October 27th, 2008
10:45 PM ET

Election 2008 is heading for the history books

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/22/art.undecided.gi.jpg]Ed Rollins
AC360° Contributor
GOP Strategist, Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman

We're coming to the close of the longest and most costly presidential election in our history.

Whoever wins, this race will be historic. We will elect in a week either the first African-American president and the first Catholic vice president or the oldest man to be elected to a first term and the first woman vice president.

Another asterisk for the record books would be the election of the first president born in Hawaii or vice president raised in Alaska.

Fifty-six times Americans have gone to the polls to select our presidents. This is the first time two sitting U.S. senators are facing off against each other. It is the first time since 1928 a sitting president or vice president is not a candidate. But two presidents, the incumbent and his immediate predecessor, cast giant shadows over this election season.

The biggest shadow of course is that of President Bush. Our 43rd president's goal in life was to surpass his father, 41, whom he admired but felt was weak.

Guided by his political guru, Karl Rove, it was Bush II's ambition to make the Republican Party the majority party for decades to come. He and Karl wanted to create a political realignment that would marginalize Democrats for at least a generation and maybe more.


Editor's Note: Ed Rollins, who served as political director for President Reagan, is a Republican strategist who was national chairman of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Rollins • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Nigel George

    Hi Mr Rollins, i'm Nigel George. I am an African American. Yo made a remark that was disturbing to me and my family and i'm sure you offended many paople. You said, " Obama is a different kind of African American."

    This sounds very familiar to what people who don't like, or have a negative view of African Americans say when they find one that they like.

    I've had people say to me, "i don't like black people but you are one of the good ones."
    When you say Mr. Obama is a different kind of African American, you are essentially saying, you have a negative view of African Americans, except Mr Obama, because he is one of the few good ones.

    I watch you often Mr. Rollins, and i respect and admire you. I was very disappointed to hear you say that.


    -Nigel George

    November 4, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  2. Jesse

    SEN. Cain can’t protect America from any harm no more than SEN. Obama. I say this because many Americans feel SEN. McCain is a hero and I don’t doubt the love and dedication that he has for his country but having served in numerous conflicts in support of our nations interests I understand what a war hero is. Jessica Lynch was captured because she went the wrong way in a convoy; does that make her an American hero? As a former convoy commander I know she was captured because she failed to follow proper procedures. I am in no way trying to take away from SEN. McCains’ tenure as a POW but was his capture a result of failure to follow proper procedures? I have wounds to show and boast about my service but I choose to not make it public but, I’m not running for president of the US of America. Maybe I should use it to my advantage and bring it up to be in my favor and just maybe I’ll get world class health care, several houses and allow Americans to feel sorry for me because my vehicle was hit by an IED while on a convoy in Iraq defending our nations freedom. Maybe, I’ll remain the former US Army Soldier that supported no matter what, the guidance and direction provided to me by my Commander-N-Chief and not a veteran who had a bad case of BAD LUCK.

    October 31, 2008 at 2:56 am |
  3. Keltch McNabb

    Ed Rollins' assertion that Sarah Palin will be "the most popular Republican in this country when this thing is over. She'll basically spend the next three of four years, running around doing Lincoln Day dinners and raising money for people. She's got to gain a lot of substance before she's a viable candidate for president." is ludicrous. I wouldn't want her to run my child's daycare never mind the country.

    Mark my words, as of November 5th she will be forgotten, except for on VH1's "where are they now" show. Sarah Palin is the biggest "celebrity" out there, but that is not the substance we need right now.

    Dear Ms. Palin, You got 3 minutes left of your 15 minutes of fame.


    October 29, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Sarah - Omaha

    If Obama wins the election, and it looks as though he will, I predict he will be a one term President. He will have the country in such a mess that it four years the voters will want him out of the White House.

    Unfortunately there will be those who blame it on his race and it could be many years before we see another African-American President.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Joan

    Historical Third and final presidential debate between Rep. Sen. John McCain and Dem. Sen. Barack Obama .

    First question on tax cuts:
    Barack Obama: "Let's help families right away by providing them a tax cut - a middle-class tax cut for people making less than $200,000, (Clearly stated and documented in the Official Transcripts.)
    What happened to Obama's promised tax cut of $250,000 or less?
    Obama says what the voters want to hear. Eloquent speeches wooing the frightened flock.

    Barack promises to bring the troops home in 16 months.
    Obama's foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power tells the national press "Obama has No hard and fast policy about withdrawing from Iraq". She later resigned.
    Clinton agreed with Power's saying, "This is the latest example of Obama promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another."
    This sounds eerily similar to a statement made on national Television by long time friend and mentor Jeremiah Wright, "Barack says what he has to say as a politician."

    Not bad for a two year Senator, not bad at all.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  6. Lou

    The reason, and only reason Palin was put on the ticket was because McCain was so boring, they needed someone exciting and glamorous to excite.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:29 pm |
  7. Pearl Lacey

    The reason Palin is not ready to be the VP is because she does not know the job description. She told a 3rd grader that the job of the VP is to preside over the Senate. WRONG! If the child had to answer that question on a test, he or she would get it wrong.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  8. David W., Florida


    This is probably one of your best and most balanced articles.

    Nice job.

    October 28, 2008 at 10:07 am |
  9. Staunch Dem

    This election is by far the most exciting and the most scariest. We will mark history if an unexperienced Vice president such as Sarah come into office.It is so scary because John's life expectancy is 75 and here comes this incompetent women who loves to spend thousands on clothes. How will America be four years from if these two are elected?

    I pray Obama wins!!

    October 28, 2008 at 9:17 am |
  10. Cindy Gennaro

    Regardless of who wins the election, in my eyes the real loser will be the American people and the way the media has covered and spun this election. It is not your job to inject your own opinions into the news casts. It is your job to report the news objectively. I used to be a huge CNN fan, believing at one time you were actually an objective news organization. Although I am a republican, I am very much in the center and have voted Democrat in the past. I feel you insult the viewers by actually trying to appear unbiased. I find it extremely sad for America.

    October 28, 2008 at 7:58 am |
  11. Max

    Yeah Ed, you got that RIGHT ...

    IT will be HISTORICAL.

    October 28, 2008 at 7:26 am |
  12. ralph

    And no news if Mickey Mouse voted in Ohio. Mouse is a surname I found in the 1850 census. This is well before Disney used the name. That means the search I did for Ohio might have a Mickey in Columbus and Grandville. Maybe the other large media tv news should go see if these are bogus before telling everyone in America that Mickey Mouse does not exist or are they quietly shoveling money in the back yard?

    October 28, 2008 at 5:18 am |
  13. Kim

    We are stronger and our voices are heard. "Always vote for principle,though you may vote alone,and you may cherish the sweetest gift that you're vote is never lost." John Quincy Adams. "It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time,you can even fool some of the people all of the time;but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln ! 18 million cracks and still cracking and so are our polar ice caps ! We don't have time, not working toward a balance of interests,unity and global peaceful solutions.

    October 28, 2008 at 3:52 am |
  14. Joe Jobe

    To be honest I wish the whole thing was already over. Yes the main reason is the negativity, but mainly McCains. As Micheal Moore said the GOP are smarter when it comes to winning elections. Today McCain started unloading all guns of what Obama is doing wrong. Almost all the topics he brought forward, we can look at and say he has either done with W. Or we can look at his own record and find where he has either done them himself or he is backing a buddy, oops sorry, a friend in doing the same thing. He has done nothing but call Obama a socialist. Well if we use the eqation he's using against Mr. O, his buy back plan of homes put's him shoulder to shoulder with Obama. McCain has been pro-choice for as long as I can remember, but he has became pro-life for the masses. But finally a story stating the truth, saying he will not judge his judges on their pro-choice views. McCain is a walking talking contradiction and nothing but a man that latches on to anything to blast his opponent. He reminds me so much of Bush. His looks in split screen make me believe that no one will tell him anything either aboard his Jet, Bus or God forbid his White House. Remember what Powell said, you break it you own it.

    October 28, 2008 at 2:37 am |
  15. marie pan (ibajay aklan, philippines)

    i thought palin was the kiss of death for obama's presidential aspirations...i'm glad i'm wrong...no matter how i try, i can't, for the life of me, understand why mccain chose gov. palin. sure, she has potential, and she really energized the GOP base...news flash: you need to win over the other side and the independents!!!

    October 28, 2008 at 2:30 am |
  16. Amber

    Hello, I am a 29 yr. old female from southern Oregon (I specify this because this area is largely conservative), and am outraged at the fact that this Sarah Palin woman thinks she represents the majority of women in the States–she is a disgrace to us, and all of the women, including my mom, whom I have always looked-up to and respected due to their fight for women's rights and courage to stand-up for the "little peoples' rights"! I beleive in a true separation of church and state, along with our four fathers–why doesn't she, as well as McCain? Do we really want to go back there?

    October 28, 2008 at 2:16 am |
  17. Andrea Davis

    I am an RN and when we use our tax money to give to Wallstreet and AIG we call it a bailout but when it is given to the middle class and the poor it is called socialism.we need to talk about this instead of palin clothes.

    October 28, 2008 at 2:15 am |
  18. Dan

    Sara Palin is not ready to be the vise president I am surprised that she was a Governor, and it has yet to be seen if she will be charged with fraud in Alaska, couldn’t McCain find a better running mate given his age we NEED someone to run this country if he is unable. I do not see how ANYONE can vote for this pair.

    October 28, 2008 at 2:15 am |
  19. Susan LaCoss

    Have you actually read Obama's book? I would think that those in the news media would be able to quote it chapter and verse since it was written before he was a candidate and is very revealing about the man himself. After all its called, Dreams of my Father for a reason.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  20. Polly

    Anderson, john McCain talks about spreading the wealth around, first of all, they are one who use our tax money to buy fancy clothes to that fancy lady about $150,000. If she go to the white house, she gonna robe every middle class people in America. Mark my words.


    October 28, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  21. katelyn

    I think Obama should win because he is a honest man and McCain is losing any way

    October 28, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  22. Neil

    anderson im so tired of the republican party. I voted for Bush in his first term and im ashamed to say it. Mccain selecting Palin has disgusted me. She is perfect for Hollywood not to run a country. They are unorganized and I dont trust Mccain. Watch You tube Mccains problem just became a nightmare it will change youre vote. They both have lied but Obama is definately the lesser of two evils.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  23. Kim

    So, why are we talking about rogue aides and clothes ? Shouldn't we be asking more questions that are intelligent ! What's going on ? We all need election 08 shots for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy or what ? Seriously, just hope for peace and unity and it's been an enlightening experience of which we can all look foward to exciting changes ! Pray for world peace and watch Extreme Challenges of which may scare you to death ! Send in shock treatment and we only have a few more days ! We've got some serious issues for the next president and God Bless America !

    October 28, 2008 at 1:06 am |
  24. Janine from PA.

    And he failed miserably. Aside from the main thing, to bring bin laden and his cohorts to justice, he has basically destroyed his party or the party he pretended to be part of. Has no credibility now his own party doesn't want to be seen with him, many even went against him over the bailout. Who's the real weak one?

    October 28, 2008 at 1:05 am |
  25. Dave Milchen

    John Mc Cain is like a tournament fisherman late in the event, frantically changing lures praying that he'll come up with one that will work!
    Good luck John......

    October 28, 2008 at 12:46 am |
  26. susan

    I wonder what the record will be for electing Karl Rove into office? Shouldn't there be some term limits set on that Karl Rove critter?

    October 28, 2008 at 12:38 am |
  27. Pat

    It astounds me that such Wisdom could be completely lost on loyalty!
    How anyone caring a wit about their Nation now journeying through the most turbulent, disastrous time ever recorded could support a man who would be the oldest to ever hold the office of President is beyond comprehension! Add to that his more than apparent signs of senilty, out of control temper tantrums, failing health and last but not least, the most astounding, ridiculous, perilous, choice of VP ever made thus illuminating his blantant lack of decision making ability! I have always admired Mr. Rollins as a man of character, wisdom and honesty but I have to say, given the Nation's more than dim future I think it's survival should take precedence over loyalty for a man who has proven what many once admired about him now scorn.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  28. TK

    I have much pause when I consider the gravity of what may happen in the coming week or for that matter what may not. I believe our very future weighs in the balance of the upcoming election. With so much reflecting NWO, we will need a New Leader with both a national and a global perspective to guide us toward a healthly The alleged recent attacks on Senator's Obama's life, the Hudson Murders, the Syria raid, the Iraq War, the state of the Global Economy, make Palin's defense of her "wardrobe malfunction" seem largely displaced and highly irrelevant. Are these all a sign of the times? Why are blacks being targeted? Most of us that live in America are only here as a result of the Middle Passage. And some of us share the same paternal blood lines as many of you. Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Jefferson, ring a bell? It is quite alarming to know that we, African-Americans are still considered the step child is disgusting.

    Because of the current state of affairs, we really should focus on the critical issues. Race is not a critical issue, but it will be an underlying one. Because this election is not just about choosing the best candidate, it is about choosing change versus current.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  29. Monica

    Well, we can say that GWB did surpass his father, with an even worse presidency that daddy's! I am elated to have a voting voice in such a historic and exciting presidential election! Go Obama/Biden!!!!

    October 27, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  30. Thomas Gallimore

    I live in North Carolina I voted this past Friday I am a republican, but I voted for Obama and straight democrat. I did so because I'm tired of the republicans robbing from the poor and middle class and giving to the rich. Obama is the right man for the United States because he cares about the middle class and the poor. I couldn't vote for McCain because he only cares about the rich and loves putting Obama's plans down since he has none.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  31. oliver

    The PALIN thing was all planed out since day one. The GOP will fire her days before the election and place Buchannn or Romney on the ballot to create momentum.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  32. Royce

    I am a Barack Obama supporter. Obama has been focused on the issues substantially more than McCain and Palin. All McCain and Palin seem to be doing is attacking Barack Obama and his policies and credibility; it sickens me.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  33. George Paynich

    I just saw that at this late date there are 6% undecided voters in the Presidential election. There have never been more differences in two Presidential candidates. If those 6% have not figured out the differences by now and which candidate represents their ideas, maybe the 6% should stay home on election day.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm |

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