The Choice 2008

What did you think of this FRONTLINE report? What are your thoughts on these two unlikely candidates?

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Thanks for a great production.I have a pretty good idea what we would get with Mccain.Obama remains a total unknown.

Allan Crockett
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico


One more thing. I was disappointed that with the psychoanalysis of Obama. I am sorry but most white people will never understand the psychological phases that a Black person goes through in a predominately white settings because that will never be there reality and thus most white commentators are predictable and off-the-mark in their psychoanalysis of Barack Obama. Even the ones on Frontline.

Tia Lake
Orlando, Florida


I want to express my deepest appreciation for "The Choice 2008". I enjoyed the presentation of a biography of both candidates. This represented a continuation of the high quality journalism that I am familiar with. My greatest appreciation is the fact that you displayed the level of humanity and circumstance surround each candidate. While I am not an undecided voter, I personally respect both men.

Thank you

Boris DeLaine
Charlotte, NC


This was a deftly woven story of the two candidates. Instead of a chronological, cradle-to-campaign narrative of their lives, you told a story that jumped back and forward in time, focusing on the pivotal moments that shaped the trajectory of their political careers. I can't imagine it was easy to write and produce, but I was able to follow it without difficulty, so I think it turned out well. You did a good job of distilling the character of the two men in two hours. I would have liked to have seen an even more comprehensive treatment of their lives (I may be in the minority on this), but I guess I can find that in books, articles, and this web site.

The footage of McCain's interview as a battered, vulnerable Vietnam POW was moving. Although he's known as a man of emotions, he's kept them veiled in the campaign for the most part, so this revealed a side to him I had not seen. In that clip, he looked and sounded as if he might have been on his deathbed, but his determination was evident as he tried to send a hopeful message to his wife. Clearly this was (and is) a man of great inner strength and resilience.

I was struck also by Obama's rhetorical skill, dating back to his days running for Illinois state office. His line, "If there's a child on the south side of Chicago that can't read, that makes a difference in my life even if it's not my child," echoes John Donne's "No man is an island" sermon, which itself is inspired by Paul's epistles (e.g., 1 Corinthians 12). It's an artful way of encouraging people to unite and share the burden, instead of looking out only for themselves. Not only is Obama a poet, he is also a preacher -- though his rhetoric is more inclusive than, say, Rev. Wright's.

Drew C
Rockville, MD


I have great respect for both Senator Obama and Senator McCain. This program reminded me of why I like them both so much. Unfortunately, the John McCain I had the most admiration for and the one I was most likely to vote for began to disappear over a year ago. This great documentation of his career reminds me of the days when I considered voting for him. But he has gone too far right and against his natural grain for me to consider him.

The presentation of both men was unbiased, laying before us an unglorified and realistic view of the candidates. They are both, in their essense, political animals who are ambitious and smart. It should come as no surprise to anyone that politicians are, at their core, chess players with motivations and cool calculations. PBS did a great job showing these men in that light but retaining a sense of their frailties, strengths and personalities.

Excellent job. I can always depend on Frontline to retain journalistic standards in this pithy news world.

Christine F
Washington, DC


Thanks for this profile of the candidates. It helped assure me I'm not just leaning toward Obama cause he's a poet. I'd like our next president to be the kind of guy who can manage his message and his campaign staff. Where leadership and vision are concerned, it's more clear than ever that Obama is the future of the United States.

Tucson, AZ


This was an amazing documentary. I don't think I have ever enjoyed a piece of political journalism more, and I have seen a lot of the stuff.

Adam Winner
Boston, Massachussetts


Frontline delivered The Choice 2008, Candidates 101 on McCain and Obama. It was an in-depth, inside documentary to show how each rose from his humble base to their party candidate seat. The show presented what the candidates faced and how they overcame the challenges of ups and downs, left and right, inside and outside. I believe this program presents a balanced profile, being informative and helpful in the democracy of Presidential Election 2008

walter ko
San Lorenzo, ca


A totally first rate show...not just The Choice 2008 but excellence week after week! I am absolutely glued to PBS this election season because of your lack of bias. I have made my decision but I do appreciate a place to learn facts without the color of fear or drama clouding the way.

Thank you for being MY Choice in this election! Frontline ROCKS!

Becky Austwick
Springfield, IL


A fair-good presentation, but not quite up to standards we've come to expect from PBS/Frontline...THREE VERY NOTABLE FLAWS contributed to the program's weakness:

1) Failure to even mention the highly unusual and stroke-of-luck circumstances that led to Obama being elected to the US Senate (disintegration of front-running GOP nominee Ryan's personal life and his campaign)

2) Weakly addressing 2000 campaign personal attacks against McCain, and his turning to these tactics in 2008.

3) Complete failure to address the intense campaign dynamics swirling around Palin as the GOP veep candidate.

charlotte, nc


This is the best example of political journalism that I have seen in a long time. Indepth research, no bias, no disparaging of either candidate. A simple and concise portrayal of the men, one of whom will lead our great nation. It is now left for the undecided voters to make up their minds, and for the party voters to stay partisan, or switch after watching this program. This was truly a great service in this time of great uncertainty, and the dawn of a new America in the 21st century.

Muambo Oben
Seoul, South Korea


Kudo's on a fabulous tool to tour history! Your television program was outstanding, but I found the ability to drill into the various related stories (complete with video and interviews) priceless. What an intriguing look back to the PBS commentators' first and prescient impressions following Barack Obama's 2004 keynote address! (I hugely endorse interested visitors to replay the end of that clip: "a transcender ... the first black president? destined for greatness ..."). And, this is to take nothing away from John McCain's remarkable biography.The Choice 2008 (especially your website) is simply first rate. I wish all Americans would spend an hour with a high speed connection to get a sample of this resource's offerings.

Lawrence King
Denver, Colorado


Your cantidate profiles of Senators McCain and Obama would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the Presidential campaign, provoking a more intense probing of the genesis of both of these men. Better late than never I guess. At this late date it is disturbing that so much misinformation on Barack Obama still persists as evidenced by the incorrect information shared by "Pittsburgh" in your comments blog. Since I reside in the same city, its point of view is all too familiar to me. In this area of Pennsylvania where "whites" have enjoyed preference in almost every area, "blacks" have been barely tolerated until the most recent of times. "Whites" here , amazingly, somehow are offended by "Black" awareness of the reality of their situiation, and the backbone to try to alter it for their and their posterity's sake. Barak Obama, here is seen as a threat to the status quo, and sadly some here seem determined to preserve it. Others, focusing on the future, are determined to change this perverse regression. More than any other quality, hope for our better future is what Sen. Obama represents. I hope our country is now ready for him, it should be.

Lance Dugger
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


In response to the person that a lot could have been brought out about Obama's character by essentially highlighting negative personal issues about one candidate or another. They could have highlighted that John Mccain's wife was hooked on prescription drugs but they did not. Thank God for Frontline!! Front Line gives objective news about both candidates political past and where they are headed!! If you want personal media hit and runs turn to fox news they have them all the time

angela frink
Brooklyn, NY


Thank you for this show. It demonstrates to me the calculating agenda of Barack Obama. Clearly he made strategic decisions his entire adult life, which would position him to advance his socialist attitude...from choosing to live in Chicago and attending Trinity Church, engaging the Federalist Society Members at Harvard, ditching Jeremiah Wright...Obama's entire life is based on self-service. Conversely, John McCain built his life on Honor and Service to Country. Whenever McCain was swayed from that core belief system, then he lost his balance. He used accountability to regain his balance and continue to serve.

After viewing this show, I fail to understand how anyone can support Obama. Even his patented speeches, developed first as a community organizer and unveiled at the 04 Democratic Convention, demonstrate his socialistic view of government in America.

I've always enjoyed and learned from FRONTLINE. Keep up the good work.

Joe Friday
Greenville, North Carolina


posted october 14, 2008

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