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2008 Presidential Election John McCain vs. Barack Obama.

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Presentation on theme: "2008 Presidential Election John McCain vs. Barack Obama."— Presentation transcript:

1 2008 Presidential Election John McCain vs. Barack Obama

2 Context An unusually unpopular Republican party controlled the White House and both the Senate and House controlled by the Democrats after they turfed out Republican in both after the 2006 mid-terms. Republicans tenure since 2001 had seen two unpopular wars and the onset of the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression. The short term forces were very strong in this election. As George W. Bush was retiring, it was an election in which the incumbent party candidate (McCain) faced a challenger (Obama). It was the first election that featured candidates that were historically disadvantaged by race and gender.

3 Republican Primaries Unique as no member of the executive branch of power participated meaning the contest was open and competitive. First time since 1952 that neither the incumbent President or Vice President had featured in a presidential election. First time since 1928 that neither President or Vice President had taken part in the primaries.

4 This left the nomination contest as competitive as that of the Democrats. 12 Candidates, including Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani. Romney, Giuliani, McCain and Tommy Thompson were the biggest fundraisers in early campaigning. Super Tuesday left McCain with only Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul By the end of February, McCain was clear frontrunner but could not clinch the nomination until March victories in Texas, Vermont, Rhode Island and Ohio and took him over the 1191 delegates needed.

5 Democratic Nomination Process Competitive as is typical for the party not in control of the White House. Ten candidacies announced including Senators Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Obama and Clinton emerged as the frontrunners. Clinton strategists predicted that she would wrap up the nomination by Super Tuesday- Obama won Iowa with Clinton coming third. Clinton came back strong in the debates prior to New Hampshire and won by 2% contrary to polls predictions of a defeat. Super Tuesday left the Democrats virtually tied between Obama and Clinton. By the end of April, Obama had more delegates and popular support than Clinton, but she had more endorsements from the super-delegates.

6 After the Indiana and North Carolina primaries in mid- May it was becoming increasingly improbably that Clinton was able to overcome Obama. Obama clinched the nomination on June 3 rd after reaching the required number of delegates. Nomination campaigns officially last until June, but are typically over by mid-March. The 2008 campaign was unexpectedly competitive much longer than usual. Clinton finally conceded defeat on June 7 th, 2008. Making Obama the first African-American presidential candidate of a major party.

7 John McCain Born John Sidney McCain III, born August 29 th 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in Panama Canal Zone. Senator of Arizona since 1987 and served first as congressman for Arizona’s 1 st district since 1983. Served as a navy pilot from 1958 and retired a captain in 1981. Fought in Vietnam and was shot down and held prisoner from 1967-1973. He serves on the Senate Foreign Relations committee and worked to restore diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s. Unsuccessful candidate in the Republican nomination process of 2000. Running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.

8 Barack Obama Born Barack Hussein Obama II, August 4 th 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Worked as a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law in the University of Chicago from 1992-2004. Served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997-2004 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2000. Served as Senator of Illinois from 2004 – 2008. First African-American presidential candidate. Running mate: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.

9 The Campaign Both candidates fought on a platform of change. McCain tried to make the election to be a choice election. Obama tried to make it a referendum election. Record amounts of money spent on campaigning. Influence of social media. Race, age and gender played a decisive role.

10 Election Campaign- The Issues Iraq- McCain had voted in favour of the Iraq War, whereas Obama had not. McCain’s belief that the US should maintain a presence in Iraq after the War was also deeply unpopular. Bush’s unpopularity- McCain struggled to distance himself from the Bush administration even though he was not part of the executive branch of government. He couldn’t manage to try and win over independent voters without losing conservative members of his own party. Unlike previous campaigns, the incumbent Bush made no appearances throughout McCain’s campaign. The economy – McCain seen to not be in touch with the issues of ordinary voters. Suspended campaigning to help craft the banking bailout but was said to have little or no impact. Change versus experience- Polls suggested that Obama’s inexperience was less of an impediment than McCain’s association with the Bush Administration. McCain’s choice running mate was also judged to be unwise decision.

11 The Outcome Obama: 365 EC Votes. PV: 69,498,516. 52.9% McCain: 173 EC Votes. PV: 59,948,323. 45.2% Turnout: 62.

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