[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?
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?
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.