happen this election.

    October 10, 2008 at 10:20 am |
  2. Carmelita

    Wow! As a Canadian and your next door neighbour I find this presidental campaign very tempestous. We complain about our elections being boring and indeed they do tend to be so, but at leat no one is calling for anyone to be killed, nor is anyone calling a fellow candidate a terrorist.

    McCain and Palin should be ashamed of themselves, are they aware that the world is watching? If they happen to win this election, which ally do they think will be respectful of their platform.

    You cannot has a fellow senator and govenor aid in the distortion of your fellow candidate and sprew negativity and venom, have supporters of yours yell threats and do not have the gall to denounce and reprudiate this hatred.

    I know the GOP will say they cannot, nor are they responsible for their supporters actions, however this is bull, and if you are not responsible for your supporters then your mud-slinging point about Obama and Ayers is moot. Afterall Obama cannot be responsible for something that someone did when he was eight years old. And correct me if I am wrong is'nt Ayers now a professor, and has'nt someone who hung out with Ayers endorsed McCain?

    Shame on you McCain and Palin you should know better. If something were to happen to Obama I think it should fall on both your shoulders, instigators of hate, old politics and backward thinking.


    October 10, 2008 at 10:07 am |
  3. chuck in canada

    John McCain is mentally exhausted right now.He's thrown the kitchen sink and the entire house at Obama and the Democrats and continue to loose ground in the polls.It's time his handlers pull him aside and throw in the WHITE TOWEL because the white lies and false accusations are not working.The head blows by Obama and crisp jabs are making McCain look like he's over 100 years old.Can the refree stop this contest. Please ,Please,Please,John ,it's time to QUIT POLITICS---Oh!!!!!!!!!!the straight talk express has just lost a wheel.

    October 10, 2008 at 9:42 am |
  4. Brenda Harris

    Under this current administration, We have lost financially; and we have lost all dignity. Mccain and Palin are just an extention. WE surly cannot stand by and let an administration lead us to a cliff and another more of the same make us jump off that cliff.

    We have the chance to turn this mess around and to bring Peace and Understanding............ WE MUST CHOOSE CHANGE

    October 10, 2008 at 8:58 am |

    ACORN will blow Obamas crooked campaign wide open.

    William Ayers,ReverenJeremiahWright, Louis Farrakhan, Tony Rezkho, ChicaoDailey machine will all help.

    It's over for Obama.

    A junk yard dog in an empty suit filledwith lies, deception, terrorist connections,ACORN VOTER FRAUD.

    October 10, 2008 at 8:52 am |
  6. brian in ont

    What goes around,comes around.Remember The looser Rudy Juli - at the convention well John McCain doesn't have a ghost of a chance,nada–zippo–zero chance–finito.

    October 10, 2008 at 8:13 am |
  7. gary cimino

    As a Canadian watching your candidates spar with each other it is sad to listen to the misleading statements, the outright lies, the inaccurate facts, the twisting of comments made by each other and the character assassinations by the republicans and their attack dog Sarah Palin. Where does she get the hutzpah to even think she is qualified to be vice president and God forbid president! I find American elections to be acrimonius with some fear mongering thrown in. There is such a divide in the U.S. that I doubt the country can ever come together. Hopefully, Obama might be the one man who can do that.

    October 10, 2008 at 7:53 am |
  8. Chris

    I find it both curious and amusing that Sen. mcCain and Gov. Palin use the 'maverick' label as something positive. Haven't we had a 'maverick' in the WH for the past 8 years? And look where that's gotten us.

    October 10, 2008 at 7:17 am |
  9. martinet

    Hello Carolyn,
    I totally agree with you. I'm a foreigner and I can assure you that in Western Europe and in Africa we no longer have a good image of the US. Today, it doesn't stand up by the principles and ideals that we have been taught about your country. The Republicans are having a dispicable attitude towards Obama; I'd almost think that out of dispair they reveal their true character : being racist.
    Since you seem to be open minded and outsopoken, could you please tell me why do Americans have such hatred and disdain towards Muslims? You know, being a Muslim is not being a terrorist! What do Muslim Americans think of both candidates' attitude towards their religion? Aren't they sad and shocked about it?
    Suppose a presidential candidate were a Muslim, would it be just bad or unconstitutional?
    All the best.

    October 10, 2008 at 7:10 am |
  10. alex chronis

    It appears like the "real" McCain has come forward.Who really puts country and ideals above personal gain and ambition?Certainly not the "straight talking" senator McCain.

    October 10, 2008 at 5:21 am |
  11. Luke

    You are right Caran, I fear for my grown children's future. I don't know how the "people" can take back the electoral process and wring out of the hands of the rabid partisans on both sides, but if we don't I am afraid the histroy books will not need many pages to describe the rise and fall of the great American experiment.

    I live overseas now, and this is a total embarassment - candidates outright calling each other liars. Three is no serious debate about what is wrong or what needs to be done to fix it.

    I am thoroughly disgusted.

    October 10, 2008 at 5:14 am |
  12. Jean

    Moderate this: CNN and big media are once again trying to swing the election. Every story and comment that gets through is anti-Republican. Big media is trying to become a shadow Government.

    October 10, 2008 at 4:44 am |
  13. Ann from San Diego, CA

    Kathleen parker had it right weeks ago: Palin needs to go. From the moment America got to see Palin being interviewed, the McCain campaign seem to go downhill. McCain's VP pick was crucial for me and he definitely let me down. Unfortunately, McCain could have sealed my vote had he elected a more responsible, intellectual running mate. Weeks ago, I was an undecided voter leaning McCain – I'm now almost going to vote for Obama. America needs reassurance that our leaders are competent & interested in restoring our reputation. I have zero faith that the McCain/Palin ticket will do that. The turn of events for McCain is very unfortunate indeed.

    October 10, 2008 at 4:19 am |
  14. Dorothy, atlanta, ga

    me too Ms. Carolyn Rollins I am completely embarrassed. and the mccain/pailin camp are supposed to be christians and more so mrs palin is supposed to be a "born again" christian. what they are doing is unraveling their own character and not barack obama's. please guys let's pray for our great nation. let the truth bring light to all this darkness.
    obama/biden 08.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:36 am |
  15. angela

    it seems like i have to agree with caran and carolyn, i too wanted to vote for mccain but it seems like his campaign went south when he appointed palin. then to claim christianity with the slurs like what they said, unbelievable. unless this is actually a ploy for obama which goes to prove all americans are nothing but pawns, and i'm sure all other nations are saying it looks like they're colors are finally showing. and our poor military has to end up paying for it.

    October 10, 2008 at 3:07 am |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    Three concerns about this election.
    1) That a presidential candidate who gets 50.7% of the individual votes can win by 489 electoral votes out of 540 in the past and theoretically therefore could do so again.
    2) Your expert panel today on Anderson Cooper, did manage to raise the spectre of race and how it could affect the final vote despite the polls. If it turns out Obama wins the female vote and Independents there are a lot of people still in America with so called unstated racial prejudice and religious prejudice and that is very, very sad.
    3) In domestic presidential candidate voting ( this is being very precise in choice of words here) the international consequences of a vote for Mccain or Obama are too low on the Agenda especially in this election where the economic crisis in America is having global impacts, as well as the war in Iraq and against terrorism. In this area a clear change in philosophy from past Republican strategy or tactics is clearly essential. Hope it will reflect but not sure.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:34 am |
  17. Jt from TN

    O'bama needs one more state besides Navada to swing his way and that puts him over 270. Face it it's over.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:25 am |
  18. joe niemczura in honolulu

    Hey ed, I have truly enjoyed your insight. – have a scoop for you about 'maverick' – mccain's nickname from his flying days. We learned recently that he'd crashed three planes in his career prior to being shot down. . . .well, they gave him 'maverick' because 'crash' 'crater' and 'wing nut' were already taken.


    October 10, 2008 at 2:12 am |
  19. dexter

    If McCain and Palin were people of color they would be accused of being angry, Anti- American radicals. The scary part of all of this is that they are appealling to poorly educated white blue collar workers of swing states. The anger and bitterness they incite is not pproductive to our countries future or those of our children. I've been hearing words like socialist and communist thrown around, most of the people using them couldn't tell you the difference between the two. They are not the same. Duh!! Saying it loud don't make it right.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:10 am |
  20. Louise

    In the past I have split my votes among both parties, trying to find the best candidates. I am very disappointed with the campaign Sen. McCain is running. Those aren't stump speeches he and the unqualified Gov. Palin are giving. They are inciting a mob. If I were Sen. McCain I'd be careful next time he tries to reach across that aisle. As for my vote, I won't be splitting my votes this year. I will vote for every Democrat on my ballot from Sen. Obama on down. Our country is in terrible trouble. Our next President will need all the help and support he can get.

    October 10, 2008 at 2:04 am |
  21. Michael Joshua

    The race is definately not over for Mc cain..All he needs to do now is remain focused on the message and allow Palin to continue to raise genuine questions about Obamas associations and judgement............After all whoever shuld be the next president shuld be able to stay above board and be an exemplary leader and not just a campaigner.....There are a lot of things yet to be known about this man and that makes him more risky.............Mc Cain shuld be steadfast and resolute with his campaign and not bother himself with the polls,this polls cannot be trusted,period..

    October 10, 2008 at 2:00 am |
  22. Joe Ayala

    I'm sure McCain has good ideas about in what direction the U.S. , but, let's face it the economy is in the sewers or lower and the last eight years under the Bush administration, a republican administration is weighing heavily against Sen. McCain and the mountain is just too high to the top or climb.

    of course, this runs in cycles, history is a proof of that. the late President Ronald Reagan was in the right place at the right time, the Carter administration had ruin the U.S. economy and foreign policies in shambles and President Bill Clinton was also in the right place at the right time. after 12 years of republican control of the white house, american, basically said enough is enough.

    this year, it will be Obama being elected into the highest office in the land. and the stock market will go up, that also is part of history. the stock market always go up after election year (presidential).

    October 10, 2008 at 1:37 am |
  23. J. Marc Hannibal

    I too am distressed by the tenor of the campaign that McCain and Palin are running. The pictures from today that showed McCain's crowd jeering and looking like the old lynch mobs that used to appear in old cowboy movies. David Gergen is right that violence might ensue. McCain is not showing leadership.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:31 am |
  24. JusMe

    Sarah Palin and John McCain have been starting riots not rallies. These are not the people we want our kids to see in the white house. They are getting dirtier and dirtier everyday, how far will they go? Michelle Obama had the opportunity on CNN to trash the republican ticket, John McCain, Sarah Palin and even Cindy McCain and she did what we know a real American should have. She is bipartisan.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  25. Garfield Tyson

    I watched Larry King Live and his guests were three long term Republican party members ,two of which denounced the John McCain/Sarah Palin ticket for the mud slinging, lies,racism ,name calling that has been carried out desperately by them throughout this campaign. Much respect and kudos go out to Michelle Laxall for calling the Palin veep selection a joke and denouncing the way the Mccain/Palin campaign is being run.Mrs Laxall did not bite her tongue, she was brutally honest irrespective of the fact that she has been associated with the Republican party since forever. When you witness the deflection/distraction campaign being run by the McCain/Palin ticket it is refreshing to see someone puts partisan politics aside and call it like it is. To you Mrs Laxall, much respect !!

    October 10, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  26. Kathy

    Based on the media coverage I have seen, some of the comments that have been thrown around at the McCain/Palin rallies are incredibly frightening. What have we not learned from history? Group gatherings that serve to encourage hate and blame in such a dehumanizing way are dangerous! We HAVE to check this behavior before it gets out of hand. Further, McCain and Palin as potential world leaders, specifically, have a responsibility to discourage such an environment. I find it quite ironic that they accuse Obama of being a terrorist, while they do nothing to inhibit the same type of behavior that planted the seeds of Nazism.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  27. Jay

    Hero's are people who show courage under duress. Mcain is no hero. He is just an old man who is bitter about being upstaged by a Black Man with a funny name.

    The example being set by Mcain and his supporters is shameful and is hurting our democracy. The file and the flilth being diplayed in the rallies for the republicans is vile.

    October 10, 2008 at 1:07 am |
  28. from Arizona

    It is a dangerous game the McCain/Palin camp has decided to play, this hateful rhetoric is going to create a horrible and unbearable level of hate crimes which are going to arise after the election. Whatever the outcome. They will be the one to blame.

    October 10, 2008 at 12:39 am |
  29. Socrates

    Why hasn't anyone criticized McCain for his support of the "Big Stick" Ideology? It is an Ideology that states that the United States has the right to intervene any country using economic or military means. Oh sure,
    Theodore Roosevelt said it was only used if a country "proved incapable of maintaining peace and sovereignty" but in reality it was used to invade many countries which did not agree with US policy. Is this how McCain sees the 21st century? Will we start invading any country we don't like? Is Iran Next?

    October 10, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  30. raymond

    mr McCain has endulged in dirty and trickery politics which have undermined the integrity of the United States presidential campaign. He is focused on attacking the personality and associations of Obama instead of focusing on issues that affect the American people and which the american people care about. t his clearly shows how badly he has ran out of ideas and showcasing just but the last kicks of a dieing horse. the worst that the american people can do is to elect a person such as MacCain to lead them, not to mention having a vice president of the Palin calibre. Barack Obama is has proved to be a visionally leader and will certainly get america out of this miasma of economic turmoil.

    October 10, 2008 at 12:36 am |
  31. mark

    sen mcCain i can feel your anger it give you great focus use the power of the darkside only then will you defeat OBAMA

    October 10, 2008 at 12:34 am |
  32. neikei

    If Barack Obama is tarred by working with Ayers, McCain is just as tarred by working with....Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and Robert Byrd, who was "once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a domestic terrorist organization!" McCain needs to answer to this!!!

    October 10, 2008 at 12:31 am |
  33. Roger Draper, WA

    As Carter was losing to Reagan because Americans wanted change, I don't remember Carter inciting hatred and tearing patriotic Americans apart just to win votes – bravo Mr. Carter, shame on you Mr. McCain.

    October 10, 2008 at 12:26 am |
  34. jean

    It was said today on the news that the Obama-Biden campaign has not used Acorn for voter registration during the presidential campaign.
    I do not know if this is also true for the primaries. But I imagine this will be used by the Republicans in another ad. I cannot understand how Sen. McCain allowed his campaign to use the same half thruths and lies that were used against him in the 2004 republican primaries,when his wife and family was attacked so viciously by the actual Pres. Bush

    October 10, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  35. Caran, Topanga, CA

    This Republican rural NV educated woman will be voting for Obama/Binden

    October 9, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  36. Jose Aquino

    McCain has nothing to offer beyond attacking Obama's character and letting his suppoters go crazy. Anyone who saw that rally today knows that the Republicans are willing to do anything to stop what is little by little becoming inevitable. Obama will win because he represents change and a new perspective of our country where we will be respected and admired again.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  37. Earl Ward

    The next President of the United States will have to overcome a great deal of financial problems and Foreign Deplomacy lost in the Bush administration. Personality wise and the ability to relate and make changes appears to be on the Obama campaign.


    October 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  38. Marty

    I agree with Caroloyn above. If John McCain wanted to win this election, and I'm not convinced of that, he (meaning his campaign and those involved) would learn to utilize that anger for the good rather than to destroy another human life; of course, this is the party that apparently is pro-life but not always obvious.

    October 9, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  39. kiran from PA

    Why is it a good thing to throw false accusations on Obama?? There is no friendship and advice exchange between Ayers and Barack. As a reporter you should do your research on who Ayers is. Also how come you guys are not putting out the names of the rest of the people on the charity board (gops & conservatives). Is that how you guys want to win? The world is laughing at us again just like 2004, please review the front cover of the British newspapers (even our allies are making fun of us).

    October 9, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  40. Phil C.

    John McCain is an American hero and will go down in history as tremendous statesman. Unfortunately, he's running for a party that has had its virtues questioned because of the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration. His choice of a Vice Presidential candidate was a move of desperation and appears to be hurting his chances to be elected. All I know is that when I vote for Barack Obama, I'm voting less against John McCain as I am for current Republican policies.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  41. Nicole in Birmingham

    I don't have anything personal against McCain/Palin but I cannot understand for the life of me why so much hate and anger it taking place at their rallies. Isn't the President supposed to unite the country instead of dividing and tearing it down? And don't give me that crap that this is politics because it has become very personal which makes me very concerned for Obama safety if he was elected President. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with Obama views or policies but its totally different to wish him harm. Anybody explain to me why McCain/Palin just keep on talking and not addressing it. Wow, Is this Country First?

    October 9, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  42. AE from Canada

    The US needs someone to inspire its citizens and give them hope on the future, not the same-old-same-old. Obama inspires, McCain doesn't.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  43. John

    To Carolyn Rollins

    Over the past fifteen months I have been traveling through a number countries in Southeast Asia. It appears to be the new crossroads
    for the world. What I have found is that the magority of the people
    that I have met(from around the world) do not really like us or respect
    us. Questions like"Why do American need such big houses?", "Where are your country's ethics?", " The war in Iraq was
    just about greed wasn't it?".

    The United States is a great nation, we have given much to the world
    in aid, but right now our home is broken, and our goverment is broken
    and corrupt.

    It is now time for the citizens of the US to take a very close look at
    ourselves, and ask questions about which direction we want our
    once great nation to head.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  44. nicky john

    With God, All things are POSSIBLE. Barrack thank you for putting God first and letting HIM guide you. You are a prayerful Man who also loves his family.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  45. Emma

    You are right carolyn, what kind of leader they are? If someone noticed last debate, Obama/McCain, after the debate Obama want to reach McCain hand but McCain avoid it, instead his wife. McPalin are hatred people how they manage their own believes that they are very religious. Shame on them, really. And for Palin, you can not tell Obama as terrorist unless he is proven quilty...If you can not be friend to someone else have fast then you are not a good Leader.


    October 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  46. Winfield

    The campaign for presidency has begun to pass McCain/Palin. Their frustration mounts and I share it. How can someone be expected to win when the media gives Obama/Biden free pass after free pass. Sen. Biden, a 36 year veteran of the US Senate and the Judiciary Committee does not even understand the US Constitution, Article I IS about the Legislative as Gov Palin correctly answered. Was this pointed out by anyone in the media, no it was ignored and instead we are told how intelligent Sen. Biden is and knowledgeable even though aftere 36 years the Constitution still seems to elude the lawyer.

    With Sen Obama, how can the media ignore that his policies consist of pointing out how McCain is Bush the 2nd and he will cut taxes for those of us who earn less than $250,000. Thats it, the big substance of his proposal, the rest is variations on the theme. He likes to point out how we spent so much money in Iraq, cleverly avoiding the fact exponential points more are spent every year on social programs and he wants to add to this total.

    The fix is in this year and I fear that in '12 we will be where Carter-Reagan were in '80.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  47. Carolyn Rollins

    What kind of Leader would actually stand up before a crowd of people and invoke anger and hatred towards another opponent, even to the point of riot and does nothing to calm the crowd? Has Mccain lost his integrity? This is the one who said he would run an honorable campaign. What happened?

    For the last week John Mccain and Sarah Palin have been giving stump speeches where they have tried to discredit Obama and provoke crowds to anger. Some people in the crowd shouting out words like traitor, terrorist, ect... One man even shouted out kill him. John Mccain and Sarah Palin said nothing nor did they do anything to calm the crowd. They continued to feed negativity to the crowd, as the crowd shouted obscenities about Obama. Is this what our Leaders do, incite riots? We are talking about a U.S Senator and a U.S. Governor, who could very well be the next President and Vice President of the United States. Yet they are rallying people to the point of riots.
    Is this what America has been reduced to? Is not America considered to be Ambassadors of peace? I wonder what other nations think of us when they see this kind of behavior in the news? As an American I am completely embarrassed.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  48. Bret Peters

    I have respect for Mcain. This economic situation, brought on by de-regulation, which he has always been extremely behind, has knocked him out of the race. His recent proposals are either already in place, or originally proposed by democrats months or years before this election, with less risk to home owners, or tax payers, or both. He is all over the board on this and stealing others plans, and slogans. I used to look up to him, but when it comes to the economy, and his negative attacks, I now feel sorry for him. For months now I've been leaning Obama, this past month there is now nothing to even make consider voting Rep. this year.
    What happened to our Hero? Sad.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  49. Betty

    Is Cindy Lou back on drugs??

    October 9, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  50. Larry

    What's the beatle song 'money can't buy you love'; but it can buy you the white house if you pour enough into ACORN.

    October 9, 2008 at 6:01 pm |