October 13th, 2008
03:07 PM ET

McCain campaign following in Hillary's footsteps

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/10/art.mccain.7.11..jpg]Ed Rollins
AC360° Contributor
GOP Strategist, Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman

A campaign at war with itself cannot fight its opponent effectively.

We have seen two major campaigns this year that could be described as internally divided - Sen. Hillary Clinton's losing primary campaign and now Sen. John McCain's general election effort.

And while chaos and disarray reigned supreme in Sen. Barack Obama's opponents' campaigns, the steady, disciplined and strategically driven Obama campaign marches forward toward likely victory.

Clinton's campaign had several different groups setting and implementing strategy. They include the first campaign team led by pollster Mark Penn, her loyalists from the White House days led by eventual campaign manager Maggie Williams and campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, and a rump group led by her husband. Prior to this year and his efforts on his wife's behalf, President Clinton was viewed as one of the best political strategists around.

All that brain power couldn't come together and agree on a consistent strategy to beat a young inexperienced outsider. There will be second guessing and finger pointing for years to come.

We now see something similar in the McCain campaign. There have been at least three major managerial changes or overthrows in the past 18 months.

The first was the Rick Davis/John Weaver battle.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Rollins • Hillary Clinton • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. herb

    McCain keep up the negative campaining-you are doing just what a few of the people like–you lost the wife and my vote

    October 13, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  2. Marie

    Reading through these comments it is obvious that some Republicans seem to be very angry to see that McCain in trailing in the polls, again I think the McCain Republicans need to stop being hateful at Sentor Obama and if they want to see a change in this election they need to focus their canidate on the issues which is what people care about. If people cared about the negative remarks on everyone that is not a McCain supporter (including remarks abou the media) then perhaps McCain would be ahead in the polls wouldn't he.

    October 13, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  3. xtina, chicago IL

    The thing with Barack Obama is not so much that he chose to have his first Chicago fundraiser at unrepentant-terrorist William Ayers' house but that Wm. Ayers chose to back Obama. What does that tell us?

    October 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Janice Pound

    McCain spent 8 yrs as a fighter pilot, poss. commander of a few pilots. He said he liked bombing and firing rockets. Looks like that holds true today. A prisoner for 5yrs. then his bio is practically zilch nothing for 11 yrs. Then elcected to congress. For 15 yrs he did nothing noteable and was unheard of except in Ariz. Then he ran for Pres. the only military leadership I can find was hearsay from his military relatives. If you didn't want him in 2000 why would you want him now. The Reps. have become greedy and power hungry. As Chuck Hagel said this Rep. party are not the kind of people that were in congress when he was elected. I see no connection of Hilary to McCain since all were fighting for nomination for Pres. they obviously said things against each other. which has no validity today.

    October 13, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  5. Phil

    When the average Joe or Jane works on government contracts that contain information that is secret from our enemies (like range of missiles, or warhead design), they must get a government clearance, by being investigated by the FBI, prior to working on those contracts. If we want to elect a commander in chief to be in charge of all our military, let's get the FBI to see if Obama can get a government clearance. If he or anyone is going to have access to our secret information, let's have him get a clearance through the FBI!

    No one else in the country would ever get an FBI clearance if they had friends or acquaintances as terrorists!

    October 13, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  6. Michelle

    Oh, and one other thing people, McCain wasn't the one to introduce Senator Obama's questionable associates, HILARY CLINTON did,.........did you all hear that HILARY CLINTON was the one who first questioned the Messiah's, I mean Senator Obama's credibilty, but how convenient to forget.

    Oh, and the McCain camp is racist? Wasn't that what they accused Bil Clinton of, .......good ole Bill? Seems it's what they use to shut everyone up, Acron's using it, the Dems. are using it as their talking point, Roland said using the words "Hockey Mom," is a code word, huh, and the best is when Republicans tried to warn about Freddie and Fannie, oh, there it goes again, theywere being racist, actually, to quote good ole Maxine Waters, "it has a lynching of Franklin Raines," emember the one who made off with $90 MILLION dollars.

    When all else fails, use the race card. Campbell Brown is cleverly already positionning herself, in the event thatBarack loses,.......it would be as a result of some action of the brain and some psychological mishap. She cracks me up.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Here is the thing, Mr. Rollins, the Republican-hate-fear-lies-and-attack machine is vile and disturbing. The GOP does not get it!

    For the last 8 years, we have been ruled by the Republicans and here is what we have received:

    Our patriotism has been questioned.
    Our National debt has doubled, to over $10 TRILLION.
    Our Nation has lost 759,000 jobs this year alone!
    Our Nation is almost bankrupt! With the war in Iraq, that has nearly bankrupted us! Spending $10 BILLION a month!
    The DEFICIT for 2009 is likely over ...........$490 BILLION.

    Plus from January 1994 through January 2007, the REPUBLICANS controlled both the House and Senate! They did their best to de-regulate banks and Wall Street.

    My husband and I are former Republicans who voted for Bush. We are now registered Independents........and white professionals voting for Sen. Obama!

    The Republicans have become to hateful, divisive and their lies are despicable. We reject the politics of fear.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm |
  8. Michelle

    Raw politics, huh Anderson?????

    What about Farrakhan's endorsement????? Maybe you'll air it after the election. Hilary got it right, but unfortunately, you guys in the media had your own startegy,......give Obama a free pass.

    I am Indian and from a country where one third of the population is Muslim, some extreme, some not and while you guys in the media turn a deaf ear, conveniently, extremist nuts are backtracking, term for illegal entry, through our borders and setting up shop here. How soon you have forgotten 9/11, you guys don't have a clue, but never say you weren't warned or be the first to response to a crisis and with shock on face say, "no one warned us." How pathetic.

    It boils down to this one question, would any mother want her child/son bringing Senator Obama's associates home as their friend?

    October 13, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    Excuse me, but Obama's questionable associatiions are no where near as bad as the ones of Palin and McCain. Palin and her husbands involvement in a domestic terrorist movement (the Alaska Independence Party) is real and is a major problem. Obama happens to know someone who forty years ago was a founder of the Weathermen. Obama has not gone around praising that individuals past deeds neither has he urged anyone to emulate them. However, Palin and husband have been doing just that with the Alaskan separatist movement. To me that is treason and it should disqualify her from holding any governmental office. If McCain didn't know about it then his other decisions are probably also faulty.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  10. Marie

    If McCain is truly a 'fighter' then he needs to put on the gloves for this up-hill battle he is facing. I do believe that the turmoil in his own campaign have been a problem, it has muffled his message he does not come across clear and precise. Obama's message, on the other hand, defiantly accomplishes clarity. But there have also been other decision this candidate has made that has him in this predicament. The decision to make Paulin his running mate, at the surface was a wonderful idea now as the dust has settled and she is revealed it turns out she is a game changing add but in the opposite manner than the campaign had expected. Also McCain’s statement where he mentioned something along the lines of ‘the basis of the economy are strong’ was defiantly a game changer for many Americans who have daily struggles because of the current economic situation. McCain has approximately three weeks to turn this around and although stranger things have happened, he truly needs to focus on his actions to help America, not bashing Obama.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  11. Tony Z

    I am an Arab but American first and foremost. McCain's response to the lady who described Obama as arab, though was good, was not good enough. Being arab is not a bad thing. In my opiniong McCain's response should have included a rebuke to all those who encourage racial divisions in our nation. Given the direction or lack of in the McCain campaign itself, it is not surprising to see many people reserve to racially motivated attacks in order to instil fear in the hearts of americans.
    Today, I made my decision to vote for Obama only after I heard his economic plan not because he is from an african descent but because he exuded confidence and had specifics rather than generalities. I do not need a candidate to tell me he can win wars and fix the economy and unite the country, I need a candidate to tell me specifics on how he intends to repair the broken economy and how he plans to bring the troups home from iraq as soon as possible. That candidate is Obama and he will get my vote.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  12. Kelly

    Yep! At McCain's rally today, the Rocky theme song was played at nausieum. Hmm. Rocky vs. Apollo Creed-any parallels. Hmm. "Us" and "Them" terms used? This is getting ugly and the gloves aren't even off yet. Guard your grill Obama and watch out for the low blows since the GOP is pitifully desperate.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  13. Linda/Michigan

    When you look at Barack Obama, you see the first African American man running for the President of the United States and you are proud. When I look at Barack Obama, I see a man who lacks character and judgement regarding his questionable and disturbing associations both privately and publically. I see a man who refuses to release his college records and thesis from Columbia and Harvard Universities. I see a man who became a Christian not because he disagreed with the teachings of the Koran he knew at that time, if he were to run for political office, voting for a Muslim, victory would be next to impossible. When you talk about Obama's campaign, you express how brilliantly it has been run. When I speak of Obama's campaign, I express how they are deceiving the people by telling half truths. I see a campaign that has hired staff who can be linked to others who hold extremist views.
    When you hear and see Rev. Wright, you see a man of God who cares and is committed to helping the black community. When I see and hear Rev. Wright, I see a man who along with his long time friend Farrakhan, who in the name of God, spew hatred towards America, Jews and whites. Rev. Wright and Farrakhan have traveled together to Iran,what could the Iranians have that would be of interest to the black community?
    Have you ever wondered why a white man, Bill Ayers, an admitted communist and radical, would help Obama jumpstart his political career? Ayers and his followers which included his wife, planted bombs at the Pentagon, police stations and the Capitol. Ayers does not have a history of being an advocate for the black community. Why would he help Barack Obama, when the two seem to have different views of the world? Or do they?
    The Barack Obama I see, is a man that I believe will bring change to America but it is a change that is not in America's interest.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Sharon Kitchen

    Steady as she goes.......onward to victory Obama/Biden '08.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  15. Dave P montana

    Let me just remind you my friends, John McCain is The most Patriotic presedential candidate in most recent history! 22 years in the military with 5 1/2 of those year's as a prisoner of war. He has been a senator for over a quarter century. That's 48 years serving this country. How old is Obama? McCain, is by far, the more qualified for running this country! Especially considering that we are at war with two different country's as we speak! This is a no brainer people! This isn't a time for inexperience and promised change! The change's that need to happen, and current situation in Iraq and Afganastan, can't be handled by a "rookie."

    October 13, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  16. Annie Kate

    Obama is marching towards victory in the election in the same organized indomitable way that Sherman marched through Georgia to the sea. Its hard to halt something with that much momentum behind it. McCain is going to have to coordinate his efforts – ads, Palin, and himself – to counter effectively Obama's stride to victory. There is a op-ed piece on CNN today by Tara Wall, another CNN contributor, about 20 ways Obama is like Bush – might be worth a read for those still researching the candidates and even for those who have finished their research.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  17. Mark

    Many of republicans told me that they willl vote for Obama becasue of this economic turmoil. They hate Rick Davis and all the other lobbyists that are working for McCain. They truly believe that Bush failed because of those people. Trust me they are not paying attention to Obama's race or any negative ad.

    October 13, 2008 at 3:20 pm |