November 5th, 2008
12:25 PM ET

McCain’s biggest mistake?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.mccain.nov.gi.jpg caption="What was the likable 'maverick's' biggest mistake?"]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

What happened to John McCain? The likable "maverick" who beat some pretty strong competition to capture his party's nomination had morphed into something else by yesterday.

After promising to run an "honorable" campaign, McCain quickly became another symbol of the divisive politics of past Republican presidential campaigns. Name calling, insults, pettiness, and empty gestures replaced the once likable McCain we all look to to challenge the status quo. His campaign got nasty, and his lack of judgment was on display for all to see a couple of times late in the race.

Sarah Palin was an act of desperation. With little vetting McCain named an unknown from Alaska to energize the Republican base. But she came with too much baggage and quickly went from an asset to a liability. Openly ignorant of the issues in press interviews, Palin began to offend women and anger McCain's campaign managers who sniped that she was a "rogue" who frequently went off the reservation in pursuit of her own interests instead of McCain's.

When the financial crisis exploded, McCain made a huge empty gesture. He suspended his campaign, threatened to cancel the first presidential debate-he was the one who wanted all those town meetings, remember? - and rushed back to Washington where he accomplished absolutely nothing. In the end, he looked silly.

He might not have been able to overcome the damage to the Republican brand anyway, but he quickly became his own worst enemy who gave away any chance to win.

Here’s my question to you: What was John McCain's biggest mistake?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Joan writes:
Hi Jack, John McCain's biggest mistake was running his campaign with an entitlement mentality. He truly felt that he was owed this election and when he saw that it was not going to be handed to him he ran a very negative campaign and in the process turned off many Americans.

Becky from Austin, Texas writes:
Let's see, there was his choice in running mate, his lack of understanding of our economic crisis, his lack of coherence throughout his campaign and of course, who can forget Joe the plumber. I wonder what he's going to do now. Maybe get his license to plumb finally?

Sarah writes:
He made a lot of mistakes but I think his biggest was picking Sarah Palin. Not just because it was a drag on the ticket, which was part of the reason he lost, but because of the divisions that she has caused within the Republican Party.

Melissa from Canada writes:
His biggest mistake was to change who he was as candidate from 2000 and become more in-line with a status quo that no one really supports anymore. He needed a clear message of how he was not George W. Bush and he never really delivered on that.

Kirsten from San Diego, California writes:
Simple: He selected a superficial political tactic for a Vice President instead of a qualified successor.

Mark from Mississippi writes:
The popular opinion will be Sarah Palin. I do believe that John McCain's worst mistake was running as a Republican in the election year following George W Bush. I do believe that in this election cycle that no Republican could have won the Presidency.

Filed under: 2008 Election • John McCain
soundoff (374 Responses)
  1. Mary from Houston, tx

    Seems like the country just cast a vote to repudiate bush/cheney, and embrace President-elect Obama's philosophy.
    McCain's mistake, being part of the G(reedy)OP.
    Wondering when and where will Gov. Palin's campaign wardrobe be donated?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  2. Bob

    Palin – Complete idiot

    November 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Charlie (Bethpage, NY)

    Mccain's biggest mistake was being a Republican. After eight years of Bush, he, or any Republican, didn't stand a chance. The pick of Palin, the negativity, and the fact that he was clearly out of touch didn't help him either.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:31 pm |
  4. M. Ross

    McCain's mistake was thinking ALL Americans weren't awake the last 8 years.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm |
  5. M. Ross

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    McCain’s mistake was thinking ALL Americans weren’t awake the last 8 years.

    Durham NC

    November 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm |
  6. linda shomberg, highlands ranch, co

    Katie (the tart) Courics interview with Sarah Palin. Thank you Katie, you've earned your chops.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm |
  7. Cindy Walker

    Not sticking to one consistent message/image. His flop flopping on how he was defining himself (and his entire campaign) made it difficult for people to get behind him. He came off as unsure of who he was and what he stood for, so how were people supposed to feel confident in him as our leader?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:35 pm |
  8. Roger in Vancouver, BC

    That's easy Jack. Caribou Barbie!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  9. Jerry, Silver Spring, MD

    He started his campaign too late. 8 years too late.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  10. becky

    Let's see: there was his choice in running mate, his lack of understanding of our economic crisis, his lack of coherence throughout his campaign and of course, who can forget Joe the plumber – wonder what he's going to do now, maybe get his license to plumb finally?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  11. Ethel, Florida

    I am not going to say anything negative today , Jack. I'll just use to
    letters to give you a hint: SP

    November 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm |
  12. Bill, Las Vegas, NV

    I think without hesitation that choosing Sarah Palin was the biggest mistake. This was an election of the middle...not the polarized ends of the political parties. She certainly energized the base, but after the intitial "buzz" wore off, she alienated the middle. Bad, bad, bad choice.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:37 pm |
  13. Julie from Toledo

    McCains biggest mistake was the negative comments he said every second he opened his mouth. Our children don't need to be brought up in that kind of hate.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  14. Becky

    Let's see: there was his choice in running mate, his lack of understanding of our economic crisis, his lack of coherence throughout his campaign and of course, who can forget Joe the plumber – wonder what he's going to do now, maybe get his license to plumb finally?

    Austin TX

    November 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  15. Dale

    One word.............Palin

    November 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  16. Charla in De Kalb, Texas

    It's a toss up between Sarah Palin and the nasty negative turn that McCain let his campaign take. On the other hand, the two may be intertwined. McCain lost touch with all but the most radical right wingers and racially biased voters, and didn't do anything to remedy the situation.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  17. David L. Krebs

    8 to 10 yrs. ago John McCain stood on his beliefs, wasn't a far right Republican, but stood for what was right–not what was Republican or Democrat. After Bush, and the religious right skunk him w/ lies, robo calls in S.C., McCain went right over and hugged and joined Bush. Went to Bob Jones Univ, and Jerry Farwell and kissed up to them. He sold himself out on his own principles and beliefs. People noticed this and it effected our belifs in him. I voted Democrat, but he was just a few of the Republicans, Nagel, Powell etc. that are moderates and truly seem to have America 's interest first instead of their power and party. David Krebs from Lawrenceville, GA.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  18. Joan

    Hi Jack,

    John McCain's biggest mistake was running his campaign with an entitlement mentality.
    He truly felt that he was owed this election and when he saw that it was not going to be handed to him he ran a very negative campaign and in the process turned off many Americans.


    November 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  19. Eddy

    2 of his biggest mistakes are 1) Tina fey's twin from Alaska and 2) focusing too much on making Obama look bad. The McCain of 2000 was brought back to life in his concession speech. McCain 2000 would not have let this campaign repeatedly shoot itself in the foot.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  20. Adena from Texas

    Senator McCain made a number of mistakes which we know all too well. The biggest overall was–Sarah Palin. I don't need to say anymore.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm |
  21. Tom Tx

    McCain pandered to the extreme wing of his party.If he had remained the" real" John McCain, he would have done well among more moderate voters and retained the respect he has lost.He still would have lost the election (those pesky far-right conservatives !),though.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm |
  22. Joan

    Hi Jack,

    John McCain's biggest mistake was running his campaign with an entitlement mentality.
    He truly felt that he was owed this election and when he saw that it was not going to be handed to him he ran a very negative campaign and in the process turned off many Americans.

    Syracuse, NY

    November 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm |
  23. Anthony S.

    Mccain's biggest mistake was that he ran with the republican party after George Bush's second term.

    "Fool me once, shame on you. If I get fooled, I can't get fooled again!"

    Anthony S.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:44 pm |
  24. ST

    Running for president. McCain is the one that is not qualified. He has been in Washington for years, but doesn't seem to have an idea of what is going on in the country. He does not have the intelligence to run America. He also made some really bad choices. He chose Sarah Palin as his runningmate, he didn't know what to do during the financial crisis, he underestimated Obama, he went too negative and did not talk about the issues that were important to us, and finally, he was not humble enough. I watched the debates and all I kept hearing was 'I', 'I', 'I', not 'we' but 'I'. He seemed angry and aggressive. We don't need those qualities in a President. We need someone decisive, intelligent, and stable. The World is a different place now and America needs to embrace it, starting with our leaders.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm |

    probably not having a consistant message throughout his campaign and not staying consistant with his past vs. his campaign would have to be at least two of his biggest mistakes.
    of course, picking and empty headed VP candidate didn't help him either and unfortunately that will probably set women in politics back 10 or 20 years. She has spent the past several months superglueing the cracks that Hillary made in the glass cieling.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm |
  26. Jenny Rome Ga


    November 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  27. Thomas/Alabama

    I think Sen. McCains first mistake was his VP choice. Gov. Palin was not ready for the national stage and when you pick an unprepared person just b/c of their sex and try to sheild her the way the campaign did naturely people get to wondering why are they not letting her talk, then they find out it was b/c she didn't know anything to speak about.
    I don't think Gov. Palin is dumb she just had to really take in too much information in such a short time and I don't believe any pres. candidate will pick someone like her again even if its a man that knows nothing. This election proved that you just can't risk picking someone with no national or foreign experience. Biggest mistake not picking Mitt Romney!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  28. Sarah Louise

    He made a lot of mistakes but I think his biggest was picking Sarah Palin. Not just because it was a drag on the ticket, which was part of the reason he lost, but because of the divisions that she has caused within the republican party.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  29. v. j.

    That's an easy one: Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  30. Anna - Santa Teresa, NM

    No strategy plan and no organization. He was their party's nominee long before Obama got the Democratic nomination and still McCain had no clear strategy. (McCain had the nerve to say in a debate that Obama didn't know the difference between tactics and strategy.) Clue #1 was when he took Obama's idea on change and tried to make it his. Then he tried to run on Palin's back and when that didn't work, he threw in Joe the Plumber.

    Whoever his campaign manager was, he shouldn't be allowed to run another campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  31. gary allan

    Sen. McCain's biggest mistake was thinking that the American people would accept Gov. Plain as a viable candidate for VP..what was he thinking? I truly feel this had a MAJOR impact on his chance to become President..his age was the other major factor but his selection of Plain was an embarrasment to the intelligence of us all...and those who felt that she WAS qualified, well they can bring it up again in four years...

    November 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  32. Doug from Bloomington IN

    McCain had several mistakes along the way. His biggest mistake was his discontinuing to be John McCain. He let his advisors (several Karl Rove clones) tell him how to campaign. It backfired...and of course, it led to many of his other mistakes:, fear-mongering, hateful discourse, Sarah Palin.

    Hopefully, McCain can rekindle his status as it was before all of this began. That would be the John McCain that we need to continue serving in the senate.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  33. Louise from Ottawa, Canada

    Being a Republican after 8 years of George Bush didn't help John McCain but his biggest mistake was selecting Governor Palin as his running mate. He did so to get the women's votes and secure the base. She succeeded in doing that to a certain extent but her inability to convince people that she was VP material did the GOP in. I also think that McCain lost his identity during the campaign; he got dirty and petty and turned a lot of voters against him. This said, his speech last night conceding victory to Senator Obama was representative of what people have always admired about John McCain. Anyway, I am very happy for America. Obama is the right choice. The world rejoices with you!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  34. s hrabia, battleford, saskatchewan canada

    In this order-palin- selling your soul to the RNC-negative campaining

    November 5, 2008 at 12:49 pm |
  35. Melissa from Canada

    His biggest mistake was to change who he was as candidate from 2000 and become more inline with a status quo that no one really supports anymore. He needed a clear message of how he was not George W. Bush and he never really delivered on that.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  36. Jo'el Hall

    Despite what many believe although Palin was a HUGE mistake, she was not his biggest. McCain's biggest mistake was loosing himself to win an election. He left the middle to embrace things which he fought against his whole career. He hired people that spread vicious lies about him to spread worst ones about Obama. The John McCain we saw in his concession speech was John McCain the maverick. John McCain who was honorable. John McCain who many people (across all party lines) respected. That was not the John McCain we have grown to know, sadly.

    A 20 year old American American, female Industrial Engineering major at THE Ohio State University (originally for D.C.)

    God Bless Obama and Biden

    November 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  37. karen-phoenix

    First, as a 64 year old republican who voted for Obama/Biden, McCain was just toooooo old to even run. The republican party NEVER should have let him run–he's out dated!!! Second, Palin!!!! I NEVER want to see or HEAR her voice again!!!! Republican party–don't even think about bringing her back in 2012!!!
    God Bless Obama/Biden, the USA and the WORLD!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm |
  38. Milford

    1. Choosing Sarah Palin- McCain needed morderates Rep and independents to win this election. Choosing Palin only alienated this group.

    2.Wasted three months doing nothing when Obama and Clinton were fighting for the dem nomination.

    3.Not distancing himself from President Bush and Kark Rove.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  39. Jo'el Hall

    Despite what many believe although Palin was a HUGE mistake, she was not his biggest. McCain's biggest mistake was loosing himself to win an election. He left the middle to embrace things which he fought against his whole career. He hired people that spread vicious lies about him to spread worst ones about Obama. The John McCain we saw in his concession speech was John McCain the maverick. John McCain who was honorable. John McCain who many people (across all party lines) respected. That was not the John McCain we have grown to know, sadly.

    A 20 year old American American, female Industrial Engineering major at THE Ohio State University (originally for D.C.)

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  40. Mitch

    John McCain's largest mistake was being a republican. In recent decades, republicans have divided into three categories: conservatives, the religious right, and the wealthy. All three are selfish and self-serving. And THAT is what has been wrong with America.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  41. Don (Ottawa)

    At the time of his nomination if McCain had declared himself as representing a new wing of the Republican Party and detached himself from Bush, if he had chosen a viable running mate, and if he had run on a platform of changing the status quo – not on being a maverick or on pointing out the inadequacies of Obama – he would have stood a good chance. His negative campaign tarnished his character and his choice of running mate put a big question mark on his judgment.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  42. Andy Goswami

    I can count lots of mistakes but his greatest mistake is to choose Ms Palin for running mate.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  43. Barb B Mpls

    McCain made two mistakes in my opinion. First, Sarah Palin. Second, agreeing to go negative.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  44. Pat in MIchigan

    Jack this was a campaign that couldn't have been beaten. Think back to the Democratic convention. A faction of the Republican party was urging Republicans everywhere to pray for rain on the night of Obama's acceptance speech, outdoors in the open air stadium. The results? well it was a perfectly clear and beautiful Summer night.....Coincidence? Well I thought so until I considered the rally scheduled for Grant Park in Chicago on the first Tuesday in November. This is the "windy city" millions will be watching, and what happens? 71 degrees in Chicago on November 4th, no noticeable wind.....I think someone upstairs is telling us something......McCain didn't lose the election...Obama won it.........thank God for that, I do

    November 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  45. Page Sausman

    Choosing Sarah Palin...a woman lacking the qualifications for the office of Vice President. He placed his faith in a person he did not know on a personal level, who did not understand foreign or domestic politics, and values that belong in the 1930's.
    Page in Boise, Idaho

    November 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  46. rk, Denver, Colorado

    Well, Jack, the only thing comes to my mind is McCain did not connect with ordinary people, all the election ads of McCain were focused on cayenne pepper coated Obama’s drawbacks. McCain failed in demonstrating he is different from Bush, his background ties him very strongly to Bush, and hence he had no option. Also the votes favoring senator McCain strongly indicates there are greater numbers of social conservatives in USA.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  47. John in Alabama

    McCain's biggest mistake was not comparing the mood of the country on the sitting president and the war in Iraq against his voting record. There's no way he could run away from himself.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  48. Yvonne

    Changing his song and dance every day of the week. And saying "My friends" incessantly.

    Yvonne from BC, Canada

    November 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  49. Mark

    The popular opinion will be Sarah Palin. I do believe that John McCain's worst mistake was running as a Republican in the election year following George W Bush. I do believe that in this election cycle that no Republican could have won the Presidency.


    November 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  50. James

    Sarah Palin is the only answer that this question

    November 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  51. simon

    choosing Sara Palin as a running mate and repeating same speech where ever he went.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  52. vern-anaheim,ca

    running for president and choosing sarah palin as his running mate

    November 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  53. Kathleen, Calgary

    Goodness me Jack, how does one pick? I'd have to say it's a toss up between insulting women voters with his pick of Sarah Palin and the constant lies and smears that he allowed his campaign to broadcast.

    I grew up in the segregated south and what I saw last night made me very, very hopeful. Cheers K

    November 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  54. Ram Riva -- Calexico, CA

    McCain's biggest mistakes were two;
    1.- The fundamentals of the economy are strong -
    2.- The choice of Gov Palin as his running mate -
    Please let me say, from an inmigrants family from Europe...
    The entire United States of America should be congratulated for this historical election, the world now knows how truly great this country is....US world leadership is in good hands

    November 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  55. Esther M. Akron Ohio

    Sarah Palin

    November 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  56. Duane Penske

    Number One...Sara Palin, Number 2.....lack of a consistent main stream campaign issue. He jumped around from one thing to another. Also, McCain spent more time attacking Obama than staying on his own message. Plane and simple.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  57. Rachel, Bloomington, IL

    Choosing Sarah Palin as a running mate. In choosing a young unexperienced hardcore conservative, he chose to lose the independent and moderate liberal voters. In my opinion, his best shot at winning was with Mitt Romney, especially when the economy hit rock bottom.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  58. Bobbie

    Mccain and Palin showed us how Sen. Mccarthy worked with fear and name calling to bring people down true family values NOT
    Its a sad time a man goes after someone he knows isn't a socialist and spend all his time telling us he was and How if you sit next to a terrorist you are one it was lies lies and more lies

    November 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  59. Shirley in Virginia

    Two words - Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm |
  60. Bob Dempsey

    Jack: I think McCain made several mistakes. First, early on in the primaries he said the economy was a weak area for him. Two, he pronounced the core of our economy to be in good shape even though it was falling apart. Giving support of his claim that the economy was a weak area for him. Three, his drama queen "suspension" of his campaign to solve the economic issue was viewed as a joke. Four, "Joe the plummer"was not a believable character and backfired on him. Although Palin never figured that out. Five, he relied too much on his military service. I am also a retired Navy Captain and the same year group as McCain. I have never trusted anyone who wears patriotism and/or religion on his/her sleeve. McCain did both. Six, Palin was a millstone around his neck. I personally don't think McCain chose her. I think the desparate GOP forced McCain to accept her in order to satisfy the fanatic religious right; and sixth the negative campaign ads in the last several weeks hurt him. Again, I think the desparate GOP is responsible for the "dirty tricks" ads but McCain did nothing to distance himself from those ads. Bob of Lincoln, NE

    November 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  61. Ernest Duran

    I want to salute you and thank you for your sincereity and strong comments during the election journey. I believe you were a great contributor to help Pres-Elect Obama achieve his first step to helping those most in need. He will be a great President in the category of FDR, JFK and Clinton. I hope he would offer Hillary the highest position in his administration. We pray GOD guides and protects Obama from all harm. GOD BLESS AMERICA! Sen. McCain's biggest mistake was his choice for VP.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  62. Liz in Towson, MD

    uhh, Sarah Palin. Do you really have to ask?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  63. Ernest Duran

    forgot my : Albuquerque, NM

    November 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  64. annie

    Picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Many independents, like myself, considered John McCain until he picked such a far right leaning VP. The election was won with independent voters, not conservatives. Conservatives would have come out to vote for McCain in end. They did not need Palin to encourage them.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  65. Catherine Skoor

    McCain's biggest mistake was the surge of negative attacks that started (coincidentally) when Sarah Palin became his VP – attack dog.

    After eight years of the worst administration this nation has ever endured, I think the American people have realized that believing in something or someone, having hope for the future instead of feeling hatred and fear is a much better way to live.

    The fear tactics and the smears fell on deaf ears. I personally can't stand anymore ugliness. I'd rather roll up my sleeves and be a part of our nation's solution. McCain never gave me that option, but Obama expects it.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  66. Dan Sherman

    McCain's biggest mistake was thinking that all Americans are as stupid as the Republicans think we are, and that by repeating the ridiculous campaign tactics that worked so well in the past, that they could secure the White House for another four years.

    So now that the election is over, who are the stupid ones?

    November 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  67. annie

    John McCain lost the jewish vote by picking Palin as a running mate. Israel is the number one issue with jewish voters, no doubt about that. However, once jewish voters feel comfortable with a candidate's stance on Israel, they switch their focus to social issues. Obama didn't completely win jewish voters' confidence on the Israel issue, but he did enough to allow them to feel comfortable and switch their focus.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  68. Betty Galeles Port Ludlow WA

    His biggest mistake was his inability to realize that the country is moving from the far right to the center and the thinking of right wing evangelicals is no longer the mantra of the Republican party. This combined with the economical situation and his disastrous pick of Sarah Palin, a singularly insular, one dimentional thinking, incurious VP candidate was a recipe for disaster.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  69. jaffer

    The biggest mistake was his neggative attacks towards obama while he knows people are suffering at the moment.he failed to connect with the issues that are affecting the voters.he couldn't tell us what he is going to do about the economy. And last but not least sarah palin and Joe "the plumber" memba them?

    November 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  70. nicole

    he made a mistake by pickin palin

    November 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  71. Gretchen

    Sarah Palin. Not only is she a terrible choice for any position of real power, she's an embarrassment to American society. If Americans didn't see that, I would start to wonder about our own judgement.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  72. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    McCain made many mistakes. Being negative and trashing Obama; picking Palin;being so stewadfast on the war;not knowing about the economy; being meanspirited;not recognizing that his age is a factor;etc.etc.etc. Not the man for the time.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  73. Linda (New York, NY)

    McCain's biggest mistake was to ignore or mock the significance
    of community organizing. Remember how Republicans
    loudly snickered at their convention when Palin put down Obama's role as a community organizer? McCain had no idea what this would mean. Obama's deep understanding of the power of community organizing enabled his campaign to organize and inspire and get out the vote all across the country – reframing the map. New technologies surely made a difference – but only because of the people who made such great use of them.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  74. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    His biggest mistake – picking Sarah Palin for his VP. It showed complete lack of responsible leadership. I hope everyone will read the Huffington Post article today about how she spent much more than $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family and the other stunt she pulled one night during the campaign (opening the door to her room to two McCain operatives wearing only a towel). She has no class and very limited intelligence! I'm so proud of my candidate Obama for choosing the great Joe Biden, our new VP.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  75. Jason, Koloa, HI

    Calling himself a Republican

    November 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  76. Carol W., Colorado Springs, CO

    Running a nasty, sleazy campaign, using Rovian-Bush-Cheney tactics, not vetting his people and thinking the rest of us were stupid sheep.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  77. Gretchen

    Sarah Palin. Not only is she a terrible choice for any position of real power, she’s an embarrassment to American society. If Americans didn’t see that, I would start to wonder about our own judgement.

    Silver Spring, MD

    November 5, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  78. Roger in Canada

    Negativity, poor judgement, Palin, age, going off track, not being the real John McCain, Bush, the economy, the wars and probably not appreciating that the US might – just might- elect an African American.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  79. Karen Puleo

    The biggest mistake that John McCain made was that he he ran on attacking Obama instead of his own personal record.He was better then the Karl Rove tactics. Of coarse the choice of Sarah Palin is what put him over the edge. I think John McCain is better then that but did not demonstrate that to the American people. I would hope that the American people always respect the way he served his country.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm |
  80. One Happy Democrat

    McCain's biggest mistake was being seen as too much like Bush. America is hungry for a change and the American people can not be mislead. This truly is the "dawn of a new era" in the US

    November 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  81. Phil, georgia

    Losing Himself! Alot of the things he stood for and was admired for, he changed in order to be more republican. He sold his soul to be elected.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  82. digitalsista

    McCain's biggest mistake is saying country first but using terror/negative campaigning tactics to win. When the Castro robocalls went out he had reached the lowest point in his campaign. American's are smarter than that. These calls meant he put his personal ambition first not the country. And if he wasn't trying to incite fear then he would have let the Muslim Campaign Co-Chair speak nationally against some the supporters that were exercising inappropriate behavior at the rallies in Woodbridge, VA

    November 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  83. Ursula Sindlinger

    Not denouncing the ugliness that sprung forth from his campaign, the race-baiting, the swift-boating smears of the outside Republican groups. That didn't work for Hillary Clinton. Was he not paying attention?

    November 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  84. Fred T. Black/Detroit


    November 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  85. Ngozi Uche from Abuja, Nigeria

    Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  86. Brenda Ohio

    McCain's biggest mistake was selling himself to the devil (GOP).

    November 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  87. Peri W.

    McCain made 2 huge mistakes. The first, of course, was his choice of running mate. Secondly, he deep sixed the John McCain of 2000 and adopted the nasty, dirty smear tactics he claimed he would not use. If John McCain had run his campaign in the same manner he gave his concession speech, it might have been a victory speech.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  88. Nathaniel

    The question is not what was his biggest mistake, the question is what did he actually do right? The answer? Not a whole lot. The majority of his campaign was negative, Sarah Palin was uneducated in the ways of national politics, his assaults on Obama and constant backtracking during the debates was deplorable and his overconfidence was the death of him. Good riddance.

    RIP for J Mac

    November 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  89. Frank H. from NYC

    Not picking a running mate that could have helped with his admitted weakness the economy and then picking a running mate that was the opposite of Hillary Clinton and expecting to get Clintons votes.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  90. Elvis

    McCain's biggest mistake was running for president on the Republican ticket after seven years of the leadership fiasco named George W. Bush.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  91. beatrice adams

    John Macain did not stay on message.He seemed to wait on Barack
    Obama and Joe Biden every day to get contents for his speech. We,
    the American people, want to know what you can do for us, to help us out of this slump. We are smart enough to figure whether Barack Obama or Joe Biden is just saying what we want hear. John Macain
    and Sarah Palin were just not delivering, plain and simple.


    West Hartford, Connecticut

    November 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  92. Jane M

    McCain's biggest mistake was picking that nit wit Palin thinking she would get all the Hillary supporters. Was he kidding me? Palin has NOTHING in common with any views of Hillary. N-O-T-H-I-N-G and it was quite insulting to say the least!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  93. Sue in PA

    Two mistakes: (1) Selection of Gov. Palin as running mate. (2) Negative campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm |
  94. Tripp, Dallas, TX

    John McCain's BIGGEST mistake was falling into the trap of using the Rovian brand on campaigning. Jack, Americans are tired of all of the negativity and fearmongering. Look at the numbers, Jack. People from 18-64 supported Obama. Younger people overwhelmingly supported Obama. Obama's message of unity, hope, and change was clearly better received than McCain's message.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  95. Phil in Virginia

    Sarah Palin and the fact that he underestimated the intelligence of the American People. He ran a "down in the gutter campaign" which I think he will live to regret. He doesn't have any idea what middle class means. His "Joe the Plumber Show" was pathetic.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  96. Akumbu Uche from Abuja, Nigeria

    Sometimes, it seemed as though he was supporting Obama.
    He kept on talking of Obama's policies that he forgot to promote his own.
    he inadvertently promoted Obama.
    A good example of this was his website.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  97. Patsy

    Jack, he made more than one mistake. First, he chose
    Sarah Palin, next he got off of the "Straight Talk Express", and
    third, he hired a Rove trained manager. While he had a tough
    row ahead of him, thanks to Bush/Cheny, he just dug the hole
    a little deeper with these three decisions. Plus, and this is
    the biggie--"the fundamentals of our economy..........etc".

    November 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  98. Mike Ryan

    His VP picks Sarah Palain
    Snellville, GA

    November 5, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  99. Mitchell from Ontario

    Jack, how can you honestly expect me to name McCain's ONE biggest mistake?

    Between changing positions, slandering Obama, continuing that idiot Bush's policies and making poor decisions such as choosing Pailin as a VP nominee, it's too hard to say.

    Maybe overall, the biggest mistake is that he ran in the first place.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  100. Simpliticus

    Aligning himself to Bush! Before George W. Bush, McCain was very much appreciated in this household. But after that kiss by George W. Bush in the House of Representative which sickened this household, McCain's name was besmirched. George W. Bush and his policies so maligned McCain that nothing McCain could say or do would pave the way to winning in this house. It was the Kiss of Death for Mr. John McCain!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  101. Jackie E.

    McCain's desperate attempts to do and say anything to be president. It wasn't "Country First" it was "McCain First."

    November 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  102. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    McCain didn't really make many mistakes in my opinion. His policies are good, his VP choice brought attention to his campaign. It's not so much that McCain lost, but that Obama won.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  103. Katty OR

    McCain's most horrendous mistake was picking Sarah Palin thinking she could draw Hillary's women's vote.
    The second mistake was keeping Rick Davis and his team to run his outrageously negative campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  104. Anthony from Toronto Ontario

    Jack, I think McCain's biggest mistake was panicking and going "Rove" with his campaign when two things happened, the economy tanked and he started to trail in the polls.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  105. M. Ragee Elatrozy

    The biggest mistake that Mr McCain made was that he thought he would be able to win

    November 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  106. Karen - TN

    He shouldn't have run in the first place, considering his age and health. It was an ego-trip, plain and simple.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  107. Greg in Cabot AR

    John McCain’s biggest mistake was picking Sarah Palin for his turd tossing partner. Their pitiful mud slinging tactics proved they were willing to say anything since they had nothing better to offer. Together,
    they showed us that the party that tries to divide through fear and intimidation deserves to fail.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  108. Jim Foley

    Bush will leave office having pushed us into a needless war, been the architect of many lost lives, ruined our reputation world wide, left us a broken economy and almost singlehandidly destroyed the Republican party. Quite a legacy from a person that lost the popular vote and was elected president through the efforts of brother Jeb. It will take decades for the elephant party to recover. Now that ain't peanuts.

    Jim Foley
    Falmouth, MA

    November 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  109. Stevo

    Jack , I think the biggest issue I saw with Sen.Mccain was he did not explain how he would do things differently if elected. He keep saying I can do this or I can do that, but he never said how he would accomplish any of the issues facing America !!!! I wanted to hear what he had to say , but he NEVER produced anything with substance to it. Of course his biggest MISTAKE was not Vetting SARAH PALIN correctly.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  110. Beth Bangert, IN


    Biggest mistake is that he tried to divide us vs unite. He used fear, hate, race, intimidation instead of hope. We as a nation seek a more "kinder, gentler" America. We want to tear down the walls of government that separate and divide. We are not just groups; we are a nation of individuals that have come together for that lofty dream that all have the opportunity. Not just the few.

    Beth Bangert
    Ft. Wayne, IN

    November 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  111. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Mccain made several mistakes.
    First one was picking an unqualified, incapable hocky mom for VP.
    Second was his sleezy campaign.
    Third, is his tie to the republicans and their policies.
    Fourth, never talking solutions and plans for the future
    of our country, outweighing the importance of that
    with attacks.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  112. jim corcoran ny

    Jack..............one word hockey mom.....ok its 2 words

    November 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  113. Dennis North Carolina

    His biggest mistake was making everything revolve around him instead of like Obama who made it about the people. He made other mistakes like Palin and allowing the narrow views of the republican party to rule the roost. you need to include all walks of life and ideas to win a race in a country like ours and bring them all under the same tent.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  114. Rosemary, California

    McCain's biggest mistake was that he was too old, which is something none of us can help. He showed his age in his gaffes, the lies and distortions of his campaign, and tossing an ill-prepared young woman on the world and trying to make us believe she was ready to be President.

    Did he forget, we just put up with a this type of person for the last 8 years, no intellectual curiosity about the world. This time we wanted some intelligence at the top of the ticket. With his age, the potential for Palin to be at the top of ticket was much more than the country or the world could bare.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  115. Steve, Jacksonville, Fl

    By far his biggest mistake was in not choosing Mike Murphy to run his campaign, instead deciding on Karl Rove disciples Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt. Their decision to shift the focus away from the issues and attack Obama proved to be fatal. That forced McCain to move away from being a "maverick" to pandering to the extreme right wing of the Republican party which gave us Sarah Palin and the likes of Joe the Plumber. With the nation approaching an economic meltdown, McCain proclaimed the fundamentals of the economy to be sound while continuing to preach "trickle down" economics. He seemingly failed to notice what happened to middle class America in the last eight years.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  116. Mandy from Minnesota

    John McCain was incredibly condecending to Barack Obama, and I think that really hurt him. That and having so many homes when most of us are trying to figure out how we're goning to make the next mortgage payment on the one home we have.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  117. Vickki

    I think the biggest mistake McCain made was not being able to connect with ALL of America. I often saw the crowds he drew during rallies and his convention. It was not a picture of true America. I saw a different side of McCain for the 1st time throughout this campaign after the election was one. If only he had portrayed that side of himself throughout his campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  118. Rosemary, California

    McCain did not put Country First!!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  119. LM from Fayetteville, NC

    You have said it better than I can say it.

    IF he had been the McCain we used to know, he would have been something to fight for but he changed. I turned off the sound sometime and just watched him and he was an angry man. it appeared angry because he didn't get his way. Maybe we are lucky we didn't get him if he wants his way. It appeared Palin even got tired of his negative, angry, miserable attitudes. HE was great on Saturday Night Live. That was old McCain.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm |
  120. Janis, Lafayette, IN

    John McCain's biggest mistake was compromising his character. He caved to the Republican Party for money to finance his campaign which allowed them to impose their agenda to further the interests and out-dated philosophies of the far-right wing. He allowed the people he hired to run his campaign to run HIM. The obvious failure to stand up for what he believed in and to articulate those beliefs to the American people led to his eventual defeat. His choice of Sarah Palin as VP was another mistake that undermined his campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  121. Ken Hudson Florida

    Jack, I only have two words to describe what he did wrong.
    Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm |
  122. Wilberta

    Jack....McCain's biggest mistake was RUNNING for President
    Second mistake was choosing Palin as VP....Game over.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  123. Donna

    Hi, Jack

    McCain's biggest mistake may have been running as a Republican rather than as an Independent. As an Independent, he could have remained the McCain we knew and loved and asked Hillary to be his running mate.

    In all fairness, probably no one could have defeated Obama and his dynamite campaign.


    November 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  124. Jim in Washington

    McCain's biggest mistake besides being a Republican was his choice of Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  125. Dave in MO

    It the economy stupid!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  126. Raphael in New York

    Jack, McCain failed to follow up the momentum gained from his choice of Palin as a running mate, as well as the outcries about many of those who Obama knew. Perhaps his biggest mistake was not promising the voters that as his first task as our President, he would direct the Attorney General (of a caliber as Giuliani) to find all in Wall Street and in Washington who were responsible for our present economic mess.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  127. walli ponder, bedford hts, OHIO

    McCain's biggest mistake, is being stupid and choosing a stupid, power hungry person for his running mate who knew nothing about the issues here.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  128. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    McCain’s biggest mistake was choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. It flew in the face of his motto "country first" as it was clearly a political move hoping people would vote for him because he picked a woman-ANY woman-as his VP. He underestimated the intelligence of the American people.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  129. Tyler, Sioux Falls South Dakota

    McCain made the mistake of tying himself to a sinking republican ship. His strategy to revitalize his campaign with the republican mouth piece Sarah Palin was like trying to breathe life into an AARP convention. He should hold his head up high, for atleast his approval ratings haven't plummeted to the abysmal levels of Pres. Bush or that succubus Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:35 pm |
  130. Carl Deshazer

    In my opion, McCains biggest mistake was just being a Republican. After what George Bush, Cheney, have done to our country, he was doomed from the start, Also, i don't agree with everything Obama says, but i believe the better candidate won.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  131. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Jack, now isn't the time to pour salt in the wounds of those who didn't vote for Obama. The media, the politicians, and the pundits like you and I need to stop the petty, negative rhetoric and focus on the solutions to the problems we face.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  132. Julie in Lansing, Michigan

    John McCain's biggest mistake was not being the person he was when he ran in 2000. Last night during his concession speech I saw a glimpse of that man-the one who really was honorable and respectable. If THAT man had been running for President I feel like Obama might have had a bit more competition. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be happier with the outcome of Obama being elected, but it makes me sad to think that John McCain is going to be remembered as a joke instead of the true "maverick" that he used to be.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:39 pm |
  133. Troy

    While I think Sarah Palin was a mistake, McCain problem was Bush. Bush still has about a 23% approval rating an McCain needed those people to have a shot at winning. There was no position that he could take that would put him close enough to bush to get those people but far enough away from bush to get anyone else. He was sunk before he started. The only republican with a chance of beating Obama was Ron Paul so all of the other republican candidates would have been in the same situation.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  134. john

    There were three, Jack: PALIN, PALIN, PALIN.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  135. Alexandra in the urban Northeast

    Biggest mistake: moving to the right and selling his soul to the republican base.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  136. Nora Corpus Christi Texas

    John McCain stop being true to himself. He became what the Republicans wanted him to be. Once he lost himself, there was no more of the Maverick everyone use to like about him. He picked a VP that everyone knew was not his pick and then he had to pretend to like it. If he would of just been himself he might of done a whole lot better.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  137. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    1. Not presenting a clear message to America about what he wanted to do.

    2. Attacking Obama and trying to tear him down instead of running a positive campaign with a clear message.

    3. Poor choices in personnell including picking Sarah Palin as a running mate.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  138. Bill

    We got really tired of hearing about Joe the plumer and Sarah Palin,
    also if you have to tell everone that your a maverick maybe your not just another Bush!!!!!!

    Berkey, Ohio

    November 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  139. Marty

    It came down to confidence for Sen. McCain. He seemed like he thought the only way to win was by dirty tricks and bold moves. I think that if they would have let him be himself, outline the many things he fought so hard for in the senate, and why he chose to be a public servant when he clearly didn't need to be, he could have won.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  140. Barbara

    His elementary school antics of name-calling were the actions of desparate candidate NOT of a leader of a nation in peril.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  141. Phil-Wenatchee, WA

    McCain's biggest mistake? That's easy...the Disasta from Alaska.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  142. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    His mistake was morphing into Bush/Cheney and discarding the values and standards he had before 2000. He learned dirty politics from the dirties of politicians – Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld. If he had kept his campaigning more in tune with his concession speech, he may not have had to make a concession speech. I know I probably would have voted for him if he had traveled the high road with his opponent.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  143. Kevin, Punxsutawney, PA

    Ummm, that's a tough question 'cause there are many, valid answers. How about the extremely negative tone, by only attacking Obama with largely petty and false claims? Back to you, Jack.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  144. Lenore in Kansas

    By far McCain's biggest mistake was selecting Sarah Palin. It showed a really surprising lack of judgement. After he did that, I lost a lot of respect for him. But he made a very gracious concession speech last night, which sounded more like the McCain that used to be.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  145. Precious Coker

    He tried to redefine himself using the same people who misdefined him in 2000!!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  146. Ted O. (Canada)

    John McCain's biggest mistake was in not realizing that not only did Sarah Palin engerize the Republican base, who would have been there anyway, but that she SUPER energized the Democratic base. All democratic voters, could not see giving Sarah Palin the keys to the White House,based on her lack of competence.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  147. Debbie, Illinois

    Joe the Plumber, thinking this would be the catch phrase of all catch phrases I guess you would call it. Thank goodness he has withered down to "a trivia question".

    November 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  148. Susan Pittsburgh, PA

    McCain's biggest mistake was thinking he knew who the "real Americans" were.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  149. Ken in NC

    McCain's biggest mistake was not taking charge and saying how his campaign would be run. He allowed others to call the shots while he was the Captain of the ship.

    And then came Barracuda Barbie with her own agenda.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  150. Tiffany from Philadelphia

    It can be summed up in two words, Jack: Sarah. Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  151. Anne from Vero Beach, FL

    Like many others blogging here I truly believe his biggest mistake by far was his choice of a running mate. Palin may have "energized the base" as we heard over and over and over, but she turned off the majority of intelligent moderates, independents, undecideds, etc. who saw her as a female George W. I actually considered voting for McCain as I believed, and still believe, he is a good man who cares deeply about this country. I could not ever have voted for Palin, however. I hope we never have to see her on the national stage again.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  152. Terry from North Carolina

    Staying home in one of his seven houses and not running for president was his biggest mistake. Second was Sara Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  153. J.C. from Raleigh, NC

    Looking for a quick fix instead of evaluating, recommending, and making well-thought-out decisions. Palin and Joe the Plumber are two painful examples of how impetuous McCain has become. Imagine if he had become Commander-in Chief.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  154. Fred Enforcer

    McCain biggest mistake was his judgement in choosing Gov.Palin. He allowed his emotions to over power his instinct. He may have rationalized Sen. Obama choosing Sen. Clinton as his VP then he would choose Mitt Romney. But Obama used his instinct, chosed Sen.Biden a person who can serve as President if need be. McCain rushed to find a young, energetic female with executive experience but he forget to assure that person had one other attribute ... intellect. He settled for prompting her; something she was good at. Her only shortfall.... Density. We had a good candidate here in St.Croix, V.I. he should have vetted.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  155. gCs Gonzales LA

    Jack, under estimating his opponent Barack Obama. This was Hilary Clinton's mistake and John McCain did not learn from it.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  156. Brian - Trinidad

    He really didn't make a big mistake.The Republicans were in a long uphill battle after 8 years of Bush.If he made a mistake,it was in expecting that Ameircans would extend him some courtesy and respect for his long years of service including his military service. Instead he was portrayed as an old war-monger.Sad,really.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  157. Donna, from Michigan

    John McCain like Hillary discovered his voice too late in the race. What is more is that Obama's path may have been destiny and no one could stop what is ment to be.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  158. carol in Oregon

    His biggest mistake was not going after the teenage vote and having a team of lawyers in his back pocket.
    Two of the things I hate most is at teenagers telling me how smart he/she is and having a lawyer telling me what I will/won't do. Neither know how to say please.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  159. Brett in Oriskany,Va

    Jack, His biggest mistake was not following his own heart and letting"campaign profesionals" do his thinking for him. His relentless attacks on Obama's character,mostly unfounded and petty cost him votes. his selection of Palin to please the far right lost him lots of loyal republican support. Listening to his concession speech last night, i realized that the john McCain of 2000 was still alive. His handlers wouldnt let him be himself.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  160. Kevin

    Maverick's do not lead, they just wander around without direction, just like the McCain-Palin campaign.

    Staunton Va.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  161. Kathryne

    He never seemed like a leader. His campaign ran him, made him do and say things that we knew he didn't believe. Our country didn't need another president that was a puppet to Republican puppeteers like Karl Rove.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  162. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Turning the pit bull loose to attack. Palin was a bad choice to begin with, but allowing the woman to race-bait and divide this country will haunt him until he goes to his grave. I know he said in his concession speech last night that he has no regrets, but I'm betting when it's time to meet his Maker, he'll be very sorry for his conduct during this campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  163. clyde

    Jack, you got your way I only hope you can live with it. You said the other day that you thougt obama was compaired with jfk , well he may be more that you think, he may be on the same track. Kennedy nothing for this country and I think obama will do the same thing. So you enjoy it while you can. As far as obama being all our presidents you can forget that

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  164. Don

    McCain did many things to turn himself into a smaller and smaller man (Palin, inconsistency, viciousness, etc) but the moment that made him miniscule was when he referred to Oboma as "that One". I had to ask myself what kind of person can even think in those terms.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  165. W B in Las Vegas

    Sarah Palin plain and simple. for what John McCain picked up with ultra right Republican "wingnuts", he lost WAY more with independents (ex maybe Lou Dobbs) and moderate Republicans.

    Colin Powell said it all about "Caribou Barbie". I think just the prospect of having that bubblehead the heartbeat of a 72 year old cancer survivor away from the White House SCARED the HELL out of most reasonable voters.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  166. Rosalynd Florida

    He ran a mean and nasty campaign that would embarrass even Karl Rove. Some Maverick!

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  167. Marie

    First off, congrats to America. As a Canadian, I was glued to the TV set, revelled in the jubilation of history in the making, and shed my own tears. I do not think that even the election of JFK brought about such unity throughout the world in one night as your cameras showed.
    Did you know that Canadians favored Obama 75 to 25!
    So those "deserters" who want to come to Canada for 4 years, may want to think twice!

    As for McCain, Sarah Palin is on the top of the list of many many mistakes. Did McCain/Palin honestly think they would get the inteligent Clinton supporters. Not a chance!
    The woman was a nightmare! and that grating voice! Who'd want to listen to that! I heard she might get her own talk show, god help us all!

    Hey Mr McCain!! moving speech last night. I am sure some Americans would have loved to see more of that side of you throughout the campaign

    Great coverage CNN

    A Canadian Obama supporter from BC

    November 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  168. barbara in Tacoma

    WhenDick Chenny endorsed him,by him endorsing him George Bush beat him again, he made him loose just like eight years ago.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  169. Louise, MA

    Simply, Sarah.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  170. MW Georgia

    Jack McCain's biggest mistake was Carl Rove,

    November 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  171. Steve - Tampa, FL

    Jack –

    The fundamentals of our economy are strong, after that is was all downhill.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  172. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Caving in to the Republican Far Right and picking Sarah Palin for vice-president was easily John McCain's biggest mistake. In doing so, he telegraphed a message to the voters that getting elected was far more important to him than selecting a highly qualified candidate who could do the best possible job for the country.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  173. Tim I

    I lost all respect for Sen. McCain when he allowed one of his followers to call Hillary a B-H. SP was the perfect choice it seems if that is the type of campaign one wants to run.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  174. Amanda

    His attack-only approach to the last weeks of the contest. Maybe one could understand the approach if Hillary hadn't done the same thing and failed. But when he chose the same path I think a lot of people concluded that he would be much more likely to repeat the mistakes of his predecessor than Obama would.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  175. ANGIE IN PA

    Mccains Biggest Mistakes
    1- Sold his soul to the Far Right to win the Presidency
    2- Sara Palin
    3- Ran a horrible Dishonest campaign

    November 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  176. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    First appearing to fight the bailout and then approving it without a battle was dead wrong. For the sake of the victims, heads needed to roll and no mention of justice was ever heard. It smacked of good old boy crap, AGAIN.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  177. Pam

    Sarah Palin. I ruled McCain out once I learned about her.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  178. Sandra -- Oklahoma

    Running in the first place. I really believe that the Republicans knew they couldn't win, that Bush had assured that. So McCain was a sacraficial lamb as it were.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  179. Jerry from Monroe Co., WV

    The "Hail Sarah" he threw into triple coverage.
    Odds were way less than even that he get lucky.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  180. April in NJ

    Definitely Palin. The initial effect was great for the GOP. Then she started giving interviews, then the economy tanked. Once he annouced the suspension of his campaign, that was the ballgame.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  181. Bruce St Paul MN

    When he turned toward the traditional base and embraced evangelicals, the Bush tax cuts, and Sarah Palin. Once he made that turn, he was no longer making decisions or comments based on principle. It turned him into a phony. He should have buiilt his campaign on his own brand, and let the base come on board or not.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  182. BG, Seattle WA

    I am a moderate Democrat/Independent and would have been happy with either Obama or McCain...until I saw McCain disown his own record and honor in the primaries to appeal to a far right agenda. I heard this from many moderates because we expected McCain 2000 and got something else. Also, JUDGMENT is everything. If McCain's judgment allows his campaign to control him looking for the best "gimmick", how can he have the judgment or ability to run the country?

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  183. Chris

    He underestimated his opponent. It's simple but always fatal.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  184. Veronica

    What Mccain did wrong was picking Palin as his VP, and running a immature campaign. He should have been sitting in his rocking chair watching the price is right.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  185. Geri Britt

    Personally I think Obama's win over McCain is wonderful. Obama ran a super campaign. McCain's biggest mistake is that he didn't want to win as much as Obama did, in fact I think he changed his mind about becoming president just before he selected Sara Palin to be his V.P. You could see this in his demeanor when he campaigned. At the same time you could even see Obama take a momentary step back, but it was only momentary.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  186. mayahh from ATLANTA

    Johns biggest mistake was the Alaska Beauty Queen, she just wasn't fit for the palace , MY FRIEND..

    November 5, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  187. TJ, Illinois

    John McCain's biggest mistake was not running as an independent in 2000. He would of made history by sticking it to both parties. Unfortunately, John McCain got too old and decided "if you can't beat them, join them". He sold his soul because he wanted to be President that bad. What could have been John.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  188. Working Mom in Illinois

    I think his negative campaigning did him in. It seemed like most of what came out of his mouth was misleading, distorted, or downright untruthful. Anybody with an internet connection could pretty easily "fact check" what he was saying.

    The American people are sick of being lied to by our leaders. Would you rather hire someone for a job who has been honest with you but with whom you might disagree from time to time or someone who has lied to you time and again?

    That and Sarah Palin. 'Nuff said.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  189. Kathy Glendale Heights, IL

    His biggest mistake was diverting from what he knew. He abandoned the chatracteristics of the previous election to adopt the standard divisive and pandering tactics of the 'good ole boys' regime. Sadly for him, America had finally had enough of old school politics and ushered in a new regime. Interestingly, had McCain stayed true to himself, he would have better served the American people.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  190. Melanie in IA

    His attitude and demeanor during the debates sunk the ship.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  191. Lauren Minneapolis, Minnesota

    McCain's biggest mistake?
    Running against Barrack Obama.
    If McCain couldn't win against him, and neither could Clinton...no one could.
    He is not only a war hero, but seriously brave for fighting so hard to be President when all odds were against him. I congratulate him for that.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  192. Mark Naperville, IL

    McCain's biggest mistake was not opposing the "bail out bill". He had a golden opportunity to take a stand and show the country that he was truly offering something different. Instead, he and Obama sided with Bush. I thought we were voting for change?
    Guess not.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  193. Roland

    McCain's biggest mistake was not taking every opportunity to explain to the people exactly how he differed from Bush. I don't think people were comparing McCain with Obama as much as they were comparing McCain with Bush and it is clear that Americans did not want more of the same. By not setting himself apart from the current administration, which would have reinforced his status as a "maverick", McCain let the Obama campaign redefine him. This put McCain into a proverbial coffin as far as the election was concerned. Sarah Palin sealed McCain's fate...every time she opened her mouth, she was another nail in that coffin..

    St. George, UT

    November 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  194. PJ Kansas City

    I am a registered Republican, white, 58 year old school teacher....for me it was PALIN.....That was too much for me. I voted for Obama and am proud I did. Geez, that was just too much.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  195. Kevin

    Two words will summit all up, Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  196. cindy from Pennsylvania

    I stopped watching TV because the ads put out by mccain/palin/rove were so upsetting to me. I was offended that they thought my state would be suseptable to this kind of fear/hate mongering. I would never have voted for him once he selected sarah palin but now I will never again respect him because he ran the most divisive, dangerous, self-serving campaign of all time. He lost the presidency and he lost his soul.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  197. Michelle

    There are two things that I would say were McCain's biggest missteps. The first, he picked Sarah Palin as his vice president. I understand wanting to get Hillary's voters. I worked my heart out for Hillary but you can't just pick any woman. He should have picked a competent, resonable Republican woman like Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

    The second? He focused more on Obama than his own policies.

    It's his own damn fault for losing this election.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  198. edithsarasota fl

    Jack, It was running for president. He obviously is not qualified for the job. Picking Sarah Palin and latching on to Joe the Plumber to tag along with him{ Joe giving advise on economics and foreign policy}.If it wasn't so sad to see a man humilate himnself , it would be funny. I could write a book but no one would be interested.
    Thanks, E G fromSarasota Florida.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  199. Pete, Fla.

    He's Republican.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  200. Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach SC

    Palin, plain and simple. After wasting his breath talking about how important experiance was he chose someone only the wild eyed fanatic radical right could like.
    I talked to many who were on the fence, and some who had actually planned to vote McCain, but the Palin nomination changed every last one of them to either non voters or Obama voters.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  201. Mike - Hot Springs, Ar.

    There is no doubt that it was the selection of Palin. She turned out to be the Barbie Doll of the right wing and dumber than a post. She was perfect for the base but it appears that perhaps America may be starting to divorce itself from the God, Guns, and Anti-Gay Evangelicals.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  202. Georgia from PA

    For 20 years i have been a registered Independent and have worked as a campaign leader for both GOP and Dem campaigns. In 2000 I supported McCain because of his support for global warming and alternative energy initiatives. Those are my issues, always have been since I began my career as a Mechanical Designer for Westinghouse Corp. in the 1980s. I am a USAF veteran as well, and a woman. The disdain I feel for a woman like Sarah Palin is immense. She is uneducated, unknowledgeable about critical science, leads from her heart instead of her mind making her irrational, petty, racist and mean. The reason I changed my vote to Obama is due to Sarah Palin and the GOP's insult to women by presenting Palin as a carrot for the female vote. Some of us actually did something with our lives besides having kids and being head of the PTA

    November 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  203. Shari A.

    McCain's downfall began after the Democratic National Convention. Instead of remaining focused and making methodical and precise decisions, he tried to gauge his decisions on what the Obama/Biden ticket was doing. The irratic and indecisive calls made by McCain/Palin, in my opinion, deeply damaged his "Mavrick" image and led to last night's change.

    Shari A.
    Cartersville, GA

    November 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  204. Brett Milam

    McCain's mistake? Being affiliated with the Republican Party and George W. Bush.

    Cincinnati, Ohio

    November 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  205. Teasha, Florida

    McCain's biggest mistake was underestimating the American people and our cry for "real" change.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  206. Turner, GA

    His biggest mistake was thinking that he was such a shoe-in that he could chose just anybody to be his running mate!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  207. Kim - Blair, Nebraska

    If I believed that he was once a pretty good guy, I would say that letting himself be led into Karl Rove campaign style did it. He & Palin both have too much baggage.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  208. Theresa Sukaly

    Biggest mistake was Sara Palin-Definitely did not reach the man on the street with all the problems they are having. Very nasty guy.
    To win he should have gave Joe the Plumber one of his cars!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  209. The Trippster of PA

    The Senator's biggest mistake was not being true to his own principles, not during the campaign, and not for the past four years. So many should'a, would'a, coulda's.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  210. Michael from Greenfield, Wi.

    He hired the same people that destroyed him in 2000 to run his campaign, and they accomplished the same thing again. They destroyed him, again. Dirty, negative campaigns no longer work.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  211. Kirsten - San Diego, CA

    Simple: He selected a superficial political tactic for a Vice President instead of a qualified successor.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  212. connie

    Jack, His first big mistake was underestimating Barrack Obama, then the mistakes just kept on coming weekly. Joe the plumber was probably the best though. I would like to know Jack , is Hussein an ok name now?
    Connie from "Blue" Indiana

    November 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  213. Slatsie

    His mistake was talking about Obama every day. First thing that came to mind when one went into the poll.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  214. Matt from Seminole, Fl

    One word Jack, Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  215. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Hiring Steve Schmidt to run his campaign so poorly and negatively.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  216. Steve in Pensacola

    I think his biggest mistake was not pulling the Straight Talk Express over about 100 miles outside of Pheonix, and kicking Schmidt, Gramm and the rest of them off the bus. He should have stayed true to himself for better or worse. I'd like to think we all saw a little of the real McCain last night in his concession, but who knows anymore.
    I'll never believe that Palin was his choice. Just part of Schmidt's Dog Waggin'. But he went along with it. And it was really ugly..................

    November 5, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  217. Linda in INdiana

    John McCain had many big mistakes to blame for his defeat. The largest was being a Republican and voting with Bush 90%+ in Congress. It would have been difficult for anyone to run on the Republican ticket this year. The one thing that helped me decide to vote for Obama was the negative campaign the McCain people ran in the last few weeks. The garbage was just too much to stomach.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  218. ozzi

    He ran an ugly campaign and Americans are evolving past that kind of nasty negativity.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  219. Suzette

    The greatest mistake was to take not only the "low" road but the road lower than that. He attacked Obama and allowed everyone around him to do the same. Instead of a campaign on issues he ran a defamation of character campaign. He came across angry, sputtering and disengaged. When he wasn't assailing Obama he consistently reminded us about how his serving America and "having the scars to prove it" again and agin. First, while we have always acknowledged his service to the USA and consider him a war hero it does not give him a free pass to be president. But second AGAIN, he did not give us his specific plan on how to fix our problems.

    He was very badly advised.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  220. John in Arizona

    His biggest mistake was trying to run "against" Barack Obama. That was like shooting bullets at an approaching tsunami. He should have been running against Geroge Bush from the start, and telling us how he would be different from the past that the country was clearly rejecting.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  221. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Winning the Republican nomination.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  222. Karyn

    Picking Palin – and not standing up to Kristol et al – has to be the biggest mistake.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  223. Pat, Pa.

    I think his biggest mistake was running in the 1st place.
    I believe that the republican Party used him knowing how bad the backlash against the party would be. They didn't want to " waste " more powerful men like Romney. He then compounded the problem by chosing Palin, running a filthy campaign based on lies, and on top of that, the Joe the Plumber crap.

    His image will never be the same again.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  224. Nathan...Lenoir, NC

    McCain had basically 3 obstacles:
    1. G W Bush in the middle of the road...he couldn't get away from his past

    2. Palin.....this woman was just clueless

    3. the campaign itself.....nasty, angry and never on course (any course)

    It just couldn't be done, no way......no how

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  225. Sean in California

    Where to start with this one, Jack, where to start? I suppose selling himself out to the extreme right wing of his party was his first mistake–dishonorable behavior, blaming Obama's not agreeing to follow his Town-Hall strategy for his going negative, Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, fear mongering, 'socialist' accusations, not quelling the racist rants of his supporters...need I go on?

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  226. Alissa in Wichita, Kansas

    Two words: Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  227. John Russell

    You covered it pretty well Jack. Once he went negative,
    he turned into an ugly, hateful, angry old man. He
    should have learned something when Hillary went
    negative. John in Grandview Mo.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  228. Annie Kraft Naples FL

    running a campaign just like Bush and picking Palin as vp showing how small and petty he is

    November 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  229. Melissa

    one word .... PALIN

    November 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  230. Patti

    Two words - Sarah Palin

    November 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  231. Ted Marules


    November 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  232. Kevin: - Florida

    Running as a Republican. Nuff said.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  233. Annick

    No new creative ideas or proposals. And Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  234. Heather, Flagstaff AZ

    As a registered Independent, any support for McCain quickly dwindled when he chose Sarah Palin. McCain's biggest appeal was his experience, especially in uncertain times. He took his strongest argument against Obama off the table the second he made his VP pick.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  235. kathy

    Have we all forgotten what McCain has already done for this country? I guess it would be serving 5 years in a Hanoi prison so people like you have the freedom to speak freely. How fast this country forgets.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  236. Jay, Castle Rock, CO

    I'm a male from CO and I believe McCain's biggest mistake was several.

    1st: Was under estimating the very smart women of America by thinking he could steal the woman Vote that Sen Clinton may have carried, simply because of gender. Sen Clinton found herself as a strong Senator when she stepped out from under her husband and former President. American women were not snowed over by a pretty face and former pagent queen when real and serious issues were facing the country. There were several more qualified woman and men he could've chosen for his running mate that would've made him a more formidable opponent and quest for the presidency. And at his age, if he were to expire would his running mate be suited for the task? Many didn't think so.

    2: In stead of trying to gain the confidence of the American public regarding how he and his new administration would solve the problems created by not just the last eight years, but the last 20 years. Anyone who's been around understands that for the most part, things that come of age during an administration are the result of things done 4-8 years prior. Sen McCain wasted valuable time and resources trying to smear Sen Obama's name, youth and reputation. I and many others didn't care how much so called experience either had, because the Preisency as an institution is surrounded by many smart people to help and advise the President. Those decisions are not his alone, though he bares the responsibility.

    America needed someone who provide vision and hope for the future and unfortunately I feel that is where Sen McCain failed in his campaign.

    Lastly, he is such a maverick that he made all those poor tactical decisions on his own? Didn't he have people advising him and strategizing for him? Wheher he did or did, those facts leave me with a "how would he be as President if he got that kind of advice or acted on his own?" Experience, Wow!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  237. Terry

    Lack of organization and funds [relative to Obama] and choosing a running mate that was not prepared to be VP, let alone President.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  238. Judith E. Barnes

    John McCain's biggest problem was that he will not let the past go gently or otherwise into the night, and his level of inconsistency and not being able to rein in and manage Sarah Palin were also elements in this path of destruction. The past is only as valuable as it can positively influence your present and or your future; otherwise it is wasted nostalgia. Knowing what you know, believing in it and being consistent attracts attention and eventual loyalty.

    His introduction of Sarah Palin as if she were a truly viable candidate caused a bit of stir, but like most stirs, the piper eventually had to be paid. He has paid and sadly I do not believe he has learned the lesson and for sure Sarah Palin hasn't learned the lesson either. His foible of Palinism into our lives, without desiring to be mean-spirited, was and still is an insult to women who are true mavericks. True mavericks never have to term themselves as same; you look at them, they speak and you they are mavericks.

    Snellville, Georgia
    Psychologist and Psychology professor

    November 5, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  239. Paul - Orange County, CA

    Palin was his biggest mistake. She may have ignited the republican base initially but it completely undermined his position of experience over Obama. As Palin continued to display her inexperience by the bumbling interviews she gave it was only confirmed that McCain’s judgment was shot to hell.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  240. Al in Syracuse, NY

    All tactics, no strategery.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  241. mike

    Joes the Plumber

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  242. Gail C

    McCain's greatest mistake was being out of touch with reality. he thought he could gain the Clinton supporters by selecting Palin-wrong-. He thought it was better to go negative on Obama than positive on himself-wrong. His whole campaign was a huge CF.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  243. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    McCain's biggest mistake was listening to his Karl Rove type
    advisors instead of being himself. He didn't stay true to his own
    principles and resorted to smears about Obama that he didn't
    believe. His pick of Palin was his next biggest error.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  244. Ed

    As the former State Police commander and school board member I just wish that McCain had talked to me before he picked Sarah Palin. She is the biggest mistake that he made.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  245. Maria

    Although a Democrat and Obama supporter, I could have lived with a McCain win (I have always admired him) until he chose Gov. Palin. You can spin that one any way you want but she was clearly not ready for the vice presidency. It was breathtakingly stupid.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  246. Loretta

    John McCain's biggest mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong party. After eight years of the worse governing ever, what made him think that he could ever become president. Instead of showing humility and regret for a war based on lies and misinformation, foreclosures in the thousands, and an economy on the verge of collapse, he added insult to injury by bringing on board Sarah Palin, his choice for Vice President who carried on more like a cheer-leader at a pep-rally and who eventually became the butt of jokes everywhere. His campaign was un-professional, crude, rude and thank God it's over..........

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  247. Judith Wahlman

    Undoubtedly, the choosing of Sarah Palin was his biggest mistake. Do not insult the inteligence of the American Woman by assuming that ANY woman would have those of us that were Hillary supporters,
    rushing to the polls just to vote for a female. It is the substance of Hillary that wins her the admiration that she receives.
    And...PLEASE, do you really think that anyone would give Sarah a credible chance had she looked like the woman from "Throw Mama Off The Train?? (wink,wink).

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  248. Susan from Houston

    I think if he could have shown the grace he showed in his concession speech throughout his campaign he could have won, but I'm soooo glad he didn't!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  249. Bonnie Rose

    His mistake? Always talking about Obama. Bad move. He should have opened his mouth and appealed top the American ppl, with his own character, his own attitudes, and his own humility. The best I saw of McCain thruout the whole campaign was last nite at his concession speech.Sad.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  250. Bala

    Obama made his camapign about people and their problems. McCain made it about himself and about Obama.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  251. Kathy Boyle

    Jack, this is in response to the question posed on CNN at 3:10pm. My thinking is that Sen. McCain's biggest mistakes were his inability to control his emotions and his lack of ability to understand his constituency. "He Doesn't Get It", because it's a different world out there. Kathy B., Southport, N.C.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  252. mlong

    I was surprised when esteemed Senator McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate foregoing much more qualified candidates...I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt because of my deep respect and admiration but then I was completely shocked when she opened her mouth.... very poor decision.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  253. BruceInGa

    McCain's biggest mistake was not changing parties after the 2000 election. He could have kept his mojo and beaten Bush as a moderate reformer from the Democratic ticket in 2004. Ironically, he chose instead to sell out to Bush for a chance to follow him, and then was forced to run a Bush-style campaign in order to have a chance to win.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  254. AAn Lee, Georgia

    Pick Sarah Palin in 15 minutes interview without knowing her lack of ability and then spend more than 2 weeks for extensive training on how to communicate with public. Avoid palin from interview with reporter showed how Palin was not prepare to become vice president. This is bad judgement. McCain may be get more competitive race if he picked Huckabee.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  255. Ben from Michigan State

    McCain's biggest mistake was to abandon what got him to where he was in politics and instead embrace the politics of Karl Rove.

    If John McCain would've stuck to his guns and chose Joe Lieberman as his running mate, kept the religious right at arms length, and run the clean campaign he promised, he could've won.

    McCain was beaten by George Bush in 2000, so he switched to Bush's dirty game in 2008, and it Bush cost him again. Bush 2. McCain 0

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  256. Jerri Coverstone

    One last thing though, John McCain took his defeat honorably.

    I am filled with much anger over the last 8 years but by both Obama and McCain's example, I will not hold malice towards the right wing conservatives.

    I want to be part of a Unified America and I understand the importance of forgiveness.

    One mistake John McCain did not make and must be mentioned is he told his base to fallow America's new president.

    I forgive the Republicans for the past 8 years and hope all of America will unite as one ......................for a real change.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  257. Nanu

    1. Not enough focus on economy
    2. Sarah Palin and her negative campainging and lack of knowledge

    Nanu, Houston, TX

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  258. tony

    McCains biggest mistake was not reading the memo: Americans are sick and tired of negative campaigning, character assassinations, and disgusting twisting of the facts.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  259. Sarah T.

    It's been posted all over this page, but I'll say it again: SARAH PALIN. I don't know if he was attempting to get Hillary Clinton supporters or win over some of the younger crowd like Obama has. It was probably a combination of both, but obviously it did not work. I am a young college student who voted for Clinton in the primaries, so I fall into both categories, yet it did not work for me at all. Sarah Palin made me feel 100% sure that Obama is the right decision.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  260. Jagruti-New Jersey

    I think his Sen McCain's biggest mistake was the inconsistent campaign. There was no strategy and focus. Meanwhile, President Elect Obama's campaign was focused and it motivated even my 15 year old and his friends to volunteer their time. And the Palin pick certainly did not help.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  261. Priscilla, MA


    I absolutely think the Sarah Palin choice as a running mate was his biggest mistake. It made me shiver everytime she had to answer a question..you never knew what she would say or do to embarrass John McCain or the Republican party. I'm proud of "John the Maverick" taking the responsibility for shooting off his own foot!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  262. Carol Henneman

    Sarah Pailin was a terrible mistake. Overly ambitious politicians are part of a formula for disaster. She was unprepared for the big stage and could not "hold her own." The decision made John McCain look simple and uninformed. It's a sad indictment of an out-of-touch party who still doesn't get the "new " America! Even worse, he actually thought women would vote like genital sheep – a vote for a woman simply because she had a vagina.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  263. Allen S

    After threatening to veto any bill that has pork as president and claiming to expose anyone who adds the pork he voted for a 700 billion dollar bailout which had pork. He should have said no to the bill and exposed in an ad all the politicians who 'porked' up the bailout. He said one thing then did another. Actions speak louder than words.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  264. pinero

    Not being himself. Last night in his speech he connected more with the people than he did in his year long campaign.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  265. Monica Sheldon-cortland,Ohio

    running a sleazy campaign. it is the people who keeps this america going the poor and the middle class. doesn't the republicans know this. plus he needs and someone else as a running with more experince. than a gov. even though she is a woman it sure didn't help none.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  266. John M. Paul

    Running in 2008. Given the ongoing Bush backlash and the timing of the global economic meltdown, the Dems could have nominated Bozo the Clown, and he would have carried the day. Obama may turn out to be a great president, but nothing he has said or done to date merits such a prediction or his margin of victory.

    John – Minneapolis, MN

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  267. Larissa Hahn, IL

    Just wanted to add that I agree wholeheartedly with Pat in Pa and Sean in California.

    It never seemed like McCain was supposed to win, running against Barrack Obama. And picking Sarah Palin? It's as if the Republican party, sensing a loss, chose McCain to take the blow.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  268. Nicole, Bloomington, IL

    I figured all along that the Republicans had no chance, but McCain made it interesting......until he insulted my intelligence by assuming that myself and other women would embrace his choice of such a narrow-minded woman, just because we were women

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  269. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Oh, I forgot, my friends,my friends, my friends.....Funny that's he is everyone's friend and I don't know him

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  270. Louise L.Gallone

    McCain insisting that “The economy is fundamentally strong”, picking Sarah Palin as his VP., allowing an onslaught of vicious and negative TV ads against Obama without realizing it would only energized the Democrats.

    Louise IN

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  271. Phil

    He put to much of his energy on Obama instead of talking about what he is going to do for the country.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  272. Dave Wildcat

    In my opinion, McCain's viper-like attacks on his opponent mad him look like an angry man. His constant questioning of Barak's character actually made many voters question his character.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  273. Jane

    I used to have great respect for John McCain. In my mind, his biggest mistake was allowing his supporters to be misinformed and out of control, as displayed in the campaign rallies in the weeks prior to the election. It was irresponsible to allow masses of people to become extremely emotionally charged in a very negative and hateful way. It made him look out of control of his own campaign and had me questioning his own sense of responsibility, stability and judgement for not recognizing this as a problem and addressing it. It was disconcerting, to say the least. And so, while I still have respect for his earlier contributions to our country, I could not trust this man who was willing to play with fire in the hopes of gaining numbers. That said, I think losing this election may have been grounding as his concession speech was quite elegant and more the McCain of past.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  274. Kristen

    I think the whole country agrees what his biggest mistake was – Sarah Palin. I felt badly for his family that people kept saying he is too old and would die in office, but what's more relevant than death is he obviously lost his lack of judgement with old age.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  275. TwoBy Two

    He let the GOP machine take over his campaign and make him into a nasty, divisive, hater. He was the best of the GOP bunch until he let them run his campaign.

    Sarah Palin was definitely a defining moment. What an insult to hardworking, educated women around the world. I could answer more of the questions she was posed than she could, and I've never held elected office. It's sad that the people of Alaska actually elected her, she is such a dim bulb.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  276. Donnie Washington

    I think Senator McCain's biggest mistake was that he allowed the negative racial attitudes to flourish. America is sick and tired of this type of tactic of trying to scare his supporters and those he was trying to recruit to his cause.
    I thought that his campaign was disingenuine , his body language gave away his real intentions. Americans are not as easily fooled as they thougtht; the McCain campaign believed that Americans were a bunch of ignorant and gullible simpletons. There were some who fell for this but on the whole we did not.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  277. Mickey Dean

    his biggest mistake was he pandered to an evangelical conservative base that doesn't represent most christians let alone most republicans. while wall street was stealing us blind, they were worried that two gay people in love might be getting married someplace!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  278. renata

    mc cain's biggest mistake, without question was his selection of sarah palin, on sooo many fronts... her selection was soo transparent it was insulting... she may have "energized" the party... but NOT in the direction of winning the white house... a romney vp choice would have been a "real tough" election....and a serious choice

    she made it easy to vote democratic.

    renata ricci, CA

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  279. Deborah

    Its hard to decide. The name calling was abominable along with self-righteous belief that Republican values are the real American values along with elevation of a plumber who isn't really a plumber was beach real estate in Alaska no one was buying.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  280. Michael

    I don't blame McCain's loss on his choice of running mate. After all, Bush Jr. won in 2004 while having Dick Cheney as his running mate. I feel McCain's main problem was being a Republican at a time when people became very disenchanted with the party.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  281. Jordan Goodwin

    McCain didn't make any mistakes. His fate was inevitable. Fact is, republicans are more and more either evangelical christians or simply uneducated. Sarah Palin was a great ploy to attract those voters, but in the information age we live in, and with Obama mobilizing so many through the internet and the most costly campaign ever, we were able to get enough people to the polls to defeat them. I don't think anyone could honestly refute that Obama was the right choice for not just Dems, but the country as a whole.

    -Jordan, Lansing, MI

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  282. Donna Wisconsin

    The fact he didn't maintain his 'moderate' republican role. He wanted Lieberman but went way conservative with an unvetted uneducated bimbo which then cost him just as much as Leiberman would have. Flip-flopped all over the place. His age and money don't st well with moderates. And then there was all that nasty, fear mongering and character assasinations as well as his distain for Obama. Then there was his retoric–'My Friends' and his stiff smile.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  283. Victor Palli from Colorado

    I think McCain's biggest mistake was trying to be someone who he clearly was not. The McCain of 8 years ago was a man we all respected and loved. That was who he really is. Trying to morph into someone or something that you are clearly not will never work, especially if it is done in so short a time. Over time if the change is genuine, people can really get to accept it. But people saw through this as clear pandering to just win the election...

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  284. Debbie R - Winston-Salem, NC

    John McCain is a good and decent man. He rotted in a POW camp in Hanoi for 5 years for this country. He had the opportunity to get out far earlier than that but chose to stay until all the soldiers could come home. Shame on this country for rewarding inexperience & the political machine – – which is exactly how Barack was elected. John McCain has went against his party many times, he is nothing like GWB. I am an avid Democrat and this is the first election in my life where I went against my party – but I didn't really, because John McCain has always been expert at playing both sides of the Senate. It's too bad that so many Americans chose to be uninformed and vote for the status quo. Another party man who will only cater to one side of the house. I hope all of you enjoy your higher taxes because that is exactly what you will receive.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  285. Bill in Texas

    Palin was the big mistake. Not only did she come with baggage, her attack style turned voters off. Voters never got past the snarls to hear what she and McCain were going to do.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  286. Cameron in California

    Palin is an abhorrent disaster.

    McCain's almost total support of W's blundering policies is unforgivable.

    The poorly run campaign was unfortunate.

    However, none of it would have gone this way had McCain not strayed from the reasonable, clear headed, moderate he was ten years ago. Many liberals might have voted for the John of old.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  287. eddie

    He never had a real job and is so rich he is out of touch with the common working people.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  288. McCain and Palin Hater

    Sarah Palin and being a Republican. Rock on Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  289. Matt from Ohio

    it's quite simple, palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  290. Olina, Longmont CO

    When he decided NOT to put his country first and picked Sarah "Say ain't so Joe" Palin

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  291. Stephanie from Troy, MO

    His greatest mistake was in assuming that just because Sarah Palin is a female, she would garner the vote of Hillary supporters. We are much smarter than that. Intelligence is the reason we were Hillary supporters in the first place. That and her experience. As a result , when we finally got a real glimpse of Sarah Palin, we ran to Barack Obama in droves. By the way I had already made the transistion from Hillary to Barack before he made her his running mate. That choice just reaffirmed what I already suspected. That McCain had lost his maverick status.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  292. Tom DeGenaro

    I loved John McCain in 2000. He was my hero. I set my email to report any tidbit of his life, but in the end he lost my admiration and my respect. His insatiable ambition for the presidency sent to obscurity his former trademark as a straight talking politician. His campaign performance will forever taint his legacy.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  293. Elliot

    John Mccain's biggest mistake was to make a big election about small things. Instead of being remembered as a maverick who was not afraid to challenge his own party, he will be remembered for using scare tactics and petty personal attacks on President-elect Obama.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  294. Shaleen Culbert

    Biggest mistake? Choosing Palin is too easy and obvious. I think McCain’s biggest mistake was not shutting down the nastiness that was on display at both both his and Sarah Palin’s campaign rallies and then infected their campaign literature. I realize that there are still bigots and worse in this country, but to have such stupidity at campaign rallies and realize that both candidates lacked the strength of character to publicly denounce such behavior was a defining moment. This lack of standards trickles down to the children–just last week my 12-year-old had to tell his friend not to call Obama “Osama Obama”. This occured with adults in the same car who were McCain supporters and did nothing to stop it. Who says “trickle down” doesn’t work? What was said inside and outside those rallies spoke so loudly, I couldn’t hear anything else McCain was saying.

    Houlton, Wisconsin

    November 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  295. Nate in GA

    The negative turn his campaign took.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  296. Mac Ray

    thinking he could be president of the united states.
    Mac Ray
    Juno Beach, FL

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  297. Glenn from Pennsylvania

    I understand your point of view about the negative side of the campaign. However, given the legacy of W and the current events hurting McCain, I really beleive he needed to challenge the experience and character issues of Senator Obama. He needed to ask Obama to explain how he could have been part of Rev. Wright's congregation for 20 years while enduring the racist and anti-American slurs of those sermons. He should have challenged Michelle Obama's loyalty to America. These are not issues of race...they are issues of moral fiber and character development. There we also more critical issues that went against the core of conservatism that might have mobilized the electorate to support the McCain ticket. Finally, you have to admit the Palin selection was rediculous. How an experienced warrior like McCain could have thought she could become a chief executive with gravitas...please!!!! I hope she goes back to Alaska and has a very nice life.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  298. Katharine Duncan

    Sen. John McCain just didn't get it from the very beginning, he was setup to fail from the very beginning by his own.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  299. Lester , CA

    3 P's

    Palin , Plumber and Personality attacks instead of Platform.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  300. AJ

    There was no BIGGEST mistake.

    He ran a nasty, unfocused campaign. He treated his opponent with disdain. He was disorganized and jumped from one issue to another without Presidential reserve, dignity, and careful analysis. To sum it all up, he proved to the American people that he was not deserving of the highest office in the land.

    AJ in CT

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  301. Donald Mersel

    It is quite obvious. When he picked Sarah Palin after meeting her just a few times, he showed that he was not capable of being trusted with the keys to the White House and leadership of the Free World.
    Governor Palin didn't even have the educational background to qualify as a grade school teacher.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  302. Samuel in California

    Changing his policies for support from Bush and the ignorant republicans made McCain loose focus on who he really is …the “Maverick” who will fight for the people….NOT the current administration!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  303. Ashley

    I think he made 2 huge mistakes. Number one would be Sarah palin!! He picked her simply to try and make history and to say to Hillary supporters" I can pick a woman". I put the blame completly on Mccain for Palin's bad interviews, she had no training and that was his fault. I think if he had picked Liberman or Romney he might have had a chance. Secondly, MCcain never acted like he understood the average working American. The economy didnt seem like a big idea,jobs getting sent overseas never seemed to be on his top priority list,people without healthcare never seemed to bother him the only thing I ever heard him talk about was Iraq..and Americans are sick of a Preisdent who is consumed with talking about Iraq weve had 8 years of it!

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  304. Ron Mellott

    McCain's biggest mistake was errors in judgement. He proclaimed his strengths as being experience and judgment. Yet routinely he made errors in judgement: "Fundamentals of the economy are strong", Threatening to cancel the first debate to do what?n Appointing Sarah Palin, not because she was the most qualified to be VP, but in an effort to attract disenfranchised Hillary Clinton voters to his banner. All such errors lost him respect and credibility.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  305. Diana Fannon

    From the onset McCain frequently contradicted himself, clouding his credibility early on. His insistance on continuing his use of innuendo and open accusations of Obama impropriaty–long after these had been proven outward lies and deliberate misinterpretations further added to the distruction of McCain's credibility. The death blow came with his choice of V.P. which, at best, had the public questioning his judgement, and at worst, his mental acuity.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  306. Timmy m

    That running mate of his. That and Bush ruining our country for the past 8 years lost it for McCain.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  307. Ronda

    I am not sure the old war vets card played with the folks in the USA anymore. We have evolved beyond fighter jet experience as the qualifier for president.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  308. M Richards

    The first 'Presidential' act that a candidate does is pick a running mate.

    The selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's first 'Presidential' act must be viewed as a precurser to future acts John might have done, had he actually been elected.

    Senator McCain demonstrated a complete lack of leadership, prudent action, and genuine intelligence when he selected who he selected.

    That one action demonstrated to all that he would not be able to provided the necessary leadership our country needs at this very critical time.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  309. Stephen

    I think his earliest biggest mistake was pandering to the conservative. I liked him when he spoke his mind. I did not always agree with him, but he seemed to believe in what he said. When he started running for president this time, he seem to say everything people wanted to hear. I realize I will never agree 100 percent with every president, but I want to respect them.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  310. Elizabeth

    John McCain never looked comfortable in his role as a candidate for President, and every decision made from that point on, was not a comfortable decision to watch. His pick of a VP, he reaction to the economic crisis, his distortion of facts and his demeaning characterizations of his opponent. He also underestimated, the power of hope, and believing that we as a nation could be that at it's foundation, was based on hope and ideology, that a people, governed by the people, and for the people would flourish. I am not a Republican, but I will be glad to have John McCain back in the Senate where I think his fighting spirit is better served, and where he is most comfortable with serving the people of America.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  311. mike

    John McCain's biggerst mistake was John McCain. Oh, and Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  312. Colleen McKinney, Texas

    John McCain's most greivous mistake was selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate.

    She's a train wreck - you can't help but watch the event unfold. Upon close inspection, the ugly reality of her lack of skills and preparedness shine through bright and clear among the pieces of the wreckage.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  313. Tom Sanders/Spokane Wa.

    In regards to the biggest mistake that John McCain made, I think that his choice of running mates showed his lack of judgement in choosing the best person for V.P. He had numerous candidates that I thought were more qualified than Palin but out of desperation to win the election he chose her. This bad judgement I think, was only the tip of the iceburg and more bad judgement would follow in the future.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  314. Lauren

    I actually don't think Palin was his biggest mistake. I agree with several other commenters that his biggest mistake was losing himself in the campaign. He let his advisors lead him down a path, where he started to become more of an RNC machine than the maverick. When his campaign started to become so negative, when I could tell that he was becoming a puppet of the Right, that's when he lost me. And I wanted so badly to be able to support him.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  315. Connie Dorfner

    Since we are addressing the mistakes that McCain made, not the republican party as a whole, there are two glaring mistakes:
    1. Palin – If McCain wanted to sure up the female vote that Hilary Clinton commands, McCain should have chosen a female with a brain. I took McCain's choice of Palin as an insult to women; women aren't so ignorant and emotional that we would vote for just any female on the ballot. I am sure that Palin has some intelligence, but this is not indicated in her actions and comments.
    2. McCain's desperation was obvious, and the longer the campaign wore on his desperation was became more and more obvious . Why did his managers not point out that McCain's facial expressions came across as pety and ridiculous. McCain's expressions during debates made him appear dismissive and ignorant of his able, competent opponent.
    Connie, Chas., WV

    November 5, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  316. Meena

    Underestimating the intelligence of women by thinking that women would vote for him because of Sarah Palin. I hope that the Republicans do not make the same mistake again in 2012 by bringing her back.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  317. Omar

    "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." – John McCain

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  318. Hickrey

    McCain's biggest problem was that he put his political pursuit first and his country last in every decision he made.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  319. Bob

    Turning his back on his constituency.

    The Republican party (the registered voters, mind you, not the politicians) voted against the more extreme social conservativism of Romney and Huckabee and embraced a more moderate Republican in McCain, but he immediately turned his back on those very people by moving further to the right. I think McCain's biggest mistake was assuming that the party leaders and those who scream the loudest were his base, when in fact it was (or at least, should have been) the Republican majority who voted in the primaries to move in a different direction.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  320. Mitt2012

    McCain's biggest mistake was being out of touch with the middle class.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  321. Bill

    McCain's biggest mistake was selling out every principle he had to cater to the far right and the Evangelicals. He ended up alienating any centerist support he had and only drew lukewarm support from the neo-cons.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  322. Yve (pronounced Eve) Fort Washington, MD

    John McCain's biggest mistake was trying to tear down his opponent instead of presenting his ideas & plans to improve America.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  323. Jefferson

    John McCains biggest mistake was hiring Sarah Palin as a vice president too little experience and wrong person for the job. As soon as he made that announcement for the vice presidency he gave the election away and he never really stuck to the issues hurting america. All he wanted to do is attack Obama and he should of stuck with the issues at hand.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  324. Gene

    Two words: Sarah Palin

    Palatine, IL

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  325. Maureen S

    To Pat in Michigan
    I agreed with what you said whole heartedly, I had to read it twice, very well done.

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  326. AC

    Hi biggest mistake is named Sarah Palin. Only the people who were going to vote for him anyway loved her. As a woman, I found it offensive and demeaning in the extreme to see the transparent belief on the part of the McCain campaign that women would vote for her - simply because she is a woman. Never mind that she is incompetent, divisive, and derisive to all who don't think as she does. A paradigm for all that is wrong with the "Republican base".

    November 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  327. Willis, TX

    His biggest mistake was running for the presidency in the first place - he lack the intelligence and other tools needed. The people had elected one "fool" (Bush) and they sure as hell was not going to make the same mistake twice!

    Then there was Palin - another ignorant "fool" who never recognized her own limitations. It is funny that today she still does not understand that she was not qualified and hurt the ticket tremendously.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  328. Christy M-L

    John McCain's biggest mistake was losing track of his honor and replacing it with fear wrapped in lies.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  329. Mark F.

    His biggest mistake? More like mistakes – Like letting Obama off easy for being a radical left wing bigot. By not pointing out to the American public what a liar and sham artist Obama is. But his biggest mistake was not following Obama's lead and doing away with the campaign fund raising limits. He should have done everything he could to out raise and out spend Obama at every corner – he should have put on his own "info-mercial" to counter Obama's – and he should have let "pit-bull" Palin off her leash much much earlier. He should have let that famous McCain temper out of the box and rip Obama and Biden new A-holes. BUT McCAIN'S BIGGEST MISTAKE WAS NOT SETTING OBAMA STRAIGHT ON WHO HE WAS RUNNING AGAINST RIGHT FROM THE GET GO. All he needed to do was point out that Obama was/is a one-trick pony – a referandom on an unpopular President – and that would have ended it right then and there.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  330. Bob the College Graduate

    By appealing only to "Joe 6-Pack" and hockey moms, Palin and McCain, instead, alienated educated Republicans and the moderate majority. Just look at who attended their rallies: unlicensed plumbers, tax evaders, hate mongerers, white supremacists, the far right who could not understand how someone named Hussein is not automatically an arab. What happened to the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt? How could the GOP have gone so woefully astray in its quest for votes? IMHO, the Republican leadership needs to take a long and critical look at itself. Stop making the end s justify the means. Stop pandering to those with only a grade school education.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  331. Kevin - Austin

    Jack –

    John's biggest mistake is probably the "timing". It also appears that his mistake is having too much "experience" – as Baraack has nil experience = "change" – that appeals to many of your readers. Palin was a wonderful choice – many of your readers say Palin has no experience – whatta double-standard they hold of Baraack. Obama's eloquence and charasima was also no match for McCain. We'll see if he just another lying politician who says things just to get elected.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  332. John

    1. Letting Carl Rove throw him under the metaphorical bus a decade ago as the only strong contender to then Governor Bush.
    2. Not running his campaign like his concession speech: positive, optimistic, and reassuring.
    3. Not offering an alternative to big government programs and bailouts.
    4. Not asking himself, "What would Reagan do?"

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  333. Jason in Park City, KS

    Lots of problems stood out for Sen. McCain. Choosing Palin was probably the biggest. She was chosen to cater to the women and the ultra conservative base. She's got little government experience, seemed way out of her league regarding issues, wasn't allowed to talk to the press for quite some time, and had no real qualities to compliment McCain's own lackings.

    The stark negativity and anger of the GOP campaign was a big turn off for voters too, in my opinion. Many of the comments made were just outright wrong. Obama's a socialist? Sure Palin...and how are those big oil checks handed out to each Alaskan? You know anyone on Medicare or Social Security?

    The GOP campaign also seemed to spend more time trying to trash Obama than actually telling us their own views. Why should I vote for you when you won't tell me where you stand?

    Finally, McCain's ties to Bush were too strong. Bush weighed like an anchor with his dismal approval rating and seeming refusal to listen to the public. And don't tell us you're a maverick when you voted with your party line 90% of the time. Hard to deny when there's video of you saying that.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  334. Tom

    I have read every comment on this useless board. If I hadn't kept up with the results of the election I could have drawn the conclusion from the comments of you clowns that McCain-Palin must have received maybe 20% of the vote. However, I just checked and between the total votes cast for either Obama or McCain, McCain received 46.92% of the vote. As for Sarah Palin I can understand the comments about her not being prepared, but it has been amazing to me the insanely vitriolic attitude that most of you display and the aggression that most of the press and left-wing internet pursued this woman with, on the other hand Joe Biden gets a pass every time he makes innaccurate and outlandish statements, part of being a good leader is not only being well versed on the issues but also exercising good judgement self control in a crisis. Biden could not be counted on by the Obama camp to go out for one day and not put his foot in his mouth.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  335. Sarah

    John made three very costly mistakes. First, there was his choice of running mate, his second mistake was his running mate and the third mistake was Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  336. mark murphy

    i believe mccain's biggest mistake was pretending to be a conservative. he was never a die hard conservative. that's the reason i think that he won his primary. the voters were looking for a maverick, and he ran as just another lock step neo-con. if mccain was the mccain of 2000 and 2004 he might have won this in a cake walk.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  337. barbara kramar

    so many things: sarah Palin. she thought she was a star.wrong!she was a scape goat.john wanted something said he got sarah to say it for him.
    it saved face for john. sarah had a venom when she spoke that was equal
    to a cobra.meantime john smelled like a rose.
    another thing that failed john: he never told what he planned to do. he
    always told what obama planned to do. obama had the better temperament! obama had such large crowds and he told them what they wanted to hear. obama refused to get into catfights. obama respected
    people feelings an would not insult them. unless something was documented and could be shown as:THE KEATING 5, obama passed on it. i don't recall specific points being brought up about religion.
    i am a strong believer religion and politics do not mix. why did john
    lose the race,obama was the better candidate.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  338. CoreyB

    There are going to be articles upon articles devoted to this question, but what it really comes down to is that McCain moved from the center to the far right–from his reconciliation with Falwell and others he'd once dubbed "agents of intolerance" to his embrace of the Bush tax breaks, he sold his soul to win the nomination. He then had to sell his integrity and everything else he had left by embracing the Karl Rove school of politics that sunk him in 2000. Quite frankly, it was painful for moderates like myself to watch.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  339. Todd Young

    McCain is a great American who has served this country with distinction and honor for many years. As a senator and a candidate in 2000 he has been known and loved for his honesty and candor. But this year, instead of running as himself, he turned his campaign over to the mean-spirited low-brow GOP political machine.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  340. joeb

    Choosing Sarah Palin. I had planned on voting for McCain until he chose her to run as his VP. That action caused me to have significant doubts about his judgement.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  341. Joanne,mainiac

    John McCain lost it when he selected Palin .And also when he didnt even know ,How many homes he had.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  342. Ann

    John McCain' biggest mistakes were: picking an unqualified woman to be on the ticket just to pander to women voters, going extremely negative, not conducting himself well during the three debates, not having solutions to the vast problems that plague this country, and finally, running away from the moderate republican that he truly is and has been throughout his career. People couldn't really identify with THIS John McCain because we wanted the man who ran in 2000 and was a moderate.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  343. Dee

    It wasn't until the last debate that he said "I am not George Bush." And Cheney endorsing him days before the election? Who was running that republican ship?

    November 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  344. Jack

    Not attacking Obama from the onset. But its over now and I am sure Republicans with not treat Obama like Bush has been treated over the last 8 years.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  345. Ruth

    When we were looking for answers to the war and the economic crisis, McCain answered with a series of empty gestures. First with his VP pick of a woman unable to communicate an unscripted thought, second by announcing he was suspending his campaign to 'deal' with the economic crisis and third by parading 'Joe the Plumber' before us long after Joe's story had been revealed as a fabrication.

    In short, through all these empty gestures, McCain insulted our intelligence and for me, THAT was his biggest mistake.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  346. Thomas, Yo.town, OH

    McCain's biggest mistake was when he did not attack the 20% PORK in the bailout package. He made a big deal on suspending his campaign to seriously work on the package, but when it came down to his promises he sat quiet. That's when I knew for sure that change with McCain really meant stay the same.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  347. Joyce, Kentucky

    To those Republicans at the RNC convention who laughed loudly when Rudy belittled community organizers-are you laughing now?
    Turns out a "community organizer" beat the pants off your guy.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  348. barbara cohen

    There were so many...where to begin:

    chosing Sarah Palin, being age 72 and running, maybe still having cancer, making continuous snide remarks about obama, never telling us what his "plan" was, flipflopping on issues by the hour, being a warmonger, having given up his maverick status and agreeing to do whatever the republican party said, approving negative ads, suspending his campaign but not really suspending it, not being able to get unison with the republican congress about the bailout, not building ground support while obama and clinton fought for the primary, assuming that joe the plumber would be his economic/foreign affairs campaign manager.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  349. Amber

    Palin, I am sure McCain is kicking himself right now for not following his gut. There is an old saying "follow your first mind" and I am sure he wish he had

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  350. San Lee

    Sarah Palin.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  351. Derek

    Senator McCain's greatest mistake well occurred before the election. For reasons still unknown to me, he chose to align himself with George Bush, after being one of Bush strongest critics. During these last four years, John MCain changed from what I had seen as a strong and noble person into the angry old man we saw for the last two years.

    I still have trouble believing that the John McCain I thought I knew would ever agree to the type of campaign he and his party ran. Did you see the SNL bit where the fake McCain approves one abysmal lie after the next. How accurate was that?

    Barack Obama ran a campaign based on hope, vision and almost never fell into the angry rhetoric that defined the McCain campaign. If your vision is not going to inspire, trying to change the election into a cat fight will only work if both sides play the same game.

    Why did no one in the Republican party not see that Obama kept taking the high road in every battle and that made McCain seem angrier and petty every time he spoke.

    So there was no one mistake. The entire campaign was the mistake. He tried to run a classic campaign against a completely different style of campaign and never once got close.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  352. Claire

    John McCain? The likable “maverick” . Why did he use this term? This is the first definition in the dictionary, 1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.
    Who has branded McCain? corporations? powerful individuals?

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  353. Marcy M.

    His biggest mistake had to be Sarah Palin. Her choice as running mate was an insult to the United States and and offensive to women.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  354. Joe

    He made several major mistakes!!

    1) Decided to run on the coat-tails Bush, one of the most unpopular modern day presidents
    2) Ran a terrible and unfocused campaign not mentioning until too late Obama's desire to take from the hard working and give to the takers in society
    3) Did not separate himself from the Bush administration

    If these mistakes were not enough he was at a disadvantage due to the liberal media who were all in Obama's pocket and the hundreds of thousands who were prepared to vote for Obama not based on issues, but only skin color. I see Palin has her detractors, but she certianly is representative of my morale values and the moral values of the Christian right.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  355. Jasmine in Germany

    You've mentioned three very important mistakes: 1) dishonorable and divisive campaign, 2) choice of VP (better choices were available), 3) desperate tactics that didn't work (campaign suspension, flip-flopping, using Obama's slogans). All of the above showed poor leadership qualities and may have been a domino effect, we can't judge what may have been.

    I think McCain's biggest mistake was sleeping on the job while the democratic primaries dragged out. He campaigned part-time and wasn't interested in the problems of the US American people and wasted six months of valuable time before his camp created an agenda that addressed the concerns of the masses. He didn't realize he was on turf in the 21st Century and that the times have changed. Americans and the world are seeking intelligence and compassion, we don't want another unalert president. He may have truly been "more of the same".

    November 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  356. Kurt Umscheid

    His biggest mistake...
    He thought he was a writer for Seinfeld!
    The campaign was about nothing!
    I guess it was his turn to be Bob Dole!

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  357. Ivan Goldberg

    Staying a Republican when he could have and should have come to the side of reason!

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  358. Alex

    Sarah Palin might have looked like a good choice on the surface, obviously she wasn't. How was she supposed to relate to the conservative base with a unwed pregnant teenage daughter, a husband who had really done nothing to show his good moral beliefs, and her with nothing but to say except Obama is the wrong choice. If she was trying to help she needed to have something to contribute to the game or she should never have played.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  359. Richard

    The problem with John McCain was that he ran a Year 2004 election in 2008. He saw the tactics that worked for Bush/Rove, (as Al Franken Put it "Fears, Smears, and Queers") and ran with them in this current race. The problem he encountered is that a plaurality of americans have awakened to the politics of fear, and are no longer affected by them. America truely wanted Hope and Change, McCain chose to offer Fear and Character Attacks.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  360. bash

    As a 66 year old white woman who is a far left progressive in Indiana, I say that McCain made three major mistakes:
    1. The choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. An insult to all of us who fought hard for women's rights.
    2. Negative advertising and the unwillingness to correct it. This, coupled with the hypocrisy of his campaign, pointed to the likelihood of his being a Bush clone.
    3. His lack of character and the loss of any self-pride he might have had by selling out to the religious right.

    I am so glad he did not win!

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  361. Chris

    "John McCain’s largest mistake was being a republican. In recent decades, republicans have divided into three categories: conservatives, the religious right, and the wealthy. All three are selfish and self-serving. And THAT is what has been wrong with America."

    You're absolutely right. Democratic policies enacted under LBJ, with further support from additional legislation under Carter, and with enormous pressure from the Clinton administration is one of the chief reasons that banks were forced to give "disadvantaged" families loans that they were not normally entitled to.

    Wow...look at that housing market now. It's a good thing we weren't selfish in creating it.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  362. Heather

    Do you ever wonder where it all went downhill? When did 'highly revered' politicians all turn into cranky name-calling lowlifes? Both sides did it. And I lose so much respect for them because of it. It is hard to sit back now and look to the new President for advice, safety and with any admiration after him (and his opponent) spend months acting like grade school bullies.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  363. nonia


    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  364. beth

    Responding to Larissa, I think that you're right. Many Republicans that I talk to have said that they think the party's intention was, from the start of this campaign, to just go through the motions and then start rebuilding for the next election. These were talks going on over the past several months....mainly beginning after his dreadful pick for running mate.

    November 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  365. cheta ott

    Jack,sweet and simple.............Not one damn thing!

    November 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  366. Laura

    Jack: Picking Sarah Palin in the middle of her family soap opera was one. He stood a chance with Romney or Ridge so thank God he didn't pick them. Also negative campaigning and my personal favorite...his wife CINDY standing over his shoulder every second of every day in her outragous outfits bugged me!

    November 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  367. Stephanie Klitsch

    I hate to say it Sarah Palin, she is a beautiful talent, and to be admired but she lacked the experience, knowledge , foreign policy. I also feel there that McCains strategy was wrong and there was a lot of waisted time and lack of creativity. They could not rebound from the wasted time/strategy. Palin in no way compares to Hillary and I think these wher the votes the camp was trying to obtain.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  368. Mila from Indiana

    McCain's biggest mistake? No brainer – Palin!

    November 5, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  369. Barry Willing, Columbia, SC


    It was his lack of understanding the American people, his lack of judgement and he talked to often about what Pres. Elect Obama would or would not do. He more or less campaign for Obama.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  370. Pat Bradenton Fla

    We had so many first time voters this year and I'm sure they were less than impressed on how McCain "the adult" conducted his campaign .. He didn't give them something to be proud of ..

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  371. Linden

    McCain was not true to himself in this election process. I knew it right away when Palin was introduced at the RNC and he said, "Isn't she great?" It sounded so forced and empty, and I knew right there he didn't have a prayer.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  372. little johnny put put

    He didn't make any mistakes. Rather, his unconscious
    knew what was good for him at his age with his
    health profile. Thus, playing home brew Freud, yes I am,
    he sabotaged his chances in a variety of ways, starting
    with Palin, continuing with personal attacks that kept
    the mad dogs happy and the mature public unrewarded.

    Well, I know, pretty labored, this argument. But the
    fact remains that he might live for a few more years
    amongst the psychics and sycophants of Sedona.

    If he had won, he'd be dead or permanently asleep on the\
    job, take your choice. The unconscious does, so they
    say, know what it's doing, even if its thinking "owner"
    doesn't have a clue as to what is going on. The Presidency
    is a killer job for the few who actually engage with its
    job description. He might have tried. He'll be o.k. now.
    The pink jeeps of Sedona await to console him.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  373. fulan, chicago

    + Negative campaign was like preaching to the choir and turned off those that were undecided.
    + Poor choice of a running mate - the VP debate was like one between a professor and a grade schooler.
    + Still didn't seem to "get it" in his concession speech - ran a campaign with the assumption the general population was not ready for a non-white leader.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  374. Matt

    His biggest mistake was in choosing his running mate. Many republicans were turned off by Palin and her lack of knowledge on important issues. McCain should have picked Romney who brought with his vast knowledge of the economy and could have been used as an ace in the hole in dealing with the economic meltdown. McCain took things for granted and didn't convince enough people to vote for him.

    November 5, 2008 at 5:30 pm |