Election Connection

The "E" Word

The financial crisis seems to have eclipsed talk of anything else - in the campaigns and the news at large. So what happened to the campaigns' focus on experience?

Patchwork Nation
's Dante Chinni reported what's he's hearing from several types of communities across the country this week, and found some surprising results. While it feels like just yesterday that Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, and brought the experience question back into the conversation, Chinni says the past four weeks have been tide-changing for the stump language used in both camps.

"Throughout the spring and summer, the "E" word came up a lot in our conversations with voters in person, on the phone, and through e-mail. It was seen as a big advantage for McCain.

But after two presidential debates and with one month left in the campaign, it has all but vanished from the discussion.

That may be a function of several things. The economy, not McCain's strong suit, has come to dominate the race. The arrival of Gov. Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket may have blunted the strength of the argument for McCain. And the major theme of this race - "change" - is not really about experience.

Whatever the reason, now that voters have seen Obama and McCain on stage together twice, it doesn't appear most of them are thinking about or focused on an experience gap."

With such a short amount of time left before the nation heads to the polls, will Obama or McCain develop a new tag line to push the conversation forward?


Richard Kunzier said:

Where is Obama getting the huge amount of funding for his TV ads? What group is really behind him?

Dell Belew said:

As to the 'E" word for experience and economics, I would like to say that I keep up with what the politicians and pundents have researched and are saying about Obama's experience, and it frightens me due to his past "experience." If he handles the nation's economy the way he has those for whom he was responsible before, we could be in bigger trouble than we are now.

Kim Gaither said:

I can tell you where Barrack Obama is getting his money, from a dedicated grass-roots campaign made up of people who cannot imagine another four years of a Bush type administration. You know, those public organizer types. I have worked with them and their energy and love for this country is immense. The difference is, they don't tout themselves as patriots because they accept everything this county does, right or wrong. They choose to work to make it better instead of going shopping to forget about it. A few salient points:

As you may already know, the winner of the Nobel prize for economics this year is Paul Krugman, he has been adamently opposed to the economic policies of the past 8 years that have nearly driven this county to another depression. Question: What do you think about privatizing your social security these days, is that still a gamble you want to take? how about borrowing a trillion from Medicare, the lastest McCain plan, sound good?

Most people are in agreement that the Iraq war was a tremendous blunder, based on purposeful misinformation and costing precious lives, close to a trillion dollars of debt to the Chinese (is it a coincidence that this is the same amount of the original cost of the bail out bill?) , and our country's reputation. Senator McCain has voted against bills to fortify our troops and to take care of them when they come home. He wants to continue this war until we "win". How can you win a grave mistake?

Energy Crisis: Drill baby drill? Is that the best they can do, a rhyme? Is this what captures the American imagination these days? Maybe a few meetings with T. Boone Pickens, a forward thinking oil man, would be helpful. Maybe doing for country, instead of doing for self, as modeled by the greatest generation, and freeing ourselves from bondage to the middle east would be a good plan.

At this time of crisis who could think of leaving this county in the hands of someone who is still angry about the Vietnam war, or a religious extremist like Sarah Palin who has a lukewarm IQ at best? It is beyond beleif that after what we have had for 8 years people would still vote for someone they could have a beer with, as opposed to someone who is brilliant, cultured, and has served the people without thought of personal gain (yes I'm back to that public organizer thing) Some will comment that Senator Obama has had no executive experience, but he beat the Clintons, certainly no small task. And he has had 8 years and cast 4,000 votes in the state senate before the US senate, I don't hear many people mention that. Last but not least; 3 presidents who had little governing experience before leading this county in the highest times of stress: Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK.

brandon said:

Dedicated grass roots organizations like ACORN, I'm sure. I'm still asking the same "E" question about Senator Obama. Why doesn't his name ever come up in these "E" conversations anymore? The question of his "E" has never been answered by the media. Maybe its because he's got the media snug in his breast pocket, close to his heart.

Warren Bidwell said:

Obama is a good talker and thus he is where he is. But, that is all he is is a good talker!!

LeRoyE. Brendle said:

The "E" word representing "experience" and "economics" are interconnected and are definitely related to precisely why we cannot afford to elect Barrack Obama as President. We can probably expect the naton to return a Democratic Congress due to much discontent and blame against the Bush administration. This is hard to understand, however, when the approval rating of Congress stands at only 13% which is lower than President Bush. We have already experienced two years of a failed Democratic Congressional leadership. Just look at the failed leadership of Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank (Senate and House do nothing leaders of our fianancial committees) along with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Where were they on Countrywide, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Their record on experience and economics is absolutely clear and transparent! Add the most liberal member of Congress as the President and chief Executive Officer of our country and we will have the most unbalanced system of "Checks and Balances" ever. We shutter to even think about how far they will take us down the Socialistic trail. John McCain's record of reaching across the aisle is an established fact. Sarah Palin's record of reaching across the aisle is an established fact. I see no compromise in the records of Pelosi, Reid and Obama. Yes we do know enough about the "experience" and "economics" through the records and rhetoric to know exactly where the candidates stand.

Pat said:

The experience poll appears to allow individuals to vote more than one time.

David said:

Where's your poll on Obama's (lack of) experience? Or how about a poll on whether Americans think he is honest? how is it possible to have all this media attention (and no scrutiny) for 2 years and still only be 5 points ahead? Can you imagine if McCain had 2 years of fawning publicity and no scrutiny? Pathetic!
And these are our tax dollars at work....thanks PBS.

One Small Business Owner Scared to Death of Obama's Economic Policies

Pat said:

The Sarah Palin experience poll appears to allow individuals to vote more than once.

kameren said:

I wanted to see the results before I voted and when I clicked it said it had added my vote...makes me wonder which way it voted for me. This adds to my frustration on the skewed polls all over the tv. It seems this station is leaning toward a candidate too! The question is fair to ask of both parties. A more balanced question would have been...Who do you think is more experienced for their posiition Obama or Palin. All of the networks are showing their true colors not the news these days!

Who had Muslim room mates, traveled the Mideast and has had a relationship with Muslims since college?

Who has had a 15 year relationship with the known terrorist Bill Ayers?

Who has had a long term relationship (and received money from) with the organization Acorn, now accused of Voter Fraud and payouts? Now being investigated in 15 states.

Who has had a long term relationship with convicted felon Tony Rezko?

Who has had a 20 year relationship with the Racist Jeramiah Wright and his buddy Farakkan?

Who lives on the same street as Ayers and Farakkan?

Who is it that had only a 143 days of experience in the US Senate before announcing his run for the presidency of the most powerful nation on this earth?

Who has never managed anything except his household?


Is this the kind of experience you want?

I would like to ask Kim why she considers Sarah Palin is a Religious Extremist?

Does she consider Jeremiah Wright a religious Extremist?

Does she consider Farakkan a religious extremist?

Does she think Obama a religious expremist?

Does she consider Bill and Gloria Gaither are religious extremist?

Mark L said:

I figure that the Muslims and terrorists are funding Obama's campaign. He has way too much money and is arrogant about it,

Mark L said:

He is being funded by terrorists,Arabs and Muslims. Americans don't have this kind of money after all our government just had to bail out so many people from foreclosure it's insane! We are looking at a possible great depression and we have Barak Hussein Obama running for president of the USA.

It just doesn;'t add up.
I hope someone is keeping tabs with the voting from our soldiers!

Amy said:

I see your poll asking about whether Palin is experienced enough. WHERE is the one asking about Obama????

Buerk said:

Sorry Kim:
It is an illusion as to the popularity and "grass roots" fundraising for Obama. I recieve at least 1 and usually 2 E-mails a day from the campaign BEGGING for Money! They always have disinformation and propaganda designed to frighten! The Obama Campaign is full of hatemongering in that regard. Watch a video on

http:obamacensors.sitebooth.com - inspired by by the Obama Campaign's many Censorship techniques

To see Just how sinister the Obama campaign is. PROOF of hatemongering and Race Baiting.
We see the Obama campaign funding 'Grass Roots" like Acorn? Buying Keywords from google to Censor out Searches they don't like! The Absolute worst violation to the Cornerstone of Democracy - FREE SPEECH!
What wil Obama do when he spits in the face of Free Speech and Democracy???
Don't want to find out.....

Steve-H said:

E for Experience definitely goes to McCain.
E for Economics doesn't go to either of the 2 MSM candidates.

Vote for the Constitution Party.
This is the party that wants to help the average legal U.S. taxpayer.


Leave a comment

We welcome your comments, and hope to host energetic, civil discussions. As you post, please keep the following in mind:

  • Keep your comments focused on the topic at hand.
  • Don't use profanity, personal attacks or hate speech.
  • Don't promote a business or raise money.
  • When all else fails, think "Golden Rule": Treat others the way you'd like to be treated yourself.

We reserve the right to remove posts that don't follow these guidelines. By clicking submit, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

About this blog
PBS Engage, public broadcasting's social media initiative, and PBS Vote 2008 are finding the best elections content from across public media and our partners and bringing it to you. We're following the campaigns and highlighting in-depth coverage. Feel free to leave a comment, send us an e-mail, or suggest a topic!
Keep in touch with election coverage from PBS and public media. Sign up for our RSS feed.
Recent Comments

Support Provided By: