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Wag the Blog: A Presidential Staring Contest



John McCain and Barack Obama. Getty Photo.

The decision yesterday by John McCain to suspend his campaign in order to deal with the financial crisis on Wall Street and Barack Obama's refusal to follow suit creates an old-fashioned political showdown.

At issue is whether tomorrow's presidential debate -- scheduled for 9 pm at the University of Mississippi in Oxford -- will be held.

McCain has said he would like the debate to be postponed, suggesting, according to Fox News, that the planned vice presidential debate next Friday in St. Louis (Mrs. Fix's hometown!) be used instead as the inaugural presidential debate.

Obama expressed his desire for the debate to go forward during an impromptu press conference in Florida yesterday. "It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," said Obama. "Part of the president's job is to deal with more than one thing at once."

The lines now formally drawn, we wait to see which side blinks first. It's the sort of political staring contest that so rarely happens these days in politics because the stakes are simply too high.

The last true political stare down with this level of political import was way back in 1995 when President Bill Clinton and then House Speaker Newt Gingrich clashed repeatedly over the federal budget. Neither man would budge and the government shut down twice.

Clinton, as he so often did, emerged as the victor from that clash -- easily winning re-election in 1996 over Sen. Bob Dole (Kans.). Gingrich, for his part, resigned from Congress two years later following a disappointing 1998 election.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear from you on whether Obama, McCain or neither will blink first in this current showdown, and, as importantly, why.

The most thoughtful (read: not rankly partisan) comments will be excerpted in a post of their own later this week.

Go to it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 25, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Next: VA-Gov: The Macker Makes a Move

Comments

I don't think either will need to blink.

Lawmakers will not work over the weekend, so once things wrap up in Washington around 4pm in the afternoon (deal or not), McCain will jump on a plane for Mississippi.

If no plan is reached today (Friday), I think McCain will show up 15 minutes late to the debate, which will get him news coverage about how he was the very last one to leave the negotiations in Washington after the Congress went home for the day.

If a negotiation is reached, McCain will be on time, being able to claim some share of the credit for delivering Republican House members as part of the compromise. Republican house members (particularly those running under the McCain ticket for re-election) will go along with a plan if McCain forces the issue.

Posted by: HokiePaul | September 26, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Somehow this just isn't a fair fight; a community organizer is trying to take on a Navy Fighter pilot. My $$ is on the Navy!

Posted by: imezgoin | September 26, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ducking the Issues by his Actions, said the duck Mr McCain. This smacks of the Republican Smoke and Mirror Master Karl Rove. EVERY time the Administration, now the Republican candidate gets into a corner. AS in the movie "Wag the Dog" All of a sudden another less important and Equally Mind Boggling to the General Sheep like Mentality and Easily lead United States and World Citizens, Karl does his thing.

John learn the actions of MULTI-TASKING. GET to the DEBATE and start TALKING FACTS instead to the worn out somewhat effective in the past "FEAR CAMPAIGN" Stick to Reality as the World sees it, Not Karl Rove.

Posted by: peterfrady | September 26, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

The debate should take place whether or not McCain is there or not. He can phone it in if he's afraid of coming off all Nixon-1960 in person.

Posted by: kristopher1 | September 26, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

McCain will blink first.

A McCain absence will leave Obama with tens of millions of dollars worth of free air time to frame the debate in any way he likes. Further, the Democratic leadership in Congress will be working with President Bush to arrive at a compromise. If the House Republicans balk, McCain looks less like a leader since he can't even get members of his own party to go along with a plan supported by that party's President. He's put himself in the unenviable position of now being expected to stand out as a leader in a crisis, but he has little sway over the people who will be setting the Agenda to fix that crisis.

The Democratic leaders of the Congress will do everything in their power to make sure Obama is not harmed by McCain's decision to skip a debate. You can bet that at 9 pm on Friday night, there will be no negotiations and no debate in either of the Houses, much less a vote. If McCain decides to skip, the most he will have to do on Friday night is watch CNN while Obama spends 90 minutes answering questions from worried voters about the economic crisis--on prime time television with every major news station (including those speaking Spanish) covering the event.

McCain will either demand a satellite uplink (allowing him to "steady the ship" in Washington while addressing voters' concerns), or we'll learn that he's talked with Boehner and the House Republicans who are happy to meet over the weekend with him and the Democratic leaderhips--allowing him to, thankfully, show up after all.

Posted by: Casus | September 26, 2008 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

This is purely a political gimmick on the McCain Campaign to blunt Obama's increasing lead in the polls.

It drives the point even more that McCain does not think a rational, but rather shoot from the hip without a clear focus.

Spare us the political tricks. and GET ON WITH THE DEBATE.

Some of want to hear what have to say, and how they will respond to the issues being discussed.

MB12

Posted by: MB12 | September 26, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

moonbat - are you referring to the Liberals who blocked the regulations that would have calmed this in 2003? Barney and Upchuck?

Posted by: kingofzouk

-----------------------------------

Wait a minute, weren't both houses of congress controlled by the republicans and the president was and is also a republican? So how was it the 2003 regulations were blocked by the democrats? Sorry if I am missing something here.

Inquiring independents want to know.

Posted by: wes1155 | September 25, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Chis,

Obama will be there for the debate in Mississippi; he will not blink, because it’s no longer a staring contest it’s a leadership contest. McCain attempted to be the leader with his ten “town hall” debates, town hall debates that were predetermined by the McCain staff and in a format McCain’s comfortable with, but Obama didn’t follow. Obama is comfortable with large crowds and in debates, further more he was on the Harvard debate team. There is a 50/50 chance McCain will not show, his reasons will be he was needed in Washington DC for his leadership on the financial Crisis and/or since Obama didn’t cooperate in his town hall debates, he won’t cooperate in the Mississippi debate. McCain has already on numerous occasions laid the ground work to use the town hall debates as an excuse to get out of larger national debates. Small town debates are for mayors of small towns, national debates are for presidents of nations.

Posted by: snman37922 | September 25, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The bill is in the House of Representatives, in Barney Franks' committee hearings. McCain is in the Senate. So there's nothing he can do to participate in that discussion until it gets to the other chamber of Congress. He's just hanging around Washington showboating.

Posted by: karin2 | September 25, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Who will blink first? McCain

McCain will find an excuse to attend the debate because if he does not, the debate will morph into an hour long infomercial for Obama. Do the networks have to offer McCain equal time if he was a no-show? I doubt it. He will have to find a way to attend the debate even if there is no bailout deal.

Posted by: FemaleVoter | September 25, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

McCain knows all about bailing out rich bankers and screwing over middle class and poor people, he's been doing it for years:
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxBCAaulG-k
.


*McCain - Founding Member of the Keating Five

McCain was one of the "Keating Five," congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.
Charles Keating was convicted of racketeering and fraud in both state and federal court after his Lincoln Savings & Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $3.4 billion. His convictions were overturned on technicalities; for example, the federal conviction was overturned because jurors had heard about his state conviction, and his state charges because Judge Lance Ito (yes, that judge) screwed up jury instructions. Neither court cleared him, and he faces new trials in both courts.)

Though he was not convicted of anything, McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating's airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating's luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain's wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a "sweetheart deal."


Here's some more straight-talk, my friends:
.
http://www.realchange.org/mccain.htm
.

Posted by: DrainYou | September 25, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps they think that Obama advisor Franklin Delano Raines, who took almost $100,000,000 in compensation from Fannie Mae before resigning under a cloud, can give Obama the solution. Or perhaps they don’t know, or care.

Posted by: Bob Hall | September 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

________________

Saying Franklin Raines' middle name doesnt make your lie true. Raines has stated he was never an advisor. The Obama campaign has said the same. Why let the truth get in the way of Republican lies?

Posted by: keirreva | September 25, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess McCain really has suspended his campaign. We havent heard from the female Rush Limbaugh today, also known as Asper Girl...

Posted by: rharring | September 25, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Who will blink first depends on whether or not the Obama campaign can maintain a clean image throughout this aberation.
McCain has IMHO made a very, very stupid mistake by letting Obama set the tone of the election vis-a-vis "hopeful" or "mudslinging" politics for a week. Obama should want to make this week the most feel good time in politics since 1818. He sounds much better peddling hope then dispair, it reminds people why he generated such excitement in the first place. And speaking into a vacuum, Obama can deliver this hopeful rhetoric without needing to worry about getting blindsided by mud in his eyes.
But Obama has to completely change the tone of his campaign on a dime, start pushing that hope again fast. If he lets out even a whiff of dirty politics then he's squandered the opportunity and becomes much more likely to blink (though it would still be a toss up who would blink). But if Obama can pull off the optimistic message then McCain will realize how much he's set himself up for a fall. Of course, if Obama can capatalize in such a fashion and with the winds blowing the way they are, it might be safe to call the race at such a point.

Posted by: theamazingjex | September 25, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"Fox NEWS polls are outliers"?

Must be a typo. Ir should read: "Fox NEWS polls are out-and-out liars."

Posted by: StevefromSacto | September 25, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

McCain will blink, now that Obama has announced he may have to switch to a town-hall meeting format on Friday night if McCain doesn't show up. (What a wonderful counterpunch!) How could McCain allow Obama 90 minutes of solo prime-time taking audience questions? And, of course, Obama would still be able to return to Washington in plenty of time for Saturday's vote on the bail-out, so there's no advantage whatsoever for McCain to insist on staying in Washington.

Posted by: chantooz | September 25, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think the Supreme Court should declare John McCain President by default. This will avoid a ruinous election at a time of crisis and save a great deal of money. Barring that, appoint G W Bush President for Life in recognition of his many accomplishments.

Posted by: Maxim1 | September 25, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain Avoiding The Debate?


McCain has pulled this stunt before....


With his poll numbers tanking, John McCain wants to pull out of the presidential debate. No, I'm not talking about tomorrow's debate with Barack Obama:


"With new polls showing his campaign dead in the water among California Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain has pulled out of a long-scheduled debate with Texas Gov. George Bush, set for Thursday in Los Angeles."

"McCain campaign officials tried desperately yesterday to put the best face on their withdrawal, even as a new Field Poll showed Bush far ahead among likely Republican voters in the winner-take-all race for the state's 162 GOP delegates."

"The bait and switch on the debate left the Arizona senator -- whose favorite campaign line is "I'll always tell you the truth'' -- wide open to blistering criticism from his rivals."

"Clearly, this is more double-talk from the McCain campaign,'' said Alixe Mattingly, a spokeswoman for Bush. "Pulling out of this debate at the last minute is an indication that they're pulling out of California, where McCain's antagonistic message clearly isn't working.''

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/02/28/MN62687.DTL&hw=mccain+opinsky&sn=001&sc=1000
.


And clearly, McCain has a habit of trying to "cut and run" when things aren't going his way.

Posted by: DrainYou | September 25, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

You know what Sarah always says...
"No matter how much lipstick you put on a moose, it's still gonna sh*t in the woods!"

Posted by: JEP7 | September 25, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse


SARAH PALIN LOVER REVEALED!

In a world exclusive The NATIONAL ENQUIRER names GOP VP Candidate Sarah Palin's secret lover!

No less than three members of the man’s family including one by sworn affidavit have claimed that Sarah Palin engaged in an extramarital affair with hus band Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.

These sources have named Hanson as Palin’s secret love, and say their affair nearly wrecked both their marriages.

Hanson owned a snowmobile dealership with Palin’s husband Todd, who immediately dissolved the partnership after he heard stories about the affair, which occurred around 1996, according to the sources. At the time, Palin was mayor of Wasilla.

Palin has vehemently de nied cheating on her hus band, and Hanson insisted to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER that he was never romantically in volved with the 44-year-old Republican vice presiden tial candidate.

However, Hanson family insider, Jim Burdett, has gone on the record and passed a rigorous polygraph test, revealing de tails of the affair to The NATIONAL ENQUIRER in a world exclusive interview.

Burdett is a former brother-in-law of Hanson’s estranged wife Carolyn's brother, Craig Batton, and still speaks with many family members.

“I’ve known about Brad having had an affair for a long time, but it wasn’t until just recently that I learned his affair was with Sarah Palin,” Burdett told The NATIONAL ENQUIRER.

“Sarah was elected mayor of Wasilla, Brad became a city council member in the nearby town of Palmer, and they started an affair.

“Todd found out about the affair and was so mad he broke up their partnership at the snowmobile dealership,” Burdett claimed.

Another source, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, provided The NATIONAL ENQUIRER with a sworn affidavit attesting to the Palin-Hanson story.

“Todd was away on business a lot and Sarah felt lonely. Brad was a good listener, and Sarah talked to him at length. Eventually, she real ized she was falling in love with him,” one insider divulged.

“When Todd got back from one of his trips, Sarah told him that she had begun to have feelings for Brad.”

For the full story and exclusive details of the shocking allegations of Sarah Palin’s affair pick up the latest issue of the NATIONAL ENQUIRER!

Posted by: popasmoke | September 25, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The McCain campaign was nearly masterful in their decision to avoid the debate in Mississippi for several reasons:

1. It could (public decision waits) make McCain appear above politics despite the announcement being a political trick in itself.

2. Combined with the White House meeting, it throws Obama off any debate preparations. Given his poor debating performances in the past, Obama needs to sharpen his skills.

3. If the debate is postponed, it might be rescheduled for next Friday; completely bumping ANY Vice Presidential debate. That would keep Sarah Appalling from her Waterloo. If the debate is canceled or postponed, Obama could insist that the VP candidates take the stage in Mississippi saying that Joe Biden is prepared now – throw the onus on Palin.

4. If the debate is canceled entirely, the topics will be condensed into the remaining two Presidential debates; allowing McCain to push his Surge mantra during the last debate when it might have the most impact on the few remaining voters.

Campaigns are a matter of timing, planning, and luck. This week, John McCain's luck appeared to have turned bad. His shallowness on financial issues was apparent. Obama's own weaknesses in the area did nothing to help his campaign either, but given that Republicans hold the White House, the GOP has been blamed more for the failure of Wall Street.

Posted by: RobertAMarino | September 25, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Todays poll Obama is up 3 points
Mccain's stock is crashing on intrade. Obama up 17 points in just two days.

========
"the only poll that counts:

Rasmussen McCain 50 Obama 46"

FOX News polls are outliars.

Posted by: bondjedi | September 25, 2008 2:41 PM

Posted by: popasmoke | September 25, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

McBush and Lipstick are so petrified of the debates they'll pull anything to get out of them

Posted by: Tom the Teacher | September 25, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Gee, ya think anyone in Indiana might be influenced a little by the denunciation of the country Club First plane-crasher by their favorite son, Ball State "C" student, David Letterman?

Posted by: George W. McLiar | September 25, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. We learned this week that Fannie has been paying McCain's campaign manager $180,000 per year since 2005. Fannie just stopped paying the guy, and shortly thereafter McCain announces his campaign is suspended. So it turns out that the special interests really were bankrolling McCain's campaign. When they stopped paying, McCain stopped campaigning.

If that isn't alarming, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"the only poll that counts:

Rasmussen McCain 50 Obama 46"

FOX News polls are outliars.

Posted by: bondjedi | September 25, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I was really hyped up for McCain until he picked Palin, but I stuck with him still. I like the guy. But then he hits us with this behavior. If a President acted like this, we'd be toast in a crisis. And so you have the reason that I am now going to vote for a Democrat for President for the first time in my life.

Posted by: D. Olshansky | September 25, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Letterman is all we need to figure it out. From CNN:

Letterman also took a dig at Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

"Here's what you do if you are running a campaign in the middle of an economic crisis and it’s about to crater," Letterman continued. "You go back to Washington, you handle what you need to handle. Don't suspend your campaign. You let your campaign go on shouldered by your vice presidential nominee…or is that really a good thing to do? See what I am saying?"

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama tied or pulling ahead in Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana makes the racist losers in Ohio willing to vote their prejudices instead of their actual interests wholly irrelevant.

Posted by: George W. McLiar | September 25, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

the great campaign swindle of ott-eight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbg6hF0nShQ

Country Club First.

Posted by: George W. McLiar | September 25, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Note, McCain fans of Rasmussen and Zogby.....Obama now leads in the same polls you are citing in North Carolina during the time span you are clinging to.......

http://www.zogby.com/50state/showstats.cfm?statename=North%20Carolina

Posted by: Poll Fans | September 25, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

And the very latest Ohio poll shows a tie.

Posted by: wpost4112 | September 25, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

the only poll that counts:

Rasmussen McCain 50 Obama 46

Ohio
-------------


No. The only poll that counts is on Nov 4.

Posted by: wpost4112 | September 25, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I had to leave Debate Camp in Florida to get summoned to the White House.

Posted by: facciatosta | September 25, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

the only poll that counts:

Rasmussen McCain 50 Obama 46

Ohio

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

You may recall the latest in the ongoing stream of baldfaced lies that passes for John McCain's presidential campaign.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/us/politics/w24davis.html?_r=3&pagewanted=2&hp&oref=slogin


This one was about his campaign manager, Rick Davis. McCain has been hammered for the large number of lobbyists running and surrounding his campaign, including Davis. But don't worry, said McCain:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/us/politics/w24davis.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&hp


"On Sunday, in an interview with CNBC and The New York Times, Mr. McCain responded to a question about Mr. Davis’s role in the advocacy group through 2005 by saying that his campaign manager "has had nothing to do with it since, and I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it."


So reporters did. And found that he wasn't telling the truth. Not even close:


"One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement."


Well, though, at least Davis isn't involved with his own firm anymore, right? Newsweek reports:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/160713?from=rss


"Jill Hazelbaker, the campaign's communications director, said in an e-mail Tuesday that Davis "left" Davis Manafort in 2006. In a statement attacking The New York Times, posted on the campaign's Web site on Wednesday, campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb said that Davis "separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006." (A senior campaign official, in an e-mail statement to NEWSWEEK that was not for attribution on Tuesday night, said "Rick is no longer affiliated with the firm.")


Oh, my... You can see where this is going, right? Yep, you guessed it. They're lying yet again. According to Newsweek:


"Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager, has remained the treasurer and a corporate director of his lobbying firm this year, despite repeated statements by campaign officials that he had ended his relationship with the firm in 2006, according to corporate records."

"[McCain campaign] statements appear to have overstated the extent to which Davis had severed his relationship with his lobbying firm. Filings made by "Davis Manafort Partners" with the Virginia Corporation Commission as recently as April 1, 2008, show that Davis was still listed as one of only two corporate officers and directors of the firm, according to records on the commission’s Web site reviewed by NEWSWEEK. That filing records Davis as the "treas/clerk" of the firm; his business partner, Paul Manafort is listed as the president and chief executive officer."

"Another filing by "Davis Manafort, Inc." (with the same Alexandria, Va. address, and recorded on Oct. 17, 2007) also lists Davis as an officer and director of the firm, reporting his position as "T/Clerk," a reference to his formal title as corporate treasurer and clerk."


So... "left"? "Separated?" "No longer affiliated?" That's a hell of a definition.


What's so hard about this, for the McCain campaign? Just stop lying. It's not doing you any good. Stop already!

Posted by: DrainYou | September 25, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

CNN just announced that very latest Gallup has Obama up by 3 since yesterday.

Posted by: wpost4112 | September 25, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This is the same anti-regulation crowd who got us into this mess.

Posted by: OHIO CITIZEN | September 25, 2008 2:17 PM

moonbat - are you referring to the Liberals who blocked the regulations that would have calmed this in 2003? Barney and Upchuck?

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

McCain has been all over the lot since the first sign of a possible financial meltdown last Monday. Obama has gained steadily in the polls as a result of McCain's befuddled appearances and the economy rising as an issue, getting us off the Culture War issues that the Palin selection interjected into the race.

Now we appear close to a deal between Congress and the Administration, with House Republicans threatening to play politics with the country's financial future. How will it play if the right-wing bomb-throwers who seem to dominate the House Republican Caucus are successful in undermining the deal? This is the same anti-regulation crowd who got us into this mess.

Posted by: OHIO CITIZEN | September 25, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Is there any way they can start giving IQ tests for Senators?

You people have a lot of explaining to do Sending Barney Fife to Congress year after year.


Unbeleievable that this guy is a US Congressman and you people keep voting for him. .

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We can all read deeply into what McCain's suspended campaign means or doesn't mean. But I've come to believe that most Americans don't dabble in nuance - they go with the first thing they hear, and that's good enough for them.

And what was the first thing they heard on this? "McCain Suspends Campaign." That can't bode well for McCain when the majority of Americans think that he quit.

Posted by: dognabbit | September 25, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

From Zogby:

"The survey, half conducted before McCain's announcement Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign to concentrate on the financial crisis and half conducted after the announcement, shows movement in McCain's favor after his announcement. Before the announcement - which included about half of the total polling sample - Obama led by one point. But McCain led by 5 points in polling completed after his statement about the suspension of his campaign. Overall, the interactive survey, conducted Sept. 23-25, 2008, included 4,752 likely voters nationwide and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points.

Pollster John Zogby: "The financial crisis appears to have trumped the campaign at least for now, but what remains true is that this race is really very close. Obama was clearly leading before - we had him up by three points over the weekend - but I never thought his lead was as high as nine points, as at least one poll had indicated. We are careful to weight our poll samples to reflect the proper proportion of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. And of course, we always sample likely voters, not registered voters, to most closely reflect what would happen in an election."

Interesting how something real can throw Obama so far off his game. Methinks the messiah is out of miracles. He may not want to quit his day job quite yet.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Character Plot:

Republicans: A foundering economy just before the election must be averted at ANY cost (700 billion . . . no problem if that’s what it takes) 700 billion will easily froth up the markets through the elections.

Democrats: 700 B fix a dilemma; oppose it and the Republicans can pin any future economic downturns on “Dem’s obstruction.” Support it and the economy is superficially propped for a short duration and aids mainly Republicans running in November and Wall Street.

McCain: Wants to stop Obama from pounding him with the economy issue by calling for a truce to “work together on the bailout issue.” This makes McCain appear to be in charge, and seeks to silence his opponent on an issue getting lots of traction.

Obama: Like the Democratic Party, Obama can’t risk appearing to ignore a pending crisis and is forced to follow along with McCain’s crafty political game. While he can’t allow the Republicans to make him appear to be an accessory to their plan, he also can’t appear to choose politicking over the nation’s interest. He’s in a tight spot.

Winning strategy for Democrats and Obama: Stall and take cover by delaying the bulk of the bailout money until after the elections. This way they can structure a bailout that appears to cooperate with the Bush administration but also take political cover and limit the harm to the deficit by giving the money away in pieces over a closely monitored period of time based on need. With most of the money coming after the elections, hope exists for a dramatically lower ultimate bailout amount. This way they support a 700 billion bailout if and when it’s needed and can assure the voters that the money will not be given in a lump-sum blank check. This will be insurance for Wall Street but will also keep the markets sober, i.e., no Wall St execs dancing in the streets! For Obama’s part, he needs to enter the lion’s den with McCain and Bush and seek to appear to work with them while excoriating them the whole time. He needs to leave no doubt that this economic crisis is a Republican failure and that his involvement in their solution is the painful reality of following eight years of Bush’s mismanagement.

Posted by: Jim Currence | September 25, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

History will record that John McCain's campaign suspension of say 36 hours were all that stood between economic ruin, and boundless prosperty.

----------------------

ROFLMAO.

Maybe in Mel Brook's History of the World.

Get a grip.

I used to respect conservatives for at least being in touch with reality, this new delusion is frightening. Republicans have gone cuckoo. Sad.

Posted by: wpost4112 | September 25, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

If it appears that McCain being in Washington working on the crisis is making a difference, then he will win, and Obama will blink.

If it appears that McCain being there makes no difference to the process, then he’ll have to blink and show up at the debate.

Note the key word “appears.” What appears depends a lot on how the media spins it, and that makes it likely McCain will lose on this.

According to the polls, more voters support Obama on the economic crisis than McCain, despite Obama being part of the group that blocked S-190 in 2005-6, sponsored by McCain among others, to increase regulation of Fannie and Freddie. And Obama being the second largest beneficiary, after Banking Chair Sen. Chris Dodd, of contributions from Fannie/Freddie employees and PACs. Perhaps they think that Obama advisor Franklin Delano Raines, who took almost $100,000,000 in compensation from Fannie Mae before resigning under a cloud, can give Obama the solution. Or perhaps they don’t know, or care.

Posted by: Bob Hall | September 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Zogby says two points ahead.

http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1562

you people who live and die by the polls need to get a life. It is all coming down to OH again. not good news for THE ONE. those bitter angry gun-toting religious nuts are going to send him packing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

History will record that John McCain's campaign suspension of say 36 hours were all that stood between economic ruin, and boundless prosperty.

(Sorry Chris: It's hard to read non-partisan patterns in erratic and juvenile behavior. It’s a shame really – like when Britney Spears hit bottom stumbling around the music awards show. Painful to watch.)

Posted by: NoOneImportant | September 25, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Zogby poll???

Still waiting.

Posted by: wpost4112 | September 25, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Andrew sullivan still has two readers?

that is great news for him.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Are these loans that they are talking about the kind that Obama gave to that Felon Friend of his Tony RezKo?.....

No, wait. That was just a grant, a gift. A gift for a convict. Obama funneling money, when he thought no one was looking.

Here, i'll funnel you money. You buy my mansion in Hyde Parke, we can meet over at Billy Boy Ayers house for BBQ.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

The debate over the debate is another red herring to distract the American people from the important issues at hand. Sens. Obama and McCain should not go back to Capitol Hill to try to influence the process.

Neither one has the economic bona fides to offer anything of import to the debate on the Wall Street bailout.

The should be there for the Senate votes perhaps, but their two cents are worth about as much as a share of Lehman Bros. stock.

This is one time where sticking to the script would benefit all Americans.

Posted by: Jim in Seattle | September 25, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

McCain blink. I think he will, I hope he doesn't.

Posted by: NoOneImportant | September 25, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

looks like mccain looks like the president. americans liked his response.

McCain now +6 in the Zogby Poll after McCain's handling of the Financial crisis.

-------------

where's the poll?

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

McCain Lies about Campaign Suspension.

I'm Shocked....NOT!


Andrew Sullivan has reports from two different readers in two different media markets that McCain ads are up and running as relentlessly as ever.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/09/what-suspension.html
.


David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo reports on McCain surrogate Nancy Pfotenhauer appearing on Fox to attack Obama:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/219623.php
.


And then Pfotenhauer scoots on over to the Washington Times for a friendly little chat about the campaign.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/25/live-chat-mccain-adviser-nancy-mitchell-pfotenhaue/
.


Guess we'll be seeing McCain at the debates tomorrow since he's decided to keep his campaign going. Right?

Posted by: McCain is a LIAR! | September 25, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain will surely blink first, especially after the Letterman incident.

Posted by: Parmenides | September 25, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I initially had no intention of even showing up, so quit with the PRESENT cracks. I wouldn't have had to vote at all. you think I want my views open to the public?

now I may have to actually vote one way or the other because McCain shamed me into this trip, just like my visit to Iraq. I wonder if i can go shopping instead of voting. It worked in Germany. who wants to hang sround with all those wounded soldiers anyway.

Posted by: snObama | September 25, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

looks like mccain looks like the president. americans liked his response.

McCain now +6 in the Zogby Poll after McCain's handling of the Financial crisis.

Obama is still checking with the focus groups.....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

When I got back from fixing his parking tickets, I found a sock on the doorknob. Everyone knows this means "Don't come in". I respect his privacy.

Posted by: barney fig | September 25, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, the country isn't so crazy with the idea of Obama consulting Goofy in Disneyland on the bailout.

Gallup all tied up at 46%. It means McCain won last night.

It also proves that the WaPo was pure lies and propaganda, with the most obscene 18% skew on political affiliation. I guess when they have Barney Frank's boyfriend at FANNIE MAE doing the polling for ABC, you get what you paid for.

---------------

LOL. More idiocy.

Gallup is tied. Rasmussen has Obama up by 3. Both same dates. Neither includes today's polling which would be more reflective of McCain's debate debacle.

Nice try though.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Think Obama is going to be asking if he can vote "Present" on the bailout bill?

Wow. What a courageous bold leader this guy is.

Posted by: Dano | September 25, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

that is not my boyfriend. In fact, I hardly know the guy. He just runs that gay massage parlor out of my townhouse. but I have not been able to confirm that.

Posted by: barney fig | September 25, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Bless you Karen. You are right on.

The WaPo "poll" was nothing more than an advertising commercial for their candidate.

Barney's boyfriend coming out on the inside of Fannie Mae.

Barney and Todd should be the ones on trial for their blocking of Regulation, acceptance of $, pushing loans where there shouldn't have been one.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, the country isn't so crazy with the idea of Obama consulting Goofy in Disneyland on the bailout.

Gallup all tied up at 46%. It means McCain won last night.

It also proves that the WaPo was pure lies and propaganda, with the most obscene 18% skew on political affiliation. I guess when they have Barney Frank's boyfriend at FANNIE MAE doing the polling for ABC, you get what you paid for.

Posted by: Karen | September 25, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse


M is for McCain
M is for McChicken

M is for McDesperate
M is for McDesperateChicken


Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:19 PM

An example of the stunning intellect of the left. Unsigned, of course.

If you like this sort of thing, head over to Kos or watch Krazy Keith.

Posted by: loony libs | September 25, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

M is for McCain
M is for McChicken

M is for McDesperate
M is for McDesperateChicken

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the debate does not go off tomorrow night, if this can become an issue in the Mississippi senate race given Ole Miss huge outlay in terms of finance/logistics/emotion

Posted by: scuMba | September 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"I do know that Michelle Shaniqua Obama does lack good breeding. That's not racist term but an old money term to describe someone's background. She does not have the aristocratic credentials to back up the claim that she will be the next Jackie Kennedy. She comes across as vulgar and poorly educated. Please don't embarrass yourself by enumerating her affirmative action education in a response."

---------------------

So...Tell me again why her background has anything to do with whether she can fit the "aristocratic" mold of Jackie Kennedy. Just because someone was not born into a wealthy family makes no difference whether that person has "good breeding" or not. I can think of several examples. Neither of the Obamas are the Kennedys, and it is unfair to compare them to the myth and legend. I have heard her speak in person, and she never came across as vulgar or poorly educated in any way. The entire comment made is completely racist, despite the meaning of the phraseological unit, and I can't believe that this obviously uncouth person has criticized a supposed lack of breeding!

Posted by: Confused by Elitism | September 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Most of you are aware that the various financial services industries stand to gain the most from the "bailout" being proposed by Bush-McCain-Obama-et al. This, of course, is the same industry that has killed the final provision that would aided actual consumers - allowing bankruptcy judges to order mortgage's renegotiated. As a public service, and I hope this blows your mind, here are *recent* contributions from just this sctor to your representatives. Note. The amounts seem outrageously large... and they are@! But the stakes, the amount of money that will flow to the crooks in that industry is also pretty outrageous:
Dodd, Chris $13,163,356
Shelby, Richard C. $4,240,502
Johnson, Tim $2,782,143
Hagel, Chuck $1,610,616
Schumer, Charles $12,793,446
Crapo, Mike $1,278,842
Bayh, Evan $3,971,396
Martinez, Mel $2,896,435
Reed, Jack $2,686,232
Allard, Wayne $1,447,500
Carper, Tom $2,097,718
Bunning, Jim $2,417,585
Menendez, Robert $3,820,822
Akaka, Daniel $549,095
Brown, Sherrod $1,432,581
Bennett, Robert F. $1,864,292
Enzi, Mike $943,894
Dole, Elizabeth $3,285,529
Corker, Bob $2,422,829
Frank, Barney $2,430,361
Bacchus, Spencer $3,579,199
Kanjorksi, Paul $2,718,472
Pryce, Deborah $2,805,109
Maloney, Carolyn $2,390,461
Biggert, Judy $1,300,677
Waters, Maxine $359,445
Capito, Shelley Moore $1,442,572
Gutierrez, Luis V. $661,907
Paul, Ron $1,659,559
Watt, Melvin $780,278
Miller, Gary G. $690,788
Velazquez, Nydia M. $1,165,525
Ackerman, Gary L. $1,504,140
Sherman, Brad $1,462,636
Meeks, Gregory W. $1,015,432
Moore, Dennis $1,934,779
Capuano, Michael E. $813,176
Hinojosa, Ruben $735,536
Clay, William Lacy $290,100
McCarthy, Carolyn $908,045
Baca, Joe D $460,832
Lynch, Stephen F. $765,494
Miller, Brad $770,481
Scott, David $911,504
Green, Al $183,265
Cleaver, Emanuel $313,549
Bean, Melissa L. $1,573,756
Moore, Gwen $254,879
Davis, Lincoln $482,275
Hodes, Paul W. $259,522
Ellison, Keith $90,365
Klein, Ron $789,238
Mahoney, Tim $495,415
Wilson, Charles $146,819
Perlmutter, Ed $341,185
Murphy, Christopher S. $493,332
Donnelly, Joe $219,956
Foster, Bill $161,936
Carson, Andre $137,400
Speier, Jackie $183,099
Cazayoux, Don $112,300
Childers, Travis $68,050
Castle, Mike $2,328,012
King, Peter $1,271,665
Royce, Edward R. $2,353,853
Lucas, Frank D. $859,878
LaTourette, Steven C. $1,196,373
Manzullo, Donald A. $1,304,319
Jones, Walter B. $961,533
Shays, Christopher $2,876,206
Feeney, Tom $1,260,480
Hensarling, Jeb $1,950,421
Garrett, Scott $996,899
Brown-Waite, Ginny $649,129
Barrett, J. Gresham $691,667
Gerlach, Jim $1,453,549
Pearce, Steve $685,047
Neugebauer, Randy $1,151,274
Price, Tom $796,743
Davis, Geoff $1,547,657
McHenry, Patrick T. $786,000
Campbell, John $745,635
Putnam, Adam $730,298
Bachmann, Michele $363,705
Roskam, Peter J. $431,766
Marchant, Kenny $449,813
McCotter, Thaddeus $576,404
McCarthy, Kevin $173,112
Heller, Dean $190,252

Posted by: mibrooks27 | September 25, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

From:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccain-and-bushs-kabuki-theatre-mccain.html

Thursday, September 25, 2008
McCain and Bush's Kabuki Theatre: McCain Contacts Bush To Set Up Meeting To Prop Up His "Suspension"

Now we know why McCain hired the Bush contingent.

It emerged in the White House briefing today that McCain called Bush and asked him to initiate a meeting today at 4 pm at the White House, putatively for him to "deal with" the crisis.

That is, McCain asked Bush to help him create an avoidant trifecta: To try ti\o lend some credence to McCain's desperate assertion that a suspension of his campaign is necessary, in effect avoiding a debate in which he would face critical questions about his stance on the economy; attempting to co opt the financial crisis thereby trying to put an end to his plummeting in the polls created by his flailing positions on the economy--perhaps best reflected by his statement days ago that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong"; and, while avoiding his own debate, also buying more time for Sarah Palin after her embarrassing photo op at the UN yesterday, by moving her debate forward as well.

Here's how it happened, according to Q and A at the WHB:

McCain emailed Bush asking for the 4 P.M. meeting. Now, one reasonably might ask, why is today at 4 p.m. such a necessity for McCain, if his interest is solely the national good?

Because it is before the debate. McCain hopes to stage a meeting at the White House, thereby, with Bush's cooperation, lending plausibility to his claim to need to suspend his campaign. Then, if Republicans, in their own electoral interest, can be persuaded to come to agreement after the meeting, and before the debate, he would claim--in an act of utter stage management--to have "resolved" the crisis. Thereby hoping to take the heat off on his past careening stances and sliding polls and staunch the bleeding on the polls--before the debate.

This is Kabuki Theatre masquerading as substance--no different than what we saw at the U.N. yesterday.

It is utterly stage managed, utterly cynical, and utterly unrelated to the substantive deliberation necessary to actually resolve these matters on the merits and for our nation's future, rather than for short-term and desperate political advantage.

These occurrences are equally important for what they indicate about McCain's governing style as they are for their impact upon democratic process: impulsive acts that rely on drama and theatrical posture rather than substantive reasoning and long-term deliberation; a strong willingness to sacrifice substantive reasoning, deliberative process, and even prior structures and agreements to immediate political need; an attempt to reach outcomes through last minute stage management rather than substantive argument.

These should create deep concern for anyone who wishes for a change in governmental process from the past eight years.

We have an economy, rather than a campaign, to rescue. Putting nation before politics means putting all attempts to resolve it before political attempts to co opt it--and to move towards one's commitments, rather than towards a more immediate and short-term salvation.

Cite:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccain-and-bushs-kabuki-theatre-mccain.html

Posted by: Emily | September 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I predict the debate will inevitably get cancelled. I bet both candidates will not have had the chance to prepare as much as they'd like amid the chaos. But I think Obama will try to frame it as McCain having been responsible for the cancellation. Of course, McCain has said if a deal is signed in time that he will go forward with the debate, and if that happens he risks a flip flop if he still wants to cancel. But I can't imagine it going down to the wire, with Obama waiting at the podium looking at his watch. We'll know pretty soon whether this debate will take place.

Posted by: Mike | September 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

more Alaskan transparency....

"Sarah Palin requested and received an extension of the deadline for revealing her personal finances, until the day after her only debate with Democrat Joe Biden."

thanks but no thanks, Sara.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Exonerated Marine to sue Rep. Murtha
Thursday, September 25, 2008
By Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
One of the Marines cleared in the killings of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha plans to sue his congressman today for statements he says defamed him and other members of his squad.

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, 24, of Canonsburg, will file a civil lawsuit against U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, who was widely quoted two years ago saying that eight Marines carried out a cold-blooded killing of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town on Nov. 19, 2005.

Charges were later dropped against all but one of the Marines, with a military prosecutor calling allegations against Mr. Sharratt "incredible."

Noah Geary, a Washington County lawyer representing Mr. Sharratt, said his client will file suit today in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh accusing Mr. Murtha of violating his constitutional rights as well as slander for statements about the Haditha incident. A 1:30 p.m. news conference has been planned to announce the suit.

"He just held innumerable press conferences, just repeatedly kept saying this was cold-blooded murder," Mr. Geary said of the congressman.

While Mr. Sharratt killed three insurgents, Mr. Geary said, he followed the rules of engagement for combat.

Posted by: just another crooked Liberal | September 25, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain will blink first but he will not admit to blinking or changing his mind so much as he will declare victory. reports out of Washington are that a deal is imminent, so he will just let that happen and then say he is free to head to the debate.

If, however, the deal doesn't get done, I still predict that McCain will "blink." He simply cannot afford to give Obama 90 minutes of free time on all the major networks along with Fox (!), C-Span, MSBNC, etc. In the end this debate will happen. McCain will, at worst, have to justify it by saying something along the lines of "It was clear that Sen. Obama put politics ahead of country and his dangerous views cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. Since he was unwilling to follow my lead and suspend politics for the sake of putting country first, I regret that I have no choice but to debate Sen. Obama on his dangerous and failed liberal policies."

He will still come across as weak, but it will give him the fig leaf's worth of cover that he needs to be in Mississippi.

Posted by: Gavin | September 25, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Weren't You Guys Part of the Problem? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]


From John Boehner on Chairmen Frank and Dodd announcing a “deal” on the rescue package, “As I told our Conference this morning, there is no bipartisan deal at this time. There may be a deal among some Democrats, but House Republicans are not a part of it.”

There's something very disconcerting about Frank and Dodd at the front, still — and apparently speaking for the Democratic party — on this.

And Barack Obama doesn't sense he's needed there to intervene with that even? Bill Clinton might advise otherwise ... if he wanted Barack to win.

Posted by: kat | September 25, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"McCain is heading back to Washington DC to do his job and put his countries interests above his political quest to become president"

LOL. Seriously -- are you really this stupid? Can anyone be this stupid?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what is this about McCain's makeup costing $5500?
Sounds like they got a bad deal.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that both McCain and Obama were elected to do a job as Senators to the US Congress, but only one knows what his job is. McCain in a government crisis is POSTPHONING (note: not cencelling) the presidential debate in order to do his primary job, Obama is not. McCain is heading back to Washington DC to do his job and put his countries interests above his political quest to become president, while Obama tells one and all "to call him if he's needed" ( as Obama has told his in-the-tank fawning MSM supporters). Even the House of Representative leader Democrat Harry Reid has advised both McCain and Obama to return to Washington DC to work out this major crisis problem, and only McCain has responded. Barack Obama has not. The USA and the American people do not need a president who tells everybody to "call me if I'm needed" whenever there is a problem, they need a doer with hands-on leadership that gets out in front and leads.

Posted by: madhatter | September 25, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't see exactly what the problem is- John McCain made a bold bet that congressional Democrats and Republicans would hammer out a compromise by Friday, which Obama and he would put their support behind in a meeting with President Bush on Thursday.

Which is pretty much what's happening- and when that's done, McCain can say that he put country first before himself and his campaign, helped to accomplish a compromise, and now is ready to debate.

How is this about Obama, exactly? McCain out-politicked him. I think McCain wins this round.

Posted by: Jim B. | September 25, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

anne c = zouk. still on here spreading lies every single day

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

When a country enters crisis mode, what does a leader do? Bernanke, Paulson, Cox--they quietly and quickly came up with a plan. Criticize as much as you want, then ask whether yourself who else has done that much? What about Obama? Not doing much, but keeping his mouth shut.
What about McCain? Running around like a chicken with its head cut off, creating distractions, trying to grandstand, take advantage of it for political purposes. Ugh!

Posted by: Time after time | September 25, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

My original plan was to postpone the election until my poll numbers went up and Sarah finished a three-year apprentice under Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Lieberman. Cooler heads prevailed, and we came up with this better idea.

And chickens don't have eyelids, so how can I blink?

Posted by: McSame | September 25, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

So this article explains it all, McCain can continue to lie and his constituents dont care that it is a lie because its the media. Typical GOP supporters, couldnt handle the truth if it slapped them in the face:

"About a week after John McCain's campaign unveiled a vice-presidential nominee who incessantly boasted about her decision to turn down federal funding for a notoriously pointless bridge ('I told Congress "thanks, but no thanks" on that Bridge to Nowhere'), the press corps began to notice that Sarah Palin had, in fact, vigorously championed the project until it was no longer tenable. Political fibs, even brazen ones such as this, are hardly unprecedented. What happened next, though, was somewhat unusual. Despite having its claim exposed in nearly every media outlet, the McCain campaign continued to assert it anyway, day after day, dozens of times in all. It was as if Bill Clinton had persisted in his claim that he did not have sexual relations with that woman even after the appearance of the semen-stained dress.

"But what happened after that was even more unusual, and possibly without precedent: McCain's supporters simply suggested that the truth or falsity of their statements didn't matter. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said this to Politico about the increased media scrutiny of the campaign's factual claims: 'We're running a campaign to win. And we're not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.' Republican strategist John Feehery made the point even more bluntly, telling The Washington Post: 'The more The New York Times and The Washington Post go after Sarah Palin, the better off she is, because there's a bigger truth out there, and the bigger truths are: She's new, she's popular in Alaska, and she is an insurgent.' Then, he added, 'As long as those are out there, these little facts don't really matter.'
"Here we have the distilled essence of the McCain campaign's ethos: Perception is reality. Facts don't matter."

Posted by: American First | September 25, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm even surer now that McCain will not blink unless a bill is passed or about to. First, now all eyes are back on him, doesn't matter how, but like the convention and selecting Palin, the debate and news is about him. Second, he doesn't have to actually 'be there' - he just have to have people think he is a non-stop player in the negotiations. Note the pictures and stories of McCain all over the news or doing photo ops, but he's still on the news as working on the recovery plan. Bush forced Obama's response (blink) by asking him to come back, which also provided a photo op of McCain looking bipartisian. And all my reasons below are still valid. Especially on keeping isolated from the media - remember that they probably view the media, with exception, as left wingers who want nothing more thant to bring them down. And some of the reporters feed that stereotype. Second, there's obviously some concern about Palin, or direct hatred by her toward the press. So to appear at a forced debate, with a media moderator, probably isn't seen as high a priority within the campaign. I'll bet the emphasis goes to photo ops, soft interviews or friendly audiences. The spotlight was drifting away and McCain grabbed it back and put all other questions way into the back seat. Plus, everybody personally feels essential - why wouldn't McCain be easily able to convince himself he is vital and this is the honorable thing to do?

Posted by: Hampton Roads | September 25, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Yep. Bill and Hillary (esp Bill) are being very passive aggressive in their "support" of Obama....a lot of damning with faint praise. Bill's support of McCain's move to avoid the debate is telling. It also ends any chance Hillary has at ever winning the White House. They are betraying Barack with a thousand tiny cuts and his supporters will remember.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH MCCAINS LEFT EYE?
I have mentioned several times over the last few weeks about a strange facial tic Mccain has developed.
Now in one of todays columns I found this.


Joe and Rob both mentioned this to me in the past week, and now several readers have brought it up. I also just noticed that Atrios picked up on this too today. Something wrong, changed, droopy or puffy with McCain's left eye. Anybody else notice anything? I just searched Google a bit more and found references to his eye being droopy in April and May of this year as well. But whatever it is, it seems to be intermittent. (McCain has had 4 bouts of melanoma, and did in 2002 have a benign growth removed from under his left eye.)

I decided to take a look at McCain's Herbert Hoover Speech, as Rob calls the economic speech McCain gave last Friday in Wisconsin, and tried to see what it was that Rob was noticing wrong with McCain's left eye. It was only a 15 second video, so I pulled it up in my iMovie movie editor and checked out each frame (see a selection of still shots above). What you see is apparently McCain's left eye more closed than this right, and/or when he blinks, his left eye is lazier, or blinks slightly out of phase with his right. Either way, it does look like something's up. Perhaps McCain has always had a bad left eye, though it's odd that so many people just noticed this week.

Actually, there's one more thing. A reader wrote me about a week ago, commenting on how suddenly McCain's make up had changed. As though the campaign was suddenly trying to hide something. I read the email, kind of shrugged, and went on my way. Well, today that reader wrote back and noted the story that came out earlier today about McCain's apparently new $5000 make-up artist. Isn't that interesting - suddenly when everyone is noticing something wrong, something changed, with McCain's face, he hires a $5000 make-up artist, and she now seems to be attached at his hip.
One cause may be "Bell's palsy"
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/bells/bells.htm

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes my man McCain is coming to the rescue. He will assure that we get our golden parachutes that we are entitled to... Gotta love the GOP always looking to help us in big business.....

Posted by: Bank Exec | September 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Mccain taking major nose dive on intrade. His stock is crashing.
intrade by the way predicts every election correctly.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Internet buzzes with rumours Biden will be replaced by Hillary as Obama's running mate, read more:

http://mccain08-hillary2012.blogspot.com/
--------------------

This is complete nonsense.
It will never happen. Biden is there to stay and Obama will win without Hillary or Bill's help.

Utter crapola.

Next?

Posted by: McRumi

***************************

McRumi: I agree with you about this bizarre rumor of Biden being replaced by Hillary. I have seen it before. A more accurate statement might be Obama will win despite the Clintons.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Threatening lawsuits, Clinton's Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn't a joke -- it's a fact.

When Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches, political correctness was given a veto over sound business practices.

In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration's affirmative action lending policies as one of the "hidden success stories" of the Clinton administration, saying that "black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded."

Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn't get out of their loans by selling their houses.

A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it's gone off.

In Bush's first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government's "implicit subsidy" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system.

Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no "concern about housing." How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can't repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "under heavy assault by the Republicans," but these entities still had "important political allies" in the Democrats.

Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats' two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.

Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry.

Posted by: anne c | September 25, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Obama doesn't have to blink. All he needs to do is stay the course. He called McCain at 8:30 AM yesterday, suggesting a joint statement. McCain waited six hours to call back and agreed, but then abruptly took unilateral action to go to Washington, requested a debate postponement, and had a surrogate (Sen. Lindsey Graham) request the Vice Presidential debate be effectively canceled by rescheduling the first Presidential debate on October 2. Obama then holds a press conference to explain what happened, takes questions, and offers to help out in Washington if asked. Bush asked for Obama's presence. Obama is going to meet with them. Obama is acting in an honorable and straightforward manner and McCain is behaving in a bizarre and unhelpful manner. By the way, the University of Mississippi will be out $5 million if the debate does not take place, and the voters need to hear both candidates now. The McCain campaign is a becoming a farce and he appears tempermentally unfit for the Presidency.

Posted by: maxfli | September 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Trying to stay on topic:

McKeating5 will blink first. And he'll do that creepy grimace that he does when he knows he's been had!

Posted by: Roofelstoon | September 25, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I like the "most thoughtful (read: not rankly partisan) comments." I felt the need to comment on that. Now to the question at hand:

Ultimately, I think that both will end up with the "bipartisan solution" that they preach. Obama will go to Washington to help with the solution because at this point, he can't turn down the "call to leadership" and then both candidates will find their way to debate (whether it's via satellite from a White House press room with questions coming from the audience in Oxford or not remains to be seen). So I guess that means that instead of one blinking with both eyes, we get both of them winking?

I think that the most interesting thing might be what would happen if neither of them blink. That would mean that John McCain doesn't show up to the debate and we have Barack Obama sitting there alone to answer questions. I think the networks might have to cancel the debate in order to provide equal time for both candidates. Wouldn't it be fun?

For the record, I would like to say that I think McCain really does mean well in his desire to go back to Washington to help. If he had his way, he could win an election just through governing the way he wants to and never having to campaign. Unfortunately, in reality, McCain and Obama's presence would overpoliticize the process and make it impossible for either of them to provide meaningful support without a search for alternative motives. Who would have thought of these two candidates we'd be discussing McCain as a little bit too idealistic?

Posted by: Andy | September 25, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

...that is the government you can expect under Lib leadership. all talk, no action. and Barrack exemplifies that.

------------------

LOL...
unlike Bush and McCain who are all action and no brains. The feckless cheerleader and the reckless pilot.

What a pair.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Letterman is all we need to figure it out. From CNN:

Letterman also took a dig at Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

"Here's what you do if you are running a campaign in the middle of an economic crisis and it’s about to crater," Letterman continued. "You go back to Washington, you handle what you need to handle. Don't suspend your campaign. You let your campaign go on shouldered by your vice presidential nominee…or is that really a good thing to do? See what I am saying?"

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

what ever happened to the urgency of now. In the two years that the Liubs have ruled congress they have made no movement on:
Energy
social Security
War
Tax cuts
finance
even passing approps budgets.

Instead, they blocked the Rs attempts to fix this mess. that is the government you can expect under Lib leadership. all talk, no action. and Barrack exemplifies that.

Posted by: kingofzouk | September 25, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin writes
"If McC joined in the announcement of a bailout on Fri. night while BHO appeared alone in Oxford, Indies would applaud McC.
BHO would probably lose the election."

--------------------

Why? I'm an Indie and I think that everything McCain has done is a stunt. So do most Indies I know.

What's your logic?

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

What will John McCain do when a bailout compromise is reached without his help before Friday, and all the networks show Barack Obama standing on stage all by himself, looking at his watch and tapping his feet? All partisanship aside, McCain seems to be making a bid for Narcissist-in-Chief, expecting the country to roll over for him while he rides to Wall Street's rescue. Conceding his career of service, he has absolutely zero credibility on economic matters. He has sacrificed his campaign at the altar of the photo-op.

Obama should not blink. There is no shame in running out every ground ball in a bid for the presidency, and he is justified in pointing out what every adult knows - a president is guaranteed to have two, three, or more crises on his plate at any given time. There are no timeouts, no snooze button when the 3 AM alarm goes off.

McCain has already admitted how befuddled he is on economic matters - begging off a debate on subject matter he claims mastery over is going to compound his problems. He has no choice now but to blink, and his poll numbers are starting to reflect that. The rout is on, and McCain blinking is not the difference now between victory and defeat, but the difference between honorable defeat and an embarrassing can of whoop-ass being opened.

Posted by: bondjedi | September 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

House To Launch Investigation Into Rep. Rangel The House of Representatives will conduct an inquiry into Rep. Charles Rangel, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee

Posted by: culture opf corruption and ineptitude - aka - Pelosi congress | September 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin writes
"If McC joined in the announcement of a bailout on Fri. night while BHO appeared alone in Oxford, Indies would applaud McC.
BHO would probably lose the election."

Since the D's control both chambers of Congress, the likelihood that they would allow McC to upstage BHO, whatever he chooses to do, is negligible. Even if they reach a compromise on Friday night, they won't schedule the vote until Saturday.

I would love to see what happens if BHO offers to trade the VP debate with Friday's debate. Nothing like a little political one-upsmanship. McC would then have to blink because after her interview with Couric last night, it's clear the Palin isn't ready for a debate.

Posted by: mnteng | September 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Democrats always seem to blink when Republicans pull their, er, "stunts." If Obama stands tall and wins this staring contest, I will be highly impressed and I will know that he is different from all of the Democratic candidates who ran (and blinked) before him.

Posted by: dognabbit | September 25, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

If John McCain thinks I should go to Iraq, I will. If John Mc Cain thinks I should return to Washington I will. I just hope he is around when the Red phone rings.

Posted by: snObama | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I do know that Michelle Shaniqua Obama does lack good breeding. That's not racist term but an old money term to describe someone's background. She does not have the aristocratic credentials to back up the claim that she will be the next Jackie Kennedy.

_______

And Sarah Palin does? Gosh!
And just ´cause she´s got money, Cindy McCain is a good bred? double Gosh!
Are those really arguments?

Posted by: A woman with pedigree | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama - a silver tongue and no teeth

-----------------------

Oh, how clever!

We'll give you 5 gold stars!

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

McCain needs to go to the debate, but show up 1/2 hour late, then berate the empty suit for his lack of leadership calling him a silver tongued politician that has never gone against his party. Then challenge him to 2 town hall debates every week for the remainder of the campaign.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I ask you if your country needs a guy that when the goin´gets tough makes strange moves that no-one expected, that no one can label as bold, stupid or just strange and then Republicans try re-define as "Maverick"?

Posted by: Mexican Observer | September 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. We learned this week that Fannie has been paying McCain's campaign manager $180,000 per year since 2005. Fannie just stopped paying the guy, and shortly thereafter McCain announces his campaign is suspended. So it turns out that the special interests really were bankrolling McCain's campaign. When they stopped paying, McCain stopped campaigning.

If that isn't alarming, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Is this really about McCain and the Presidential debate, or an elaborate scheme to get Palin off the hook for her debate? I don't mean this in a partisan way, but her snideness and deer (moose) in the headlights manner may not play very well in the current crisis.

Posted by: Bill | September 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I do know that Michelle Shaniqua Obama does lack good breeding. That's not racist term but an old money term to describe someone's background. She does not have the aristocratic credentials to back up the claim that she will be the next Jackie Kennedy. She comes across as vulgar and poorly educated. Please don't embarrass yourself by enumerating her affirmative action education in a response.

---------------

Lol. No response is necessary. You have perfectly revealed your own level of class.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Letterman is all we need to figure it out. From CNN:

Letterman also took a dig at Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

"Here's what you do if you are running a campaign in the middle of an economic crisis and it’s about to crater," Letterman continued. "You go back to Washington, you handle what you need to handle. Don't suspend your campaign. You let your campaign go on shouldered by your vice presidential nominee…or is that really a good thing to do? See what I am saying?"

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I do know that Michelle Shaniqua Obama does lack good breeding. That's not racist term but an old money term to describe someone's background. She does not have the aristocratic credentials to back up the claim that she will be the next Jackie Kennedy. She comes across as vulgar and poorly educated. Please don't embarrass yourself by enumerating her affirmative action education in a response.

Posted by: Dianne72 | September 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mac will blink and here's why. There's no good reason to skip the debate, and that will be obvious. The Senate leadership will make clear that they don't need McCain's help, or Obama's, even though there won't be a bill fully in place. It will be close to complete, enough at least to allow McCain to claim he moved things along and allow him to save face and claim he managed the final product. The problem is that the Administration is well ahead of Congress and the public on this. While Bush once again claims the sky is falling, the public isn't quite so sure. Many Republicans see this bail-out as anathema to their core beliefs in free-market principles and hostility to "big-government." So, they are in a go-slow mode at the moment. Democrats want to make sure they are seen as doing "something" and don't mind the enlargement of government, but want to tie it to banking reforms, but are also uncomfortable with the price tag and the perception that they are once again rolling over for the Administration's priorities. The bigger problem is that the public doesn't yet see a clear and present danger that requires an insta-check of nearly $1Billion. Most people understand there's a problem, but few people fully understand the true implications and there is a lack of trust in the doomsday scenario painted (once again) by the Administration. So, while many see a problem that needs "fixin" most middle-income taxpayers don't see the urgency or the specific harm to them. All this means that there will be pressures not to be too hasty. So, there won't be a bill in place Friday, and probably nothing more than a stop-gap measure before mid-next week. Nonetheless, McCain will have to cave because he won't want to be seen as dodging the debate on such flimsy grounds. He also doesn't quite know what position to take on this mess since he's a die-hard deregulator, but knows that there is a serious problem that the public wants dealt with. He's in a jam, having to explain why regulations are bad, but why we are now scrambling to fix a mess caused by deregulation. This is part of his uneasiness in debating right now, but he can't hide from it for too long. He'll end up declaring victory with a package close to completion. The details however, won't materialize for a while. It will only be later when the deregulation principle actually clashes with reality. That's the elephant in the room that will have to be shoveled after.

Posted by: mark wilson | September 25, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Internet buzzes with rumours Biden will be replaced by Hillary as Obama's running mate, read more:

http://mccain08-hillary2012.blogspot.com/
--------------------

This is complete nonsense.
It will never happen. Biden is there to stay and Obama will win without Hillary or Bill's help.

Utter crapola.

Next?

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama - a silver tongue and no teeth

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

With John McCain taking the high road and committing to work on behalf of the American people rather than wasting time in a silly debate with an out-of-miracles Messiah, there is a real probability that the Anointed One will have the stage all to himself at the University of Mississippi on Friday.

One can just see the scene: An auditorium full of cheering students, the full contingent of network goons and media types on hand, and an anxious nation of 100 million people tuned in for the big event.

In the extreme left corner of the ring, we have a 120-pound wuss, former community organizer, Jesus impersonator, and Marxist from Chicago.

After all, when you think about it, who needs John McCain to stage a bitter debate anyway?

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been at each others throats all week, especially on issues involving the monster bailout and the two of them could debate the wisdom of the AIG rescue.

Earlier in the week, Obama essentially said that Biden should keep his mouth shut on topics with which he is not knowledgeable, which means that Biden should simply shut up. Period!

Then there was the Biden misspeak in which he called the Obama campaign mocking of John McCain a “terrible” thing.

Let the two lefties fight that one out on live television come Friday.

Of course, if worse comes to worse, Obama can always debate himself.

You know, he could present both sides of his flip flop arguments on abortion, troop withdrawal from Iraq, and a host of other issues in which the Anointed One has made illogical arguments on both sides.

Who needs John McCain when you have a two-faced like hypocrite like Obama around?

Posted by: big idea | September 25, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Internet buzzes with rumours Biden will be replaced by Hillary as Obama's running mate, read more:

http://mccain08-hillary2012.blogspot.com/

Posted by: DCfred | September 25, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Dems to begin running ads on McCain's health... can you say BACKFIRE

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

You have to be a psychopath to be a real leftist since psychopaths have totally taken over the leftoid base. Just look at the junk of violence and hatred and threats that fills their websites continuously. 0bama and Hillary rely upon these people not only for money but for philosophical support and to help them spread their message. Why isn't it a shock when any of them are really revealed and we find out how abnormal they are and their many deviant ways? We expect it and aren't, for want of a word, disappointed.


Zell Miller said it right when he spoke of the bad people who had got into the basement of his party and won't leave.

Posted by: psycho | September 25, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

For some one who is "undecided," you need to educate yourself a bit better.

There is no need to be in DC to vote. Yet. It depends on the count. Anything else is just drama. He did the right thing and resisted the temptation to inject politics into the economic crisis....something McCain could not do.

Barack voted "present" 140 times out of 4000+ votes. Hardly significant.
McCain missed 65% votes in the Senate.
A little more significant.

As for "his complete lack of any record for sponsoring or truly fighting for any legislation in the IL or US Senate"...this completely false Republican smear has been refuted many times....

http://mediamatters.org/items/200612200003

You sound not undecided at all...just another Repub trying to spread more lies about Obama....or someone who is determinedly ignorant of the facts.

You need to educate yourself either way.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 11:28 AM

----------------

Generally, for a vote on legislation, it is a matter between the member of Congress and his/her constituents about how often that member is present for a particular vote. Considering the gravity of the legislation involved and the probability that one of these two senators will become the next President of the U.S., it is irresponsible to not be in Washington and disengaged with the process. But we can give Multitasker a pass as he is busy in Clearwater, Florida cramming for his exam this Friday.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Why does Gov. Palin have a requirement to submit herself to the biased press questions? This is an unhappy press whining. Let's listen carefully to the press questions during the debate. That will tell us alot about their prejudices. I love it when Palin ignores the press!!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Whether it is an airplane, a marriage, or a campaign, we've learned one thing about McCain: When the going get's tough, McCain bails out.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

If John McCain really feels that it is necessary for him to be in Washington so that the congressional leaders can feel his guiding presence, why doesn't he send his ready-to-lead, second-in-command, vice-presidential choice, Sarah Palin to Mississippi? Shouldn't she be ready to serve on a moments notice? After all, we are told that her experience is a match to Obama's, perhaps better. She can speak for the campaign on behalf of McCain, telling us everything she knows about all the important foreign policy and economic challenges that face us as a nation. I'm sure the American people would appreciate the clear choice that Senator Obama and Governor Palin could offer at this important moment in this historic election.

Meanwhile, John McCain can lock himself in his office and think very hard about the great issues of the day. His senate staff can get back to work, shuttling memos back-and-forth between himself and the congressional negotiators, while his campaign staff can go on what must be a much-needed holiday. After all, what purpose would these offices have to stay open and be active if the campaign is officially suspended? Perhaps Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt are planning a retreat for everyone -- you know, a little marshmallows-around-the-campfire sort of thing where they sing songs and reflect on how post-partisan their beloved maverick actually is. Understandable, of course, campaign fatigue is getting to all of us.

It also gives those of us who need to decide about the next president of the United States a break too. Phew! I too am getting sick of this long campaign season and am thinking that watching the debates may be a lot of work, even with the knowledgeable Palin taking the reins in the above scenario. Of course, if some pressing Alaskan emergency were to take the governor out of the picture, then the debate must be stopped. I, for one, will be happy to take this opportunity to take my now free 90 minutes (previously to be set aside for civic engagement) and catch up on some ironing.

Posted by: defjoy | September 25, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse


For us "average joes" with no access to the candidates, the debates are a great tool to hear from both of them directly. I will be really disappointed if the first debate is cancelled.

Posted by: Ashley | September 25, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Congress is going to pass a bill regardless of the participation of the candidates. The final product will more closely resemble Dodd's proposal than Paulson's. Dodd last night said "I've talked to Obama about this several times in the past few days. I haven't heard from McCain," who apparently doesn't know how to use a telephone.
Using this as an excuse to cancel the VP Debate is transparent. It has become obvious that after weeks of briefing, Palin still isn't ready to do anything other than read a script, and may well be untrainable. They probably fear a monumental disaster if she has to answer direct questions, let alone debate Biden.
This campaign has revealed McCain to be basically a flyboy - he thinks only in terms of tactics, never strategy. He is never thinking beyond the next move, and then often moves without thinking. As President he will be a disaster.

Posted by: Pdiddy | September 25, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I thimply can't underthtand how this happened. It wathn't a crithith when I took over.

Posted by: barney fig | September 25, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

However I have not heard anyone suggest that Obama's seeming lack of interest, as evidenced by him seeing no reason to be in Washington to actually vote on whatever package is put forth, adds to the perception people have that he is not really a leader. Much has been made of his dozens of "Present" votes in the IL Senate and his complete lack of any record for sponsoring or truly fighting for any legislation in the IL or US Senate.

---------------

For some one who is "undecided," you need to educate yourself a bit better.

There is no need to be in DC to vote. Yet. It depends on the count. Anything else is just drama. He did the right thing and resisted the temptation to inject politics into the economic crisis....something McCain could not do.

Barack voted "present" 140 times out of 4000+ votes. Hardly significant.
McCain missed 65% votes in the Senate.
A little more significant.

As for "his complete lack of any record for sponsoring or truly fighting for any legislation in the IL or US Senate"...this completely false Republican smear has been refuted many times....

http://mediamatters.org/items/200612200003

You sound not undecided at all...just another Repub trying to spread more lies about Obama....or someone who is determinedly ignorant of the facts.

You need to educate yourself either way.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

===================================================
It’s absurd for McCain to make a big show of traveling to Washington on the pretense that he is going to take the lead on this $700 billion Wall Street Bailout.

The Constitution of the United States grants the House of Representatives--not the Senate-- exclusive powers of taxation; thus, interpretation of the Constitution and Congressional practice is all appropriations bills must come from the House of Representatives--not the Senate. While any legislator may write a piece of legislation, all and any appropriations legislation from the Senate is never recognized by the House of Representatives, thus never entered into committee by the Speaker of the House.

McCain is a senator, not a member of the House of Representatives. As a senator, all McCain can do is beg, hat in hand, at the door of the House of Representatives for provisions he would like to see in the $700 billion Wall Street Bailout appropriations bill. Since the House of Representatives consist of 235 democrats and 199 republicans, doubtful McCain holds much sway in the “lower” House.

The notion that the Senate is more powerful than the House of Representatives is an urban myth. Either House may introduce a non-appropriations bill, but only the House of Representatives has the power of taxation and authority to introduce an appropriations bill.

Both Houses must vote on all bills--including appropriations bills--but the provisions contained in all appropriations bills, and introduction of all appropriations bills must come from the House of Representatives.


Posted by: socalgal59 | September 25, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Palin's Witch Doctor made Obama blink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwkb9_zB2Pg

Posted by: Linda Blair | September 25, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

The problem here is a simple one. McCain views the campaign as a marriage. The current campaign, like his first wife, is no longer in the ideal form he would prefer. McCain's suspension of the debate is his attempt to divorce this less healthy campaign in favor of a slimmer, wealthier, younger version of the original. Unfortunately for McCain, Cindy Campaign isn't coming through that door any time soon.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

A desperate move by McCain to say the least.

First trying to prevent being steamrolled on economic questions by postponing Friday's debate; then convienently reschedule it in place of the VP debate to prevent Biden from eating Palin alive. Shrewd but transparent. Someone should have McCain watch some football to remind him that prevent defenses frequently backfire...

Posted by: Nerrtified | September 25, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

considering this entire fiasco can be laid at the feet of Barney Frank and Up-chuck Schumer, it is benevolant of the Repubs to come to the rescue.

Barnie - get that sausage out of your mouth and get back to work.

Posted by: fig and puke | September 25, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Whether it is an airplane, a marriage, or a campaign, we've learned one thing about McCain: When the going get's tough, McCain bails out.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Then we have Senator Biden, who decided to get on the Amtrak and head north to PA to campaign instead of doing his duties in Washington. Where can I get a job like that where I can decide when to show up for work and when not to?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Who blinks?!!! Are you f'ing kidding us? What is this, some idiotic Sarah Palin eyes-wide-shut chickie run? McCain's juvenile stunt is as transparent as the GOP's Terri Schiavo pilgrimage. For anyone interested in an adult view on these events, see John Dickerson (Slate) or Harold Meyerson (WaPo):

http://www.slate.com/id/2200867

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/24/AR2008092403918.html

Posted by: merelymyopinion | September 25, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

MCAIN'S ADS ARE ON TV. HE AND PALIN ARE BOTH GIVING SPEECHES AND INTERVIEW. HIS WEBSITE IS SEEKING DONATIONS. THE ONLY "SUSPENSION" APPEARS TO BE OF THEIR DESIRE TO DEBATE THEIR RIVALS IN FRONT OF A LIVE, TELEVISED AUDIENCE.

Posted by: mo-lama | September 25, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Palin would invite her preacher to exorcise the devil out of the economy

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Now come on folks. I got a big performance tomorrow night. I need to practice. you think this flim-flam gig comes easy?

Posted by: snObama | September 25, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Just heard a mccain add on wtop.

So much for suspension.
Thats Lie number 672 so far.

Remember the holding back of palin?
Now Mccain wants to be missing in action.I laugh at the republicans. They are the party of greed,and panic

Posted by: choctaws | September 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

This is more of a McCain campaign rescue plan than anything else.

Mr. Kneejerk at it again.

McCain is right about one thing. Time IS running out... on him

Posted by: say whaaaa? | September 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Note - I don't ever actually DO any work. I talk a big game, that's it.
didn't you examine my record?

Call me if you need a pep talk.

Posted by: snObama | September 25, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If Senator Obama cannot be bothered to vote on spending of nearly a trillion dollars so that he can attend a political debate, what does that say about his priorities?

--------------------

Comments like this clearly reveal how uninformed and ill-formed the mindset really is.

Senators McCain and Obama can easily influence members of their party and vote (if necessaary) without suspending their campaigns or debate.

To argue otherwise is beyond silly. There are no practical reasons why either the campaigns or the debates should stop..none.

It is an economic crisis, but NO ONE knows how bad. To turn it into a tsunami, as Bush and McCain have done, is reckless. As reckless as the lead up to the Iraq invasion.

McCain either had a failure of nerve or with cold calculation used a national crisis to cover his falling poll numbers and possibly squash a VP debate.

Either way, he is not fit for the Presidency.

No fighter pilot usually is. They are wired the wrong way. We already know what happened when we voted in a cheerleader to do a quarterback's job.

Posted by: McRUmi | September 25, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

McCain must have delayed reaction time, because this economic crisis about a week ago and NOW he wants to go to Washington right before his first presidential debate.
Mmmm........
If one of my students told me their mother had an accident a week ago right before a big test I would be more than leery of their true intent.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. We learned this week that Fannie has been paying McCain's campaign manager $180,000 per year since 2005. Fannie just stopped paying the guy, and shortly thereafter McCain announces his campaign is suspended. So it turns out that the special interests really were bankrolling McCain's campaign. When they stopped paying, McCain stopped campaigning.

If that isn't alarming, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza-

Please note that I and many other Americans want the debate to continue as scheduled. If Mr. McCain wants the American electorate to fairly consider him for the highest office in the land (and world), he needs to make it his business to keep his already scheduled appointment with the American electorate on Friday, September 26th at 9pm. I expect Mr. McCain to stand before the electorate and present himself for this important part of his job interview. I expect Mr. McCain to challenge his opponent openly on all relevant issues including foreign policy and the economy. Therefore, I do not appreciate this important event being "postponed" and Mr. McCain should immediately reconsider his decision.

Posted by: T. Williams | September 25, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Mccain is not at all prepared for the debate, people around him have been saying that for more then a week. His people are scared to death what may happen in the debate. I think what has happened in the last day confirms what they have been saying. Mccain wants out of the debate any way he can. Funny, also his people say he sleeps too much??????


==========
Its an interesting connundrum for both candidates for multiple reasons. However, I think this helps McCain a bit more than it helps Obama. McCain's strategy, in being the first to suspend his campaign to help broker a compromise, definitely plays well with his base, and plays well here in the south. The McCain campaign is trying to demonstrate that he isn't just a candidate- he is actually presidential. Also, if the McCain campaign is worried about the Palin-Biden debate, then its not a bad plan to cancel the VP debate in favor of rescheduling the presidential debate. The only flaw, however, is that it opens McCain to having to answer a LOT more questions about hte economy. Yes, this is a presidential campaign and he should be expected to answer these kind of questions. But, McCain seemed out of touch (by his own admission) with economic issues during the primaries versus Mitt Romney, and the current situation only highlights his lack of expertise on this issue.

Posted by: RKP4D | September 25, 2008 10:56 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I see two possible outcomes, neither good for McCain:

- Bailout deal gets finished today at the White House or early tomorrow, with McCain's taking time to "go to Washington" a clear stunt, since his three hours in DC clearly did not make the deal happen. Finishing the deal allows him to go to the debate without retracting his words, but not without looking foolish.
- Bailout deal gets delayed, meaning that McCain can't head to the debate without rescinding his word. Obama gets lots of opportunities (though probably not an empty chair at debate time) to talk about how he was prepared to discuss the economic crisis with McCain in front of the American people.

McCain to Obama: Blink.

Posted by: therov | September 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Obama that a presdient must be handle multiple events but more importantly needs to know how to prioritize those events. A political debate is not on the same scale as figuring out how to spend nearly a trillion dollars of our tax money. The scope and scale of the bailout is enormous and touches nearly every aspect of the economy. Instead of focusing on the political aspect, and I think that McCain's apolitcal stance is good politics, the candidates and media need to focus on the actual impact on our econmy and country as a whole. Senator Obama is PAID to do his job in the senate and a senator's primary role is to control how our governement spends our money. If Senator Obama cannot be bothered to vote on spending of nearly a trillion dollars so that he can attend a political debate, what does that say about his priorities?

Posted by: Kelly | September 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The reason Obama did not travel to the conference in NY is that Jesse Jackson is there and the Secret Service cannot guarantee that Jesse will not cut his balls.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama was being interrupted by lots applause that was not heard on the feed. Also, Mccains stock is crashing on Intrade. I guess you can't fool all the people all the time. Mccain it through.


==========
Meanwhile Mr. Multitasker is not able to get on a plane to address the conference at the Clinton Global Initiative because he can't leave Clearwater, Florida. He has to continue cramming for his exam. He has only been holed up there since Monday. And the ironies of all ironies, the audio broadcast feed gets lost as he starts his speech. And does he look terrible when he does not have a crowd to cheer him on. Why is the DOW going down while he is speaking?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 10:44 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Its an interesting connundrum for both candidates for multiple reasons. However, I think this helps McCain a bit more than it helps Obama. McCain's strategy, in being the first to suspend his campaign to help broker a compromise, definitely plays well with his base, and plays well here in the south. The McCain campaign is trying to demonstrate that he isn't just a candidate- he is actually presidential. Also, if the McCain campaign is worried about the Palin-Biden debate, then its not a bad plan to cancel the VP debate in favor of rescheduling the presidential debate. The only flaw, however, is that it opens McCain to having to answer a LOT more questions about hte economy. Yes, this is a presidential campaign and he should be expected to answer these kind of questions. But, McCain seemed out of touch (by his own admission) with economic issues during the primaries versus Mitt Romney, and the current situation only highlights his lack of expertise on this issue.

Posted by: RKP4D | September 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

For the record I am an undecided voter.

I am not sure who will "blink" first because I am not sure how you define "blink" in this situation. I believe that McCain will be in MS for the debate on Friday and it will go on as scheduled. I do not see that it is a problem that his campaign asked Obama's to postpone the debate, and I don't see it as a problem that Obama's campaign said, "No". If McCain shows up for the debate that doesn't mean he "blinked".

Most of the MSM and blogs I have read so far seem to believe (and it might be true) that McCain's approach to this situation is bizzare and over-the-top. I don't see why campaign commercials cannot continue to run while McCain is in Washington for example. However I have not heard anyone suggest that Obama's seeming lack of interest, as evidenced by him seeing no reason to be in Washington to actually vote on whatever package is put forth, adds to the perception people have that he is not really a leader. Much has been made of his dozens of "Present" votes in the IL Senate and his complete lack of any record for sponsoring or truly fighting for any legislation in the IL or US Senate. If I were advising him I would be telling him to get to Washington and to be on the Senate floor when the package comes up for a vote. I would also advise him to push hard to be sure some principle that he wants people to know is important to him was included in the bill or he would not support it. Otherwise McCain can, and should, use this as another example of Obama not having the experience or leadership skills to be president. I know he is in Washington to meet with President Bush, but he needs to do more than be present. He needs to show he is a leader on an issue and this is a golden opportunity to do just that. If he doesn't, including fighting for something important to him or Dems. to be included in the bill, he will show again that he doesn't have what it takes to be president.

I don't know if that qualifies as a "blink" but it is not what voters need to see from Obama at this late date.

Posted by: lolson | September 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Mr. Multitasker is not able to get on a plane to address the conference at the Clinton Global Initiative

------------------

So what? What has the CGI to do with the nation's needs right now?

Arguments grow sillier by the minute.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

If Senator McCain refuses to show up tomorrow, they should consider swapping dates with the VP debate. It would be a good test to see if the VP candidates are prepared to step in on short notice, with minimal preperation.

Posted by: bsimon | September 25, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

McRumi Obama sits in a racist church for twenty years and then with his children.
Olberman told you to say that. But did Keith Obamaman tell you he thinks Rev Wright is mainstream.

Posted by: Carrie | September 25, 2008 10:37 AM

McRumi Townhalls are not of any use. Smoke and mirrors. Why does your hero Obama choose to do his own without McCain.

Posted by: Meredith | September 25, 2008 10:31 AM

---------------------

Wow.

Got the multiple personalities going this morning?

Is that you, Sara? Perhaps not enough of your demons were exorcised by your witch doctor??

McCain camp very desperate this morning. More than usual. Understandable.

I'd feel betrayed too.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

John McCain, a desperate gambler. Gambling with the VP, gambling with the economy, gambling with American's perception of truth and fairnes. This is an impulsive man who would put the country at risk; high stakes Russian Roulette. Only, the future of our country is not a casino.

Posted by: BillBolducinMaine | September 25, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how McCain can win on this gamble. Obama will show up for the debate. If McCain shows up, he'll be seen as petulant. If he doesn't show up, Obama will give a press conference saying how disappointing it is that McCain doesn't mind wasting Mississippi's $5.5 million, even though the state is one of the poorest in the country. Then he'll fly back to DC and be part of the negotiations by early Saturday morning.

They've already given a bit on the answer times for the VP debate. I'd be surprised if the committee on presidential debates gives any more to the McCain camp on that issue.

Unless the deal is hammered out and passed while Obama is in Mississippi on Friday night, there's no way McCain comes out of this on top.

Posted by: Lose/Lose | September 25, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The American public is a lot smarter than Sen. McCain is giving them credit for. They see this as yet another attempt to shake up the race at a moment when McCain is behind. Sen. Obama could do himself a lot of good by sticking to his position, even it means a one on one with Jim Lehrer. McCain's empty chair would speak volumes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"that the planned vice presidential debate ...be used instead as the inaugural presidential debate."

Looks like they are doing everything they can to keep that empty suit Sarah Palin from facing real questions.

Posted by: RealChoices | September 25, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

If McCain can't make it to the debate he should send the person he chose to be his number two -- Sarah Palin is qualified, according to McCain, to be president if something should happen to him, then she should be qualified to handle a simple foreign policy debate. If the debate topic changes to the economy I would hope she could handle that also. This would give us all an opportunity to understand he qualifications.

Posted by: Dick St. Paul | September 25, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Mr. Multitasker is not able to get on a plane to address the conference at the Clinton Global Initiative because he can't leave Clearwater, Florida. He has to continue cramming for his exam. He has only been holed up there since Monday. And the ironies of all ironies, the audio broadcast feed gets lost as he starts his speech. And does he look terrible when he does not have a crowd to cheer him on. Why is the DOW going down while he is speaking?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

On the one hand McCain risked being accused of playing politics. But Obama blew a chance to do a Presidential thing. Americans know these to are not directly involved in hammering out the details of this 700 billion dollar rescue plan. But McCain and Obama are the leaders of their respective parties. If they are leaders they both can work behind the scenes to push this Bail out to pass. To say "call me if you need me" or "America needs to see a single debate on time is short-sighted or "Vanity". It is clear McCain is risking alot. People down in the polls do not suspend campaigns or delay debates. This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now.

Posted by: Moniker | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM

Moniker is making good points. What be so wrong about leaders doing everything they can. And about this multitasking baloney on Obama's part. We can expect Townhalls from now on ehh! Obama...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse


JOHN MCCAIN LEADER OR MADMAN
YOU BE THE JUDGE.

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain arrived late at his Senate office on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. “This is war,” he murmured to his aides. The sound of scrambling fighter planes rattled the windows, sending a tremor of panic through the room.


Erik Jacobs for The New York Times
John McCain said he had consulted Henry A. Kissinger on foreign policy before and after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Within hours, Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

“There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked,” Mr. McCain said the next morning on ABC News. “It isn’t just Afghanistan,” he added, on MSNBC. “I don’t think if you got bin Laden tomorrow that the threat has disappeared,” he said on CBS, pointing toward other countries in the Middle East.

Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!”

Now, as Mr. McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination, his response to the attacks of Sept. 11 opens a window onto how he might approach the gravest responsibilities of a potential commander in chief. Like many, he immediately recalibrated his assessment of the unseen risks to America’s security. But he also began to suggest that he saw a new “opportunity” to deter other potential foes by punishing not only Al Qaeda but also Iraq.

“Just as Sept. 11 revolutionized our resolve to defeat our enemies, so has it brought into focus the opportunities we now have to secure and expand our freedom,” Mr. McCain told a NATO conference in Munich in early 2002, urging the Europeans to join what he portrayed as an all but certain assault on Saddam Hussein. “A better world is already emerging from the rubble.”

To his admirers, Mr. McCain’s tough response to Sept. 11 is at the heart of his appeal. They argue that he displayed the same decisiveness again last week in his swift calls to penalize Russia for its incursion into Georgia, in part by sending peacekeepers to police its border.

His critics charge that the emotion of Sept. 11 overwhelmed his former cool-eyed caution about deploying American troops without a clear national interest and a well-defined exit, turning him into a tool of the Bush administration in its push for a war to transform the region.

“He has the personality of a fighter pilot: when somebody stings you, you want to strike out,” said retired Gen. John H. Johns, a former friend and supporter of Mr. McCain who turned against him over the Iraq war. “Just like the American people, his reaction was: show me somebody to hit.”

Whether through ideology or instinct, though, Mr. McCain began making his case for invading Iraq to the public more than six months before the White House began to do the same. He drew on principles he learned growing up in a military family and on conclusions he formed as a prisoner in North Vietnam. He also returned to a conviction about “the common identity” of dangerous autocracies as far-flung as Serbia and North Korea that he had developed consulting with hawkish foreign policy thinkers to help sharpen the themes of his 2000 presidential campaign.

While pushing to take on Saddam Hussein, Mr. McCain also made arguments and statements that he may no longer wish to recall. He lauded the war planners he would later criticize, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney. (Mr. McCain even volunteered that he would have given the same job to Mr. Cheney.) He urged support for the later-discredited Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi’s opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and echoed some of its suspect accusations in the national media. And he advanced misleading assertions not only about Mr. Hussein’s supposed weapons programs but also about his possible ties to international terrorists, Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks.

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, Mr. McCain’s supporters note that he became an early critic of the administration’s execution of the occupation, and they credit him with pushing the troop “surge” that helped bring stability. Mr. McCain, though, stands by his support for the war and expresses no regrets about his advocacy.

In written answers to questions, he blamed “Iraq’s opacity under Saddam” for any misleading remarks he made about the peril it posed.

The Sept. 11 attacks “demonstrated the grave threat posed by a hostile regime, possessing weapons of mass destruction, and with reported ties to terrorists,” Mr. McCain wrote in an e-mail message on Friday. Given Mr. Hussein’s history of pursuing illegal weapons and his avowed hostility to the United States, “his regime posed a threat we had to take seriously.” The attacks were still a reminder, Mr. McCain added, of the importance of international action “to prevent outlaw states — like Iran today — from developing weapons of mass destruction.”

Formative Years

Mr. McCain has been debating questions about the use of military force far longer than most. He grew up in a family that had sent a son to every American war since 1776, and international relations were a staple of the McCain family dinner table. Mr. McCain grew up listening to his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., deliver lectures on “The Four Ocean Navy and the Soviet Threat,” closing with a slide of an image he considered the ultimate factor in the balance of power: a soldier marching through a rice paddy with a rifle at his shoulder.

“To quote Sherman, war is all hell and we need to fight it out and get it over with and that is when the killing stops,” recalled Joe McCain, Senator McCain’s younger brother.

Vietnam, for Senator McCain, reinforced those lessons. He has often said he blamed the Johnson administration’s pause in bombing for prolonging the war, and he credited President Richard M. Nixon’s renewed attacks with securing his release from a North Vietnamese prison. He has made the principle that the exercise of military power sets the bargaining table for international relations a consistent theme of his career ever since, and in his 2002 memoir he wrote that one of his lifelong convictions was “the imperative that American power never retreat in response to an inferior adversary’s provocation.”


But Mr. McCain also took away from Vietnam a second, restraining lesson: the necessity for broad domestic support for any military action. For years he opposed a string of interventions — in Lebanon, Haiti, Somalia, and, for a time, the Balkans — on the grounds that the public would balk at the loss of life without clear national interests. “The Vietnam thing,” he recently said.

In the late 1990s, however, while he was beginning to consider his 2000 presidential race, he started rebalancing his view of the needs to project American strength and to sustain public support. The 1995 massacre of 5,000 unarmed Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica under NATO’s watch struck at his conscience, he has said, and in addition to America’s strategic national interests — in that case, the future and credibility of NATO — Mr. McCain began to speak more expansively about America’s moral obligations as the only remaining superpower.

His aides say he later described the American air strikes in Bosnia in 1996 and in Kosovo in 1999 as a parable of political leadership: Mr. McCain, Senator Bob Dole and others had rallied Congressional support for the strikes despite widespread public opposition, then watched approval soar after the intervention helped to bring peace.

“Americans elect their leaders to make these kinds of judgments,” Mr. McCain said in the e-mail message.

It was during the Balkan wars that Mr. McCain and his advisers read a 1997 article on the Wall Street Journal editorial page by William Kristol and David Brooks of The Weekly Standard — both now Op-Ed page columnists at The New York Times — promoting the idea of “national greatness” conservatism, defined by a more activist agenda at home and a more muscular role in the world.

“I wouldn’t call it a ‘eureka’ moment, but there was a sense that this is where we are headed and this is what we are trying to articulate and they have already done a lot of the work,” said John Weaver, a former McCain political adviser. “And, quite frankly, from a crass political point of view, we were in the making-friends business. The Weekly Standard represented a part of the primary electorate that we could get.”

Soon Mr. McCain and his aides were consulting regularly with the circle of hawkish foreign policy thinkers sometimes referred to as neoconservatives — including Mr. Kristol, Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, a former aide to Mr. Dole who became a McCain campaign adviser — to develop the senator’s foreign policy ideas and instincts into the broad themes of a presidential campaign. (In his e-mail message, Mr. McCain noted that he had also consulted with friends like Henry A. Kissinger, known for a narrower view of American interests.)

One result was a series of speeches in which Mr. McCain called for “rogue state rollback.” He argued that disparate regional troublemakers, including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia, bore a common stamp: they were all autocracies. And as such, he contended, they were more likely to export terrorism, spread dangerous weapons, or start ethnic conflicts. In an early outline of what would become his initial response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. McCain argued that “swift and sure” retribution against any one of the rogue states was an essential deterrent to any of the others. But Mr. McCain’s advisers and aides say his “rogue state” speeches stopped short of the most sweeping international agenda put forth by Mr. Kristol, Mr. Kagan and their allies. Mr. McCain explicitly disavowed direct military action merely to advance American values, foreswearing any “global crusade” of interventions in favor of relying on covert and financial support for internal opposition groups.

As an example, he could point to his 1998 sponsorship of the Iraqi Liberation Act, which sought to direct nearly $100 million to Iraqis who hoped to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The bill, signed by President Bill Clinton, also endorsed the ouster of Mr. Hussein.

Mr. McCain said then that he doubted the United States could muster the political will to use ground troops to remove the Iraqi dictator any time soon. “It was much easier when Saddam Hussein was occupying Kuwait and threatening Saudi Arabia,” the senator told Fox News in November 1998. “We’d have to convince the American people that it’s worth again the sacrifice of American lives, because that would also be part of the price.”

Hard Calls

Mr. McCain spent the afternoon of Sept. 11 in a young aide’s studio apartment near the Capitol. There was no cable television, nothing but water in the kitchen, and the hallway reminded him of an old boxing gym. Evacuated from his office but stranded by traffic, he could not resist imagining himself at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. “There are not enough Secret Service agents in the world to keep me away from Washington and New York at a time like this,” Mr. McCain told an adviser.


Over the next days and weeks, however, Mr. McCain became almost as visible as he would have been as president. Broadcasters rushed to him as a patriotic icon and reassuring voice, and for weeks he was ubiquitous on the morning news programs, Sunday talk shows, cable news networks, and even late-night comedy shows.

In the spotlight, he pushed rogue state rollback one step further, arguing that the United States should go on the offensive as a warning to any other country that might condone such an attack. “These networks are well-embedded in some of these countries,” Mr. McCain said on Sept. 12, listing Iraq, Iran and Syria as potential targets of United States pressure. “We’re going to have to prove to them that we are very serious, and the price that they will pay will not only be for punishment but also deterrence.”

Although he had campaigned for President Bush during the 2000 general election, he was still largely frozen out of the White House because of animosities left over from the Republican primary. But after Mr. Bush declared he would hold responsible any country condoning terrorism, Mr. McCain called his leadership “magnificent” and his national security team the strongest “that has ever been assembled.” A few weeks later, Larry King of CNN asked whether he would have named Mr. Rumsfeld and Colin L. Powell to a McCain cabinet. “Oh, yes, and Cheney,” Mr. McCain answered, saying he, too, would have offered Mr. Cheney the vice presidency.

Even during the heat of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. McCain kept an eye on Iraq. To Jay Leno in mid-September, Mr. McCain said he believed “some other countries” had assisted Osama bin Laden, going on to suggest Iraq, Syria and Iran as potential suspects. In October 2001, when an Op-Ed page column in The New York Times speculated that Iraq, Russia or some other country might bear responsibility for that month’s anthrax mailings, Mr. McCain interrupted a question about Afghanistan from David Letterman on that night’s “Late Show.” “The second phase is Iraq,” Mr. McCain said, adding, “Some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.” (The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it came from a federal government laboratory in Maryland.) By October, United States and foreign intelligence agencies had said publicly that they doubted any cooperation between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda, noting Al Qaeda’s opposition to such secular nationalists. American intelligence officials soon declared that Mr. Hussein had not supported international terrorism for nearly a decade.

But when the Czech government said that before the attacks, one of the 9/11 hijackers had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence official, Mr. McCain seized the report as something close to a smoking gun. “The evidence is very clear,” he said three days later, in an Oct. 29 television interview. (Intelligence agencies quickly cast doubt on the meeting.)

Frustrated by the dearth of American intelligence about Iraq, Mr. McCain’s aides say, he had long sought to learn as much as he could from Iraqi opposition figures in exile, including Mr. Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. Over the years, Mr. McCain often urged support for the group, saying it had “significant support, in my view, inside Iraq.”

After Sept. 11, Mr. Chalabi’s group said an Iraqi emissary had once met with Osama bin Laden, and brought forward two Iraqi defectors who described terrorist training camps and biological weapons efforts. At times, Mr. McCain seemed to echo their accusations, citing the “two defectors” in a television interview and attesting to “credible reports of involvement between Iraqi administration officials, Iraqi officials and the terrorists.”

Growing Impatient

But United States intelligence officials had doubts about Mr. Chalabi at the time and have since discredited his group. In 2006, Mr. McCain acknowledged to The New Republic that he had been “too enamored with the I.N.C.” In his e-mail message, though, he said he never relied on the group for information about Iraq’s weapons program.

At a European security conference in February 2002, when the Bush administration still publicly maintained that it had made no decision about moving against Iraq, Mr. McCain described an invasion as all but certain. “A terrorist resides in Baghdad,” he said, adding, “A day of reckoning is approaching.”

Regime change in Iraq in addition to Afghanistan, he argued, would compel other sponsors of terrorism to mend their ways, “accomplishing by example what we would otherwise have to pursue through force of arms.”

Finally, as American troops massed in the Persian Gulf in early 2003, Mr. McCain grew impatient, his aides say, concerned that the White House was failing to act as the hot desert summer neared. Waiting, he warned in a speech in Washington, risked squandering the public and international support aroused by Sept. 11. “Does anyone really believe that the world’s will to contain Saddam won’t eventually collapse as utterly as it did in the 1990s?” Mr. McCain asked.

In retrospect, some of Mr. McCain’s critics now accuse him of looking for a pretext to justify the war. “McCain was hell-bent for leather: ‘Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, we have got to teach him, let’s send a message to the other people in the Middle East,’ ” said Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts.

But Mr. McCain, in his e-mail message, said the reason he had supported the war was the evolving threat from Mr. Hussein.

“I believe voters elect their leaders based on their experience and judgment — their ability to make hard calls, for instance, on matters of war and peace,” he wrote. “It’s important to get them right.”

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The US was able to have relatively normal political campaigns in 1864 and 1944, under much more trying circumstances. Barring either a security problem, such as a military or terrorist attack, I can't see an event that would justify suspending the campaign.

Posted by: Michael | September 25, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

McRumi Obama sits in a racist church for twenty years and then with his children.
Olberman told you to say that. But did Keith Obamaman tell you he thinks Rev Wright is mainstream.

Posted by: Carrie | September 25, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

McRumi Townhalls are not of any use. Smoke and mirrors. Why does your hero Obama choose to do his own without McCain.

Posted by: Meredith | September 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

What to make of all this indeed?

A couple of observations and a couple of thoughts.

McCain's decision comes on the day new national polls show the race moving away from him.

House republicans send strong signals they won't support the plan.

A debate scheduled for Friday that may only accelerate current trends. McCain needs to do something. Campaign huddles and comes up with a plan -- "we'll suspend the campaign, seek to postpone the debate and appeal to the Country First theme and hope we can change the story line". I get it, they need to do something.

Obama campaign correctly reads the play, but they decide not to slow, or suspend their game plan (they don't have to, their pulling ahead).

Prediction: after today's WH meeting McCain declares victory for his principles and either blinks and goes to MS or declares his presence is still needed in DC and that he won't debate. Either way I don't see his numbers or credibility coming back. The question is how quickly he fades. This one is pretty much over.

Posted by: DC08 | September 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I think McCain will blink cause he's a blinker

and hes avoiding the debate because he is scared, i get scared sometimes

i feel bad for the poor elderly man

but McCain will definately blink first

Posted by: Josiah | September 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I concur w/ Moniker's take.

-----------------

And Palin believes in witches.

The world is full of irrational beliefs unconnected to demonstrable truths.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

A SILENT COUP? DOES NAIVETE OBSCURE WHAT'S OVER THE HORIZON?

The real question is who is working the strings on the McCain-Palin marionette.

McCain is not his own man these days. The one-eighty he displayed with his vice presidential selection tells the tale. Look at John McCain's eyes. They are very red and glassy. Something is not right.

The current financial "crisis" conjures up memories of the Reichstag fire, "Remember the Maine," the Gulk of Tonkin, and "weapons of mass destruction." This is a manufactured crisis, a manifestation of a long-term strategy aimed at imposing autocratic dominance upon the supposedly co-equal branches of federal government.

The "suspension" of the McCain-Palin campaign could be just the initial salvo in an assault upon the American political system. What's next? A manipulated market crash? Suspension of the presidential election? Imposition of martial law?

Don't laugh. The plans are in place; the executive orders have been signed. The FEMA camps are ready to receive the "dissenters."

Think it can't happen in America? Consider THIS:

TARGETING OF AMERICANS BY GOV'T AGENCIES
A ROOT CAUSE OF WALL STREET MELTDOWN?

Once again, Congress is being asked to rush through emergency legislation -- to cede effective control of the economy to the government.

Officials continue to blame lax lending policies on the part of the mortgage industry for spawning this crisis.

But were lenders ORDERED to offer "easy credit" to people "targeted" by government agencies?

Is government "targeting" of American citizens a root cause of the mortgage meltdown that spawned the broader financial crisis?

For more, see:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/targeting-u-s-citizens-govt-agencies-root-cause-wall-street-financial-crisis OR
members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener | September 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

One word: "multi-tasking."

... a good skill for mavericks to practice since, as president, they "might" be hit by more than one crisis at a time (2 war crisis, do we need a draft crisis, financial meltdown/credit crisis, healthcare crisis, aging population social security crisis, constitutional evesdropping crisis, voting machine crisis, dependence on foreign oil vs. creating alternative energy sources crisis, global warming crisis, breadline crisis, plant-closing crisis, jobs shipped overseas crisis, unemployment crisis, insurance crisis, inflation crisis, terrorism crisis, immigration crisis....
STOP THE DEBATE (because I might lose the debate crisis...) hmmm. let me help my VP choice w/ her own cramming crisis...by "postponing" her debate too.

Posted by: mavericks for multi-tasking | September 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

1. "It's the politics stupid!" Nothing presidential candidates do is without political consideration.
2. If the timeline yesterday as descirbed is accurate McCain took advantage (unfair? In politics is anything unfair? )by going public without Obama having a chance to reply.
3. McCain may in fact be a leader if he gets the GOP congressmen to vote for the final plan.
4. Obama needs to keep acting presidential as he did yesterday.
5. No matter what Obama should be in Mississippi for the debate. At worst he gets a free hour wih Jim Lehr and an empty seat. Empty seats always lose.

Posted by: Bobmac | September 25, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Rid us of Demons aka. Obamaman. Do you have one of Rev. Wright jubliantly "Goddaming America".

Posted by: Amanda P. | September 25, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty well known in Washington that McCain enjoys gambling his money in Vegas, so why is anyone surprised that he is gambling his campaign with this stunt?

Posted by: Anonymously | September 25, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"If McCain fails to show up for the debate, Jim Lehrer should still question Obama alone, with 30 second pauses and a light shining at McCain's empty podium."

Don't forget the cricket sound effects...

Posted by: Chuck | September 25, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I despise Obama and every ugly, disgusting thing he stands for; but having said this, this is a pure stunt on McCain's behalf -- a stunt that'll almost surely fail.

There's two possibilities.

1) He got spooked when he read the two polls showing him way down. If this is true, he's really dumb, as many national polls later in the day had the race tied.

2) He thinks Palin unprepared for the debate and this is a ruse to give her more time. Perhaps he thinks he could eventually postpone her debate indefinitely.

Either way it's bad.

Posted by: info | September 25, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I concur w/ Moniker's take.

Posted by: David | September 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

McCain has to blink first. If he avoids the debate, he looks bad as the bailout seems to and has been moving forward without him even calling the principles in the negotiation (Obama has been in touch with his party's leadership in the negotiation as well as with Sec. Paulson et.al.). He could actually cause the slowing down of the process by politicizing it in a new way.

Also, if McCain's rescheduling plan is to be put in place, the vice presidential debate would be moved. Public perception is already shifting in regards to Palin's ability to lead the nation if called upon (and also if she is even capable of answering direct questions). Rescheduling the vp debate could (and I beleive would) be further evidence that the campaign is shielding Palin, not only from "optional" interviews and press conferences, but also from her obligations as a nominee.

Posted by: CRH | September 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Who will blink? McCain.

Both candidates will do bailout negotiations and debate. Obama will push through the bailout via video conference or in person and will use that handy device, the airplane, to arrive at the debate by Fri evening. Debate hosts, frustrated with McCain, will offer Obama an hour of coverage with or without McCain and news will cover it. McCain will be backed into a corner and will have to attend debate.

Follow up question: Who will undecided voters relate to when the blinking is over? Assuming our economy recovers enough that it matters?

Gut reaction - McCain wants to dig in and fix things - I share that instinct. Obama's instinct is to draft principles - sounds impotent.

Second reaction - McCain seems unable to multi-task, unable to handle a packed schedule, unaware of technology-enabled conferencing options and prone to ultimatums. Also unorganized - he should have been prepared for this most recent bank failure given the last few weeks.

No second reaction to Obama yet - he must hold steady, competently and succinctly shepherding the bailout while also engaging in the debates. But he hasn't done this yet...stare down is still Obama's to lose.

Posted by: Middle Class in Ohio | September 25, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Our possible future VP being ridden of witches:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwkb9_zB2Pg

Posted by: Rid us of Demons | September 25, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

This is such a blatantly cynical politically-motivated move by the McCain campaign. I'm really disappointed that the media is framing this move as an issue of "who will blink first" as if that would solve anything.

If you want to be in charge, you're going to have to deal with multiple crises without freaking out or calling time out. From where I'm sitting, McCain has blinked repeatedly just by suggesting that the debates be postponed at all.

What's next? Suspending the election in November? Declaring martial law?

The real issue here is how we got into this financial mess in the first place - and who has allowed this to occur on their watch. Here's a hint: it was the guys with an "R" after their name - the free-market, anything-goes, greed-is-good deregulate-everything crowd, including Sen. McCain.

This type of drama is typical of John McCain over the years and I wish you'd take a look at how many times he's tried a variation on this stunt. Once again, I'm disappointed in the media giving McCain a pass and behaving as though this suspension was anything other than a naked political stunt.

It kind of makes me miss the subtle grace of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

Posted by: RoxTex | September 25, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"McCain has said he would like the debate to be postponed, suggesting, according to Fox News, that the planned vice presidential debate next Friday in St. Louis (Mrs. Fix's hometown!) be used instead as the inaugural presidential debate."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So McCain would get to postpone facing questions for another week, and Palin possibly avoid it altogether.

Posted by: cb11 | September 25, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

On the one hand McCain risked being accused of playing politics. But Obama blew a chance to do a Presidential thing. Americans know these to are not directly involved in hammering out the details of this 700 billion dollar rescue plan. But McCain and Obama are the leaders of their respective parties. If they are leaders they both can work behind the scenes to push this Bail out to pass. To say "call me if you need me" or "America needs to see a single debate on time is short-sighted or "Vanity". It is clear McCain is risking alot. People down in the polls do not suspend campaigns or delay debates. This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now.

Posted by: Moniker | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM

I think this post is to damaging to Obama and will not be posted by Chris. It says it all. Of course they could be two side to an argument but the townhalls Obama himself said he could not do. How could that be with such a great multi tasker like himself?!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"The most thoughtful (read: not rankly partisan) comments will be excerpted in a post of their own later this week."

Who are they kidding? The last time they did this they chose the most "rankly partisan" comments they could find.

The first person who deftly incorporates Marx or Engels into their comments win.

Posted by: info | September 25, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

McCain will not blink. Missing the Presidential debate will serve his goal in multiple ways.
----------------------

LOL. The only goal it will serve is to prove that he and Palin are both gutless. Americans have a keen sense of fairness and a nose for the stink of lame excuses. And this stinks to high heaven.

I predict this will lose him the election.

Historically, it will be his one bridge too far.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse


I looked at my response and thought, "my, what a mature and reasonable outlook."

Well I can "fix" that! Here goes:

Did McCain bail because he couldn't bring Sarah Falin and her skirt with him to the podium? Seems like he doesn't go anywhere without her.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | September 25, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

There is no need to wait to see who is the first to blink. By threatening to derail a presidential debate, at a time the public would like to see two candidates for president looking as if they have the wherewithal to lead a nation, John McCain has already blinked.

Posted by: CoralGables | September 25, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Obama is calm and cool because he has Franks, Pelosi, Dodd and Reid taking care of things for him on the Hill. He is too busy cramming, er, I mean multi-tasking, in Clearwater, Florida to get ready for DebateMania I. The gall of John McCain to get him to go to Washington when he needs to study for Friday's PPV event. While others will be busy trying to come to a resolution for this mess, Obama can go into his office and text message his buddies.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I think a deal will be reached before tomorrow's debate and that Sen. McCain will appear.

I also think that Sen. McCain will pointedly mention the fact that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, on Sept. 23, the following: “We need, now, the Republicans to start producing some votes for us. We need the Republican nominee for president to let us know where he stands and what we should do.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Media Availability, Washington, D.C., 9/23/08). So Sen. McCain essentially listened to that request, and came back to Washington to start "producing some votes" and getting consensus. In response, Sen. Reid, of course, criticized Sen. McCain's return saying that it would "not be helpful." Layer on top of that the fact that Sen. Reid also said that he "can't stand" Sen. McCain, and you have the Democratic leadership looking very silly indeed.

Posted by: Neither | September 25, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I believe the debate will proceed as scheduled. If McCain doesn't participate, then his rationale will be "I've suspended my campaign. Since I'm not campaigning, I don't have to show up." That, I believe, will be his excuse.

Posted by: Roy | September 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I concur w/ Wildgift's take:

"I think that Senator McCain will lose this staring contest. The decision to unilaterally disarm--never a popular stance in this country--will be viewed in the political context in which it was made: the ineluctable slip in the McCain/Palin's polling numbers and favorability ratings.

I think that the comparison to 9/11 is both inapt and manipulative, in a multitude of ways. Isn't this what voters rejected when Giuliani ran?

Obama cannot and will not let McCain dictate the terms of the ongoing campaign and debates. Think of how weak and unpresidential it would look if Obama meekly acceded.

This stunt will fail. Although Palin's nomination was thought to be a similar "bold" game changer, it too is starting to fade.

McCain has certainly made a gamble, but if Obama appears alone in Ole Miss, it's going to be catastrophic for McCain."

Posted by: Bill | September 25, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

McCain will not blink. Missing the Presidential debate will serve his goal in multiple ways. First, he can try to appear a national leader on a national crisis. Second, during these meetings he can work to appear as a reformer, perhpas even implant a maverick or outsider image. Third, it will continue the current posture of keeping the press and questioning away, particularly from Palin. He hasn't had a conference in a month, and if they cancel the presidential debate and take over the VP slot, then Palin may never appear to answer to unscripted questions. Remember, the Republican side specifically worked to limit the time spent on any one issue during the negotiations for the VP debate - the max time now is 90 seconds which isn't enough for any substance but allows sound bites. Finally, they can try to paint Obama as a political opportunist, distant and uninvolved, or even unknowing ("He doesn't realize how bad it is!"). The McCain camp will not blink, will try to push the debates to much later and deep six or make invisible (like a 1PM Wed) VP debate.

Posted by: Hampton Roads, VA | September 25, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Senator McCain's gesture implies that the debates are only politics. Of course they are political events, but they are more than that. I see no excuse for postponing one, aside from personal injury or illness. Debating is something candidates who want to be president owe the country. Not showing up for one is a bit like skipping the job interview and then expecting the firm to hand you the position. McCain's suggestion to postpone the Friday debate as well as the vice presidential debate is bizarre and irresponsible. In my view, it shows contempt for the democratic process and the voters.

Posted by: debate08 | September 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Senator McCain may be playing chicken with Senator Obama about the first Presidential debate. Surely he is being blind-sided by advice to spend the time instead dealing with the months-long banking and securities industries' issues. His empty mike will doubtless fill countless editorial cartoons.

Sen. McCain should debate because we deserve to see and hear each candidate's commitment to a political solution to this economic dilemma. The people are entitled to decide that a defaulting candidate is an unprepared or shallow one.

Presidential candidates need the ability to get the best and brightest to be willing to spend the time with him to teach him all facets of a political dilemma. He needs to persuade the best and brightest that he will not waste their time. He needs their menu of likely outcomes of different proposals based on their substantive knowledge of past economic crises.

We also deserve to experience for ourselves how Sens. McCain and/or Obama can prove he has already sought and in fact been trained to face a national disaster. The people don't have to be spoken down to as if a Presidential candidate is head of the Federal Reserve, or the ruler of the political universe, or still in a academic or military fraternity.

But, we are entitled to hear at this debate whether Sens. McCain and/or Obama will use his knowledge and commitment to use the Oval Office as a bully pulpit to persuade the Congress to pass the best legislation possible in this democracy.

In the televised debates, we the people get more than edited words. We get an immediate showing of which candidate has proven, by his efforts already taken to get his arms around the economic and political facets of the problem, to best keep working on our constantly evolving problems, the economy being now only the most important of them.

Should Sen. McCain not debate, it is a showing that he lacks the gravitas to be our President.

Posted by: GMMimi | September 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

McRumi you left out
"This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now."

Moinker is right...

----------------------

Hardly. The town hall idea was just McCain's way of avoiding hard questioning by an educated and knowledgeable press.

More smoke and mirrors.

Moniker was and is demonstrably wrong.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand why Senator McCain had to "suspend" his campaign in order to work on the bailout package. It seems that Senator McCain, more and more, has a knee-jerk reaction to what's going on, rather than a plan to take the country forward. Why not just cancel his appearances today and tomorrow and fly to Washington to work with Republicans on the package, without the drama of "suspending the campaign?" President Bush's own delay in addressing Americans, even when they are calling this a "crisis" does not seem like leadership. Postponing the debate, and postponing a chance for voters to hear from these two candidates in a non-stump speech environment, does not seem like the leadership we need either. I have been a long-time fan of McCain, but lately he seems more like a "reactive maverick" looking to regain a long-lost title, than a proactive one.

Posted by: Barbra Watkins | September 25, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

McRumi you left out
"This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now."

Moinker is right...

Posted by: Sandy | September 25, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

My friend Jon at OKR said it best:

Here are some other things that we've learned from McCain's decision:

America requires fundamentally strong leaders as Presidents who can handle a crisis without suspending their responsibilities. We've already had 8 years of a President who has panicked in a crisis. Look where that's gotten us.
The job of the American President requires juggling 20 crises in any given hour. John McCain has just demonstrated to us that he can't handle any more than one at a time.

We know John McCain doesn't use email or the internet. But what we didn't think about is how that means he needs to be everywhere in person for every single event that affects him. Times have changed since the 1970's, John. We now can do a web conference without having to fly anywhere. We now can check our emails on our Blackberries and monitor situations remotely.
We now better understand and appreciate Carly Fiorina's assessment that John McCain couldn't run a company.

And while these new insights into John McCain's character and nature are revealing, I have left the most fascinating observation for last:

In his heart of hearts, John McCain is a Senator, not a President. When looking at the choice of how to spend his time during a crisis, he would rather legislate than lead.

http://ourkarlrove.blogspot.com/2008/09/and-then-there-was-one.html

Posted by: soonerThought.blogspot.com | September 25, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

In a crisis, politicians are useless, statesman are needed. McCain thinks he is acting like a statesman when really, he is just running to look like he had a role in crafting the final deal. It just ain't so, he isnt a member of the committees responsible for writing the legislation.

The country would be better served with both m en out on the stump explaining this crisis to the American people. Americans just dont get it - the risk of failure is high, and failure means a collapse of the credit markets, markets that every business, every individual is dependent for day to day operations. Its ass if while Rome burns, Americans are playing hip-hop and whining me-me-me, what's in it for me. Whats in it is maintaining a way of life. With high debt levels and non existent savings American really dont have alot over Wall Street when it comes to irresponsibility - what they dont have is the double-digit leverage.

But both Obama and McCain should be out there giving their best ideas about how we are going to keep our newly fragile banking sector in one piece and how they are going to deal with the recession that seems almost certain at this point.

Americans need to be led to the right conclusions about this terrifying episode in how to destroy an economy. Americans need to see who really has the vision of a leader and who is just pandering for votes.

Posted by: nclwtk | September 25, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what a "blink" will look like, but I believe the debate will go forward. If that means McCain blinks, then I guess it will be him. Obama's response was very politically clever. Of course, he is right that the president must handle all sorts of things at once. On the other hand, the president (whoever it may be) usually does drop all sorts of things in order to be seen where the action is in a time of crisis. Our current president is hanging back and letting his Treasury Secretary take the lead. So, it does not actually seem terribly important for the presidential candidates to be seen taking the lead, in advance of any actual authority to do anything.

Posted by: Rosepetals64 | September 25, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

John McCain will blink so rapidly it'll blow Sarah Palin's rimless glasses right off her face.

Posted by: Scott from PA | September 25, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

McCain will blink - of course, he will state that due to his mere POW presence in Washington that he is satisfied that the negotiations are far along enough that he can leave Washington and go to the debate.

I continue to be disappointed with the McCain campaign - it is so transparent with its political machinations.

Posted by: 2008 | September 25, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

If McCain is too busy to attend the debate, maybe he can send a campaign surrogate. What's Sarah Palin doing tomorrow night?

Posted by: Blarg | September 25, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

So I guess we could say that McCain is bailing on the debate so that he can debate the bailout?

Posted by: newdaddy | September 25, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

John McCain would not have gotten along with Woody Hayes. No "three yards and a cloud of dust" for this candidate. He's more the "Air Coryell" type, throwing "Hail Mary" after "Hail Mary". Seems to me that he knows the debate will not go well, so a shot as the gunslinger turned lawman who rides in to save the town from outlaws is his latest long pass. Then to further the concept, his camp wants to avert another potential disaster by postponing the VP debate where they expect Sen Biden will show as the most worthy second chair. Signs of desperation everywhere. No sign of the John McCain of 2000 anywhere.

Posted by: Harry, Milwaukee | September 25, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Or was it Rick Davis' ties to Fanny Mae...or is it both?

Posted by: capemh | September 25, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Neither McCain nor Obama will blink - and it will officially signal that McCain's campaign is in an uncontrolled nosedive. The old pilot is headed for his most spectacular crash ever.

Posted by: Chuck | September 25, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

When I tell someone I will be somewhere at a certain time to do something, then I meet my commitment. I honor my appointments. Except, of course, in the case of severe illness, death or something terrible like a car wreck.

McCain is the one who looks like he can't handle the pressure of working more than one project at a time. I guess he can either contribute to a solution to this banking mess--the urgency of which is being dictated by a President who's pulled this kind of brinksmanship before to get his way--or he could debate Obama? But not both?

Those are not qualities of leadership. A President will have "incoming" from all directions and can't have the luxury of picking and choosing which problems to work on.

80% of success is in just showing up. Obama will be there.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | September 25, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The commission that sets up the debates will rule that the debate should stand. Neither candidate will have to blink and the US electorate will be well served...we've been waiting for this first debate and I'd like it to happen.

The presidential election is as important, more important than the negotiations in Washington on what to do about Wall Street's problems.

One of the good things about our democracy is that government, elections etc continue, and things happen when they are supposed to happen. Leave it to unstable countries or autocratic leaders to mess with election campaign timelines (or to parliamentary governments that determine when elections are held).

Posted by: NancyL | September 25, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

This is such a blatant political move, it's silly to think otherwise.
Look at the other stories about this, that are relegated to second status:

Democratic leaders putting together a bail-out bill that protects Main Street...
Polls showing Obama leading...
Generals punished for missteps on handling nukes...
China launching manned spaceship...
Palin's misstatements...
Rick Davis' (McCain's manager) company receiving money from Freddie Mac up until last month...

And on and on, no good news for the McCain campaign. So what to do? Change the lede...

Blatant and obvious...

Posted by: capemh | September 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

While, politically, I think that McCain made a smart move, in the long term I think it is dangerous for America. This man's strong fortitude supported him during his time as a POW. Isn't it sad that his ambition for the presidency will endanger our country? Congress seems to be handling the financial crisis in a bi-partisan way. Members of BOTH political parties were expressing their concerns about the bail-out, but it didn't appear to be partisan. Now, whith his actions, McCain has made it a partisan issue. If he starts the parties bickering, God help us all.

Posted by: Fairfax | September 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"On the one hand McCain risked being accused of playing politics. But Obama blew a chance to do a Presidential thing."
----------------------

LOL. You foilks slay me.

Barack DID do the Presidential thing. He remained calm, stayed focus on the most pressing issue which he could have the greatest impact on and which
is of utmost importance to the nation (who will be our next leader), while staying in contact with congress shoud he be needed.

It's what any good executive would have done.

Not play the drama queen and use a national crisis as cover for an inability to handle the stress of a multiplicity of demands.

Good take, my ash.

Posted by: McRumi | September 25, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

McCain will blink.

Posted by: MShake | September 25, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

It is hard to imagine McCain's gambit paying off this time. In fact, he appears increasingly to be a man who relies on 'bold gambits' when conditions become heated around him, or when he becomes politically imperiled. Whether or not he decides to debate Obama, I would bet that increasing numbers of Americans will see him as George Will sees him: emotionally unstable, self-righteous and self-serving, cloaking himself in the twin flags of patriotism and moral certitude. It is his temperament, even more than his policies, that remind one of the Bush years. I would bet that this is his last act.

Posted by: Scott from Iowa City | September 25, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Our enemies will not let our leaders blink and it seems to me that this is a double blink. How could McCain go from the fundamentals are strong to I haven't read the plan to its going to be a depression all in one week if it weren't a political ploy?

Besides if he was really so concerned then why didnt he postpone the meetings with the world leaders? Was Palin's photo ops with second rate leaders really more important then what was going on with the economy?

Posted by: Becky | September 25, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Just listened to McCain (with campaign suspended) outlining "his" five point plan for dealing with the financial crisis. Was amazed to hear absolutely nothing new. All these points have already been suggested, some even by President Bush last night when he realized this wasn't going to fly unless some oversight and transparency was included. I see no reason why any debate should be cancelled, but then I am not sinking in the polls.

Posted by: frank | September 25, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I know you in the media love these sorts of showdowns but I sincerely believe you are all hyping this beyond what is really going on. For Obama, there is no staring contest. It was McCain's suggestion that the debate be postponed. The debate committee is on record as saying the debate is going forward.

Obama doesn't have to do anything. McCain has to decide whether he will show up or not. And trust me, if he decides not to show up, the Obama campaign will not just sit back. They are going to hammer McCain as using the financiual crisis as an excuse for not wanting to confront Obama in the middle of a crisis that has occurred on the GOP's watch.

McCain is the one on the dime. And as is typical with him, he has put himself there by his own reckless decisionmaking. As for me, I believe the last thing this country needs right now is yet another leader who is reckless and impulsive and uses his "gut" to make decisions rather than reason and intellect.

Posted by: Jaxas | September 25, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

On the one hand McCain risked being accused of playing politics. But Obama blew a chance to do a Presidential thing. Americans know these to are not directly involved in hammering out the details of this 700 billion dollar rescue plan. But McCain and Obama are the leaders of their respective parties. If they are leaders they both can work behind the scenes to push this Bail out to pass. To say "call me if you need me" or "America needs to see a single debate on time is short-sighted or "Vanity". It is clear McCain is risking alot. People down in the polls do not suspend campaigns or delay debates. This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now.

Posted by: Moniker | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM

Awesome take!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, this strikes me as the rare instance in which both candidates are making valid points. Yes, the government could stand to benefit from having two of the Senate's most prominent members leave the campaign trail for a few days and get back to the work of actually legislating, as McCain's decision points out. On the other hand, Obama is absolutely right that what nervous American voters, 40 days from casting votes in what might shape up to be the most important presidential election in nearly a century, need right now is not for their candidates to disappear behind the curtain of Washington deal-making, but rather to stand in front of us and give us some idea of how this current crisis ought to impact our decision-making on November 4th. Both candidates are right. Both are taking huge risks: McCain risks falling off the media's radar during a crucial stretch of the campaign and seeming ineffectual (after all, as a Senator, it's not as though he's going to be able to effect some dramatic change just by returning to Washington), while Obama risks seeming like a crass opportunist. I hesitate to say this for fear of seeming partisan, but the difference in their responses seems to reflect a difference in their governing styles, as defined recently by their campaigning: McCain is retreating inside the bunker and leaving the public out in the cold, while Obama is actually putting some oomph behind his stated intention of making government more accessible to the public. Just my two cents. I suspect that last part wouldn't make the excerpting cut anyway.

Posted by: Albert | September 25, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Nick Collins III no alarming is Obama hiring it's Ceo to search for your Vice President...

Posted by: Bill | September 25, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

If McCain skips the debates it will likely go down as one of the worst political gaffes in recent history. Two reasons- First, the timing of his decision betrays his motive--if he truly thought that suspending the campaign would help the current crisis, why did he wait until the last minute to do it? We've known for close to two weeks that something very serious was happening. McCain's timing is actually closer to the revelation that his support in the polls is dropping fast. It seems pretty clear that this is a gimmick rather than a serious attempt at solving the crisis, and Americans will see right through it.

Second, as Obama has pointed out, having the debate is not exclusive with working on the crisis. There's simply no substantive reason to do it, and it appears that the vast majority of Americans agree.

Overall this greatly magnifies one of McCain's less desirable personality traits- he's a gambler. Sometimes leaders have to take risks. But when they do it in excess, as in this case, it's almost a little scary to imagine them in the White House.

Posted by: Chris G | September 25, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

This is going to be a problem for McCain if Obama is the only one that shows up. Obama can simply have 90 minutes of free prime time air to calmly answer questions, explain his position on any issue that comes up. By contrast, McCain will seem reactionary, impulsive and unable to deal with more than one issue at a time. And all the while, the congressional Democrats can complain that McCain's presence is hurting, not helping, a deal get done.

Posted by: oscars2212 | September 25, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

If Moniker's comment does not get in Chris is crazy.

Posted by: Jerry | September 25, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

yesterday

Mccain says "no more campaigning and "delay" the debates! and maybe indefinitely Palin's debate"

this morning he is having a freakin' press conference about the economy

wtf?!!! how many lies ...how many manipulations how many trillions does this guy have to be involved in losing us...before we say

throw these bums out!...

8 years going for a 9th

same team

same tactics

a trillion on the s&L crisis
a trillion on the Iraq war
a trillion again on the same issues from the S&L crisis

how many trillions does McCain need to be involved in losing before we throw him OUT!

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. We learned this week that Fannie has been paying McCain's campaign manager $180,000 per year since 2005. Fannie just stopped paying the guy, and shortly thereafter McCain announces his campaign is suspended. So it turns out that the special interests really were bankrolling McCain's campaign. When they stopped paying, McCain stopped campaigning.

If that isn't alarming, I don't know what is.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

On the one hand McCain risked being accused of playing politics. But Obama blew a chance to do a Presidential thing. Americans know these to are not directly involved in hammering out the details of this 700 billion dollar rescue plan. But McCain and Obama are the leaders of their respective parties. If they are leaders they both can work behind the scenes to push this Bail out to pass. To say "call me if you need me" or "America needs to see a single debate on time is short-sighted or "Vanity". It is clear McCain is risking alot. People down in the polls do not suspend campaigns or delay debates. This is not about multi-tasking either. Obama is the first guy to have to admit he can't do Townhalls with McCain and campaign at the same time. If so there would be no issue with America seeing these two together now.

Posted by: Moniker | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I feel McCain will blink first. The reason is that negotiations are under way and now, if it is the desire for McCain to inject politics into this debate, the political stunt will not work. The reason, the Democrats are in power. All they have to do is a simple behind the scenes stall tactic, just for a day at the most, and drag this negotiation beyond the scheduled debate. John McCain, knowing that he has no real specific negotiating role in the drafting of specific legislation due to him not being on the Financial or Banking Committees, will have no choice to show up at the debate with Barack Obama. If he does not show up he runs the risk of allowing Obama to have a nationally televised spotlight to give an unchallenged overview of the economic situation and what he would do to fix the situation.

Though it's early in this new fracas that the John McCain campaign has unleashed, I think the American people are aware that John McCain, due to his numerous flubs over the economy, really has nothing to negotiate. It will be interesting to see what the polls show, but I think that this move is one too many from the McCain camp and will force John McCain to blink first.

Posted by: Brian B | September 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

yesterday Mccain says "no more campaigning and no debates!"

this morning he is having a press conference about the economy

wtf?!!! how many lies ...how many manipulations how many trillions does this guy have to be involved in losing us...before we say

throw these bums out!...

8 years going for a 9th

same team

same tactics

a trillion on the s&L crisis
a trillion on the Iraq war
a trillion again on the same issues from the S&L crisis

how many trillions does McCain need to be involved in losing before we throw him OUT!

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

So DebateMania I might not go through. Hopefully people can get a refund for this PPV event. Maybe Congress will include it as part of the bailout.

John McCain is going to Washington to get his Republican colleagues unified on this resolution. He is the leader of the party and he needs to make sure that his fellow Republicans in both chambers reach across the aisle. And it is political, not only for him but for those running for the House and the Senate. If it is seen that members of the Republican party kill this thing, it will have a big effect come 4 November.

Now let's look at how Barack Obama is handling this. Call me if I am needed. Is he even the leader of the Democratic party? Or will he just let Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid take care of matters? Is this what one should expect from an Obama administration?

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | September 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

This is not a staring contest; it is a chess match.

McCain, being the more instinctive and unconventional player, is trying to fight his way out of a bad position with bold and unpredictable moves.

Obama, the cooler, more thoughtful player, is carefully considering his counter moves, willing to give a little ground in order to remain in control of the board and avert an unforeseen gambit.

There will be no debate on Friday unless there is an agreement on the bailout beforehand. If this is the case, McCain will have perhaps gained some advantage.

There will be no spectacle of the empty chair. Obama is not so tone-deaf as to believe this sort of theatrics would work to his advantage in this situation.

The most likely outcome is that there is no debate Friday, and it will not be re-scheduled. The remaining debate will either go on as scheduled, or the vice-presidential debate will be bumped.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 25, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama should show up for 60 to 90 minutes of answering questions and get the free air time. If McCain chickens out, well...I think he looks like he is ducking because of the polls. It's all negative for him. Palin was a hail-mary pass that helped him. Bailing out from this debate will look like what it is...cut and run. It's irrational to think he can't get on a plane 2 hours before the debate and arrive.

Posted by: Jacquie | September 25, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't think you can say "Stop the World I Want to Get Off" when you are asking me to vote you into the office that will have to manage a financial crisis, 2 wars that are going badly, Russia,Iran, and your own party which is in full revolt mode.

Posted by: Sondra | September 25, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

He was losing in the polls. The media wasn't paying attention. So it was either this, or announce he had become a proud black man...

Posted by: samson151 | September 25, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

throw these bums out...

8 years going for a 9th

same team

same tactics

a trillion on the s&L crisis
a trillion on the Iraq war
a trillion again on the same issues from the S&L crisis

how many trillions does McCain need to be involved in losing before we throw him OUT!

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Whether it is an airplane, a marriage, or a campaign, we've learned one thing about McCain: When the going get's tough, McCain bails out.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I think there is no doubt Mccain is not prepared to the debate and is having a "Panic attack". It has been reported repeatedly over the last few weeks the people around him are very worried. Mccain will not practice or rehearse for the debate. One Mccain aid made a very strange comment when they said Mccain has been sleeping a lot lately. Mccain does not look good.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The McCain/Palin campaign seems to believe that the less we see and hear from the GOP candidates, the better their chances in November. I tend to agree.

Posted by: Irae | September 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

McCain will "politically" blink first. This McCain campaign's "irrational" political stunt is 9 days too late! If McCain would have not said that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong" 10 days ago, and then on the same day that "Black Monday" (Sept. 15th) occurred suggested suspending his campaign he would have looked more bi-partisan adhering to his campaign's theme, "Country First". But he didn't. The past 10 days were becoming a "game-changer" for McCain's chances.

GW Bush is trying to help McCain look more bi-partisan. Why else would GW Bush in his financial crisis address Wednesday night mention Obama and McCain by name? Neither Obama nor McCain are apart of the banking or finance committees and will not be taking part in the negotiations.

The majority of Americans are expecting McCain and Obama to debate Friday night on foreign policy. No doubt economic policy will work its way into the foreign policy debate. The format could change to one of economic policy if the organizers of the debate choose to do so.

How dumb would McCain look if Obama is in Mississippi for the debate while McCain is in D.C. outside of the real negotiations taking place with Congressional leaders already moving towards compromise on the bailout?

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | September 25, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Campaigns are like a chess match. McCain clearly sees the "ebb and flow" moving away from him and decided to gamble.

One can't blame him for that. A desperate man is always the most dangerous one. With 5 weeks to go, any candidate trending downward is going to be desperate.

What is needed is for these candidates to state their views clearly and abide with a plan that will not be completely to their liking. That's leadership. We don't need joint statements or photo ops, which is exactly what this meeting is today.

Posted by: Bigshot | September 25, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The problem here is a simple one. McCain views the campaign as a marriage. The current campaign, like his first wife, is no longer in the ideal form he would prefer. McCain's suspension of the debate is his attempt to divorce this less healthy campaign in favor of a slimmer, wealthier, younger version of the original. Unfortunately for McCain, Cindy Campaign isn't coming through that door any time soon.

Posted by: Nick Collins III | September 25, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Its hard to say who will "blink," but its advisable for Obama to hold his ground and force MCain's hand. The two of them can do what they can today and tomorrow for this financial mess and its attendant legislation and then head out to Ole Miss for the real showdown.

Many of us around America are holding debate parties, eagerly awaiting what these two men will say on the financial front and a host of other issues. If Obama holds his ground, and McCan still refuses, it will be hard for McCain to show how that is putting "country first," and his refusal might create bad play for him, a kind of my way or the highway approach that got President Bush into trouble with Americans.

Perhaps McCain thinks he has nothing to lose in placing himself at the center of the financial issue. But as yet, he is a mere 1 in 100 Senators. His campaign suspension reads as hubris--"look how indispensable I am"--as opposed to responsible--"look how I can address this and face off in front of an eager populace, too."

My prediction: Obama will stand firm and McCain will be forced to cave.

Posted by: Elle Aitch | September 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Mccain says "postpone campaigning!"

yesterday

this morning

in a few moments
he is giving a press conference on the economy?

wtf?

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

McCain's desire to postpone the debate may not be at all about the debate or his preparedness or lack of it. It's a long shot, but nowadays long shots seem to be at the order of the day. Anything goes. What if McCain wants to buy time and show up with a new running mate? Who? It doesn't matter at this stage of the farce. Don't forget that Lieberman is always there as the perennial stand-by!Considering Palin's fiasco in New York City and the falling polls this is not so far-fetched. He'll find a way to blame it on a number of factors like the weather, the NYTimes, Palin's moose stew, etc. Leave it to the maverick; smoke amd mirrors is his game!

Posted by: JoeG. | September 25, 2008 9:07 AM
---------
reply;

REMEMBER SPIRO AGNEW?

Am I the only one who sees what is going on here with Palin? We all know she has no qualifications and she was just picked as window dressing and as a stooge to say what ever they put in her mouth. No candidate in their right mind would really want her on their ticket. This is what I think will happen and may already be secretly in the plan.

If Mccain manages to get elected, they will get rid of Palin as soon as they can, using all of the scandal surrounding her as the reason. There is already information of drug use by her son and both daughters and Enquirer has eluded to something coming out about Palin and her husband are regular drug users. Once rid of her, Mcain then will put in Lieberman like he wanted to all along and that is how it will play out. What do you think, make sense?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

How is this a blinking contest? Whatever happens, Obama will show up at the debate Friday night. McCain will either show up after all (either because some sort of deal gets signed or because he weasels out) or he won't. More aptly, McCain's stunt is a suicide threat. Having aimed a loaded pistol at his head, will he pull the trigger, or will he chicken out?

Posted by: Lisa | September 25, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Now McCain is using his speech at the CGI to lay out his ideas on the bailout. Shameful. He could have just held a press conference. The old Maverick is crashing another plane: his campaign.

Posted by: DemoDevil | September 25, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

McCain's team is just trying to find a way to get Palin out of a debate they, not necessarily me, clearly think she is not ready for. Please, innocently suggesting that they supplant the VP debate. They are terrified she is going to not be otrn apart by Biden, but that she will simply reveal that she has no real command of the issues as of yet. This is not to say that she wouldn't with time, because she is clearly an intelligent person and a savvy politician, but she is on a steep learning curve, and she sounds like it, and the McCain camp knows it. This is just another one of their attempts to hide her, like with appearing on her own and hiding her from the part of the press that refuses to show "proper deference".

Posted by: bradleyhirsh | September 25, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

No purpose is served by postponing either the campaign or debate. The public will be less informed not only about the resolution being hammered out in Congress but also about the opinions of the two candidates. Perhaps no other issue is as crucial in determining the real leadership skills or demeanor of the two candidates, as this present crisis. Cancellation has the odor of cover up.

Posted by: kaycwgner | September 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I don’t think either one will blink. McCain is gambling that he can appear to exude leadership qualities. He has already rolled the dice and now cannot afford to back down and show up for the debate, as that would be perceived as a lack of judgement on his part. On the other hand, Obama doesn’t even have to put on a game face. All he has to do is show up in Mississippi Friday night.

Posted by: osmor | September 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Neither will. Obama got sucker punched and outflanked and he knows it. Harry Reid will rescue Obama somehow if this White House summit today doesn't do the trick. This meeting could also give McCain an excuse to get back with the debate program. Weird that Bush needs McCain and all of a sudden McCain needs Bush. At least, Obama was thrown off his prep schedule of sitting down in Florida for 3 days. That alone was worth the risk to McCain politically with Florida being such an important state. Personally, I think neither one of them is looking presidential at the moment.

Posted by: Jackson828 | September 25, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the US has officially jumped the shark. If this were a movie, it would be one of those Leslie Nielsen "Airplane" movies.

Posted by: VA resident | September 25, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

McCain's desire to postpone the debate may not be at all about the debate or his preparedness or lack of it. It's a long shot, but nowadays long shots seem to be at the order of the day. Anything goes. What if McCain wants to buy time and show up with a new running mate? Who? It doesn't matter at this stage of the farce. Don't forget that Lieberman is always there as the perennial stand-by!Considering Palin's fiasco in New York City and the falling polls this is not so far-fetched. He'll find a way to blame it on a number of factors like the weather, the NYTimes, Palin's moose stew, etc. Leave it to the maverick; smoke amd mirrors is his game!

Posted by: JoeG. | September 25, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

How about this McCain rushes to Bush for a hug on Wall Street (Hug #2) and Schmidt gloating in his war doesn't realize it yet but they just lost the election.

Posted by: Kevin | September 25, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

.
.
.
Obama should propose a swap: Have the VP candidates debate Friday night instead. Biden's ready. Is Palin? Cue the deer in headlights.
.
.
.

Posted by: egc52556 | September 25, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The debate should go on as scheduled. Obama is absolutely right when he says a president must be able to handle more than one issue at a time; and he's right when he says this is precisely the time for the American people to hear from the candidates.

If McCain fails to show up for the debate, Jim Lehrer should still question Obama alone, with 30 second pauses and a light shining at McCain's empty podium.

Posted by: corbett | September 25, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Clearly this is a ploy to prevent Palin from having to debate... It is like the GOP convention where he used the same tactic to prevent Bush and Cheney from speaking live at the convention. McCain is a dishonorable, unpatriotic, manipulative fool. Trying to hide Palin and trying to change his colors after years of supporting the folks who got us in this mess. John McCain is unsuited to be President.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | September 25, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

McCain's campaign is willing to give Barack Obama a full hour of free live TV air time to field questions from American voters about whatever is on their minds? I'll believe that when I see it.

Posted by: Eric | September 25, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Is McCain planning on taking a horse-drawn carriage to Mississippi from Washington? If so, I completely understand his dilemma. If his campaign plane is functioning, however, I'm not sure I understand why he can't conduct Senate business and make it to the debate on time. Doesn't he do it all the time with evening fundraisers?

Posted by: trace1 | September 25, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH MCCAINS LEFT EYE?
I have mentioned several times over the last few weeks about a strange facial tic Mccain has developed.
Now in one of todays columns I found this.


Joe and Rob both mentioned this to me in the past week, and now several readers have brought it up. I also just noticed that Atrios picked up on this too today. Something wrong, changed, droopy or puffy with McCain's left eye. Anybody else notice anything? I just searched Google a bit more and found references to his eye being droopy in April and May of this year as well. But whatever it is, it seems to be intermittent. (McCain has had 4 bouts of melanoma, and did in 2002 have a benign growth removed from under his left eye.)

I decided to take a look at McCain's Herbert Hoover Speech, as Rob calls the economic speech McCain gave last Friday in Wisconsin, and tried to see what it was that Rob was noticing wrong with McCain's left eye. It was only a 15 second video, so I pulled it up in my iMovie movie editor and checked out each frame (see a selection of still shots above). What you see is apparently McCain's left eye more closed than this right, and/or when he blinks, his left eye is lazier, or blinks slightly out of phase with his right. Either way, it does look like something's up. Perhaps McCain has always had a bad left eye, though it's odd that so many people just noticed this week.

Actually, there's one more thing. A reader wrote me about a week ago, commenting on how suddenly McCain's make up had changed. As though the campaign was suddenly trying to hide something. I read the email, kind of shrugged, and went on my way. Well, today that reader wrote back and noted the story that came out earlier today about McCain's apparently new $5000 make-up artist. Isn't that interesting - suddenly when everyone is noticing something wrong, something changed, with McCain's face, he hires a $5000 make-up artist, and she now seems to be attached at his hip.
One cause may be "Bell's palsy"
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/bells/bells.htm

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I think John McCain (and Sarah Palin) will simply blow off all of the debates and then excoriate the Liberal Media for questioning his Bold Leadership of putting Country First. (I hear he's a Maverick, you know.)

Oops. That was rankly partisan, wasn't it?

Posted by: McMaverick | September 25, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Obama will reiterate his desire to debate, but gently verbally defer to the commission on presidential debates for guidance. If McCain is unwilling to debate on Friday, the debate will be cancelled by the commission without any other changes to the remaining three debates. The debate commission rightly will be unwilling to be seen to bending to the politics of the race, but obviously cannot have a debate where one of the debaters is not present. McCain will propose to replace the debate with a town hall meeting arranged by the two candidates, and Obama will decline. Moving forward, Obama will gently emphasize that McCain was unable to multitask in the middle of a crisis, stoking concerns that McCain is unfit for the presidency.

Posted by: TW | September 25, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The world of political reality: If BHO and McC are agreed in general on what they want, their view is more important at the table b/c it represents what the next Prez favors.

That table may only need to be the appearance at GWB's invitation, or it may extend to each nominee working over his caucus to get votes or it may extend to cancelling the debate if a working weekend is to begin on Friday afternoon.

If they are not in general agreement they are two senators with cancelling votes and nothing much to contribute.

The world of political theater: a debate without McC makes no sense. Partisans will blame the other guy. Indies are not predictable. The most probable scenarios follow [remember, this is theater now].

If McC joined in the announcement of a bailout on Fri. night while BHO appeared alone in Oxford, Indies would applaud McC.
BHO would probably lose the election.
Thus, if McC does not show up, BHO will go to DC, too. If no compromise is reached
by Monday, Indies would think McC should have debated, but it will be a non-starter as an issue.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | September 25, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

McCain's suspension of his campaign confirms that he, like Republican candidates before him, view the election as a game. Americans are seeking leadership in candidates, and instead we listen to manipulative, deceitful, and downright false claims in McCain's speeches and attack ads, designed to mobilize conservative voters and discourage Democrats. McCain (and Palin) criticize Obama's character and patriotism. They mock his views. By doing so, they mock millions of Americans who share those views. To them, this isn't about America, this is about the Republican Party winning. To McCain and Palin, this election is a game. It's not about what is important to Americans. If it were, McCain would not be trying to delay this long-anticipated debate where he will have the opportunity to finally dig into the substance of his campaign and show America how a McCain presidency would be better in dealing with the things Americans care about. If McCain and Palin were not treating this election as a game, they wouldn't be hiding Palin from reporters. Why doesn't Palin speak to the media? If Palin is ready to take over as commander in chief, why is she afraid to hold a press conference where she can answer the questions Americans are asking about her? How about accepting tough one on one interviews? Obama has done an interview with Bill O'Reilly! There's some courage - taking it right to the opposition and letting them do their worst. Palin accepts an interview with Katie Curic? Didn't Katie Curic's show get cancelled or something? What a joke. What, is Palin hiding something? Is she planning on hiding from the media if she is elected vice president? Kind of reminds me of when Dick Cheney went into hiding in an "undisclosed location" after the 9/11 attacks. Is that what we can expect from Palin if something like that happens again? At some point, Palin is going to have to cease acting like a coward and come out of the helicopter to deal with these wolves directly. If McCain wants to show leadership, he needs to demonstrate that he takes this election seriously and show up at the debate. Otherwise, we can assume that McCain is afraid of directly confronting the wolves, too.

Posted by: I want to see the debate | September 25, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you nailed it last night. Anyone who thinks that anything a candidate does this close to the election isn't about politics, doesn't know much about politics.

McCain is looking for a straw to grasp. If this crisis so desperately needed his attention, why wasn't he on the first plane back to Washington on Saturday?

The flop sweat is starting to stink.

Posted by: Debra | September 25, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Gingrich -- a chief orchestrator of the impeachment proceedings against Clinton -- resigned because of his own adulterous affair that was about to become public, not because of "a disappointing election."

Posted by: Sam | September 25, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

after the last 8 years (the economy, iraq, guantanamo, torturegate, bush doctrine, darfur, privatize social security, no bin laden, immigration mess, blackwater, housing crisis, jack abramoff, abu graib, unemployment, pat tillman, halliburton, medicare pt D, executive compensations, larry craig, stem cell research veto, outsourced manufacturing, katrina, walter reed decay, global warming denials, us attorney firings, energy task force, karl rove, valerie plame, foley page scandal, greeted as liberators, mission accomplished, enron, swift boating, everything dick cheney has done), it's almost an embarrassment that the American people would consider giving the keys of the car to the same shoot first, ask questions later crowd. if you don't think America can be better than that, you should vote republican, the rest of us will vote Obama 08 and help put this country's future back in the hands of its great people.

Posted by: ed | September 25, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

The debate about the debate is, in fact, better than a foreign policy debate! It's a foreign policy dress rehearsal! We have two presidential campaigns--mini countries, if you will--facing each other down. Consider the narrative as we've been able to construct it so far: Obama, the diplomat, calls McCain to *talk* about the ensuing crisis and how both parties ("countries," in my analogy) might work together to solve it. He makes the call without preconditions but with preparation (he's been meeting with his economic advisers and talking to Reid, Pelosi, and Paulson regularly). John McCain, the Bush protege, certain and quick and bold in his decisions, acts unilaterally and takes a gamble. He's the new Decider, afterall.

Given the respective candidate's foreign policy philosophies, I think that the next steps are pretty predictable. John McCain's whole political identity is staked on "never quitting, never giving up." If the bailout deal doesn't pass by Friday, I imagine that he will skip the debate. That's right: he simply won't show up. And if he were President, I imagine he would skip important meetings with other world leaders--either when those leaders don't agree with him or when McCain gets a vague notion that skipping such meetings would put "country first." If McCain becomes President, this sort of posturing will *no doubt* lead to at least one unnecessary war in the future.

I don't think Obama will "blink," so to speak. I think that he'll show up in Mississippi, as he has said he will. In lieu of a debate, perhaps Obama will give a thoughtful, perceptive speech on the connections between the current crisis in the economy and American foreign policy.

The debate will be rescheduled for Oct. 2. Even though this won't be what Obama wants, he'll be willing to compromise for the sake of bringing this discussion to the country. I don't think that he's stubborn on these sorts of things. And--the punchline--Sarah Palin will not have to ever debate Joe Biden (I really think that this whole thing is an elaborate ploy to get her out of Tuesday's questioning.)

Or--
The bailout deal will be brokered by tomorrow, John McCain will have contributed nothing, and, nonetheless, John McCain will show up at the Friday night debate with that old "Mission Accomplished" banner. (Whatever happened to that fine specimen of American cultural history?)


Posted by: Chris M. | September 25, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The debate was going to be on foreign policy. If there was a debate that would give McCain a boost, it was this one. But if the focus of the debate (and post-debate headlines) focused on the economy, there would be no benefit. Therefore, it's to McCain's benefit to push off this debate topic. He'll take the hit on looking like he's avoiding the debate to get the chance to make his case on foreign policy.

My cynical side also says that they were so afraid of putting Palin up in the VP debate that if they could get this one rescheduled for that date and cancel the VP debate, it's a two-fer winner.

As well, after making Obama look like the one who thinks too much of himself, what makes McCain think that he holds the key to keeping the markets out of a panic? If he was so concerned, where was he on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? The only difference was the WaPo and Fox polls showing the campaign faltering. So onto the next crisis to distract the public...

Posted by: APoutasse | September 25, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain has already blinked (or at least proved he's playing politics.) He's still running attack ads on GMA and the Today show in Cleveland. I can only hope that while I was channel surfing, The Early Show was also able to benefit from his campaign's economic support.

Posted by: JD | September 25, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

be clear

the years 2000 to 2006

were the years that destroyed our country if we fail

and now that side of the aisle is where there is no progress coming.

Mccain has to deal with the people that picked him

that is why he has to go back.

The rest of the people who have egg on there face are at least saying "we f#$%ed up...and it not time to fight...it's time to get something done...

so now the people who lead our direction for 6 years in the congress (from 2000 to 2006 are trying to screw us even further)

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

and be clear the only "reaching " at this point to be done...and the only place concensus is having problems

is within John mcCain one side of the aisle.

He personally had to go...because he belongs to the morons who got us here...who are fighting amongst themselves because they don't want to fix ANYTHING! THE REPUBLICANS DON'T WANT ANY CHANGE...

we are seeing a clear reason why these morons for 6 years put us so deep in a hole that it is almost impossible to get out.

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Define what it means to "blink" in this context. If McCain doesn't show up to debate on Friday and Obama doesn't go ahead without him and "debate" alone, who won? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that the American people will have lost.

Mark my words: due to scheduling, or this crisis or some other "crisis" this is a part of a McCain team plan ultimately to prevent a VP debate from ever happening. And who could blame them?

Posted by: Teebob2000 | September 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the question is will the Commission on Presidential Debates blink. If it continues as planned, McCain has lost on his gambit. If they agree to his request to reschedule, Obama loses his podium. Seems to me the Commission holds all the cards here.

Posted by: trace1 | September 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

People want to hear the viewpoints of the guy who will be handling all this

and they don't want to hear it a week from now...they don't want to hear it in a month...

they want to hear it last week.

and if it couldn't be then

THEY WANT TO HEAR THEM FRIDAY NIGHT!

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

McCain's statement's wording didn't make clear how firm his position is. Is it an absolute? Or was it merely a suggestion? He didn't say how flexible he'd be to the other side.

Obama on the other hand was responding to McCain and so we know how flexible he is to the other side: not flexible at all.

McCain could now dig his heels in, but I think he may well concede to Obama—digging in wouldn't become the bipartisan mood he's trying to fashion. As well, skipping the debate is a high risk move and probably overkill in McCain's desire to show engagement and leadership on this issue.

Instead, McCain can participate and then, a few weeks from now, have surrogates raise Obama's reluctance to move the debate. They will sell McCain as a leader on this issue, and Obama as focused on politics and his supposed crass ambition winning the election.

Posted by: Mustafa Hirji | September 25, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

McCain will blink first, for one simple reason: the American people are not on his side. A survey done by SurveyUSA yesterday showed that only 10 percent of respondents thought the debate should be postponed. Both campaigns, I'm sure, have seen the numbers; why would Obama change his position?

Posted by: Jeff Rosenberg | September 25, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

this is McCain and Bush ...
the evil Batman and Robin of the "destroy our country set"...

pulling tactical gamesmanship to lure the new leader into a ploy...

a trillion on S&L
a trillion gone on Iraq
a trillion again on the deregulation and lack of oversight on wall street.

(and don't believe the hyp Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only a smaller piece of the problem the lack of oversight and wheeling and dealing in the people buying those two was the bigger problem...no matter how they try to draw your eye away just like they have done with EVERY SINGLE ISSUE in the past 8 years)

same team

same tactics
same facts...or lack there of...

throw these bums out!)

Posted by: dl | September 25, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

John McCain Lied!!!

I heard a John McCain ad at 6:30 am, Thursday, September 25th on an FM radio station here in La Crosse, WI.

John McCain said that he would suspend his campaign beginning on Thursday, September 25th. John McCain said that his campaign suspension included not running advertisements.

John McCain is trying to have it both ways.

Posted by: Mike Ross | September 25, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't see this as a presidential staring content. McCain has already given himself a mighty big out. His camp has basically said that McCain won't miss the Friday debate unless no legislative resolution has been reached by congress by Friday. Since most people in Washington seem to think a deal will be reached by then, McCain's not risking much.

Also, while McCain would love to play this as a presidential-looking move to executive power brokering in Washington, the truth is the cameras will be in Mississippi, and a thousand talking heads across the networks yammmering about Barack Obama standing ready to speak to the American people is a net loss for McCain. It begs the question, if a candidate is in Washington to look presidential, but no networks are there to broadcast it, does he win any electoral votes?

I fully expect McCain to be there. The more interesting thing to me will be to see how the debate, which was supposed to be on foreign policy shifts in tone or content to accomodate what's on everyone's mind...the economy. Also, leading into the debate (and possibly during) can McCain's spin that he wanted to go back to Washington to solve this problem beat Obama's spin that a President should be able to do two things at once.

thinkpop.wordpress.com

Posted by: jamesbedell | September 25, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I think McCain really postponed the first debate because, essentially, he's not ready; not prepared to handle in-depth questions on the economy, for one, now nor at any time.
His campaign thus far has been "Personal pronoun, reflexive form of verb to be, POW." That's about all you'll get from him between now and November 4th that's close to reality-based. As for his "Trophy V-P"...the less said, the better-- for all parties concerned!

Posted by: MickNamVet | September 25, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

McCain's decision to suspend his campaign during this time of need for the country is the right decesion. I think that Obama should do the same. Why should they be debating foreign relations when we have historical domestic issues at home. I think the debate can be postponed till an intelligent plan has been reached by the congress.

Posted by: cms | September 25, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure all the members of the House and Senate were sitting around this week telling themselves, "Man, if only we had John McCain here and his expertise on the economy, we would surely find a way out of this mess. Maybe he can bring Phil Gramm with him, who could turn this into a 'mental' financial meltdown, or Carly Fiorina, who has some first-hand experience with failed corporate executives."

Please. John McCain is suspending his campaign because the polls show that the American people overwhelmingly trust Senator Obama more when it comes to the economy, and he's watching his numbers slip in battleground state after battleground state. Plus, by suspending his campaign, he gets to save money. And if he can use this somehow to cancel the VP debate, well, that would work out just swell for him.

He's certainly not putting Country First, just as he didn't put Country First when he recklessly picked the woefully inexperienced Sarah Palin to be his running mate (or as she might say, picked her so he could be *her* running mate).

Posted by: Cheap Ploy | September 25, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

One third of American's are expected to vote early through mail-in ballots; the election has already started. As such, the debate should be held.

In addition, Sarah Palin, who has touted her "readiness" to be president, should also get in front of reporters and anwsers questions. All we have heard from her so far has been campaign slogans. The VP debate should be held as scheduled as well.

Posted by: DaveC | September 25, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The debate is necessary - the election is 40 days away and we have barely gone beyond liptsticks and pigs. I was once a firm supporter of McCain, vintage 2000, but he is looking desperate.

We have a sitting president who is working on the crisis - all signs from people on the inside is that a campaign dog and pony with McCain and Obama would be an unwelcome distraction.

It also seems like the McCain campaign is doing anything they can to wall off Sarah Palin from interacting with the media. I've read rumors of her debate with Biden being pushed back because the King of Deregulation thinks he is a necessary voice in the bailout negotiations and can't be available tomorrow for his own debate.

I have been wanting to see Sarah Palin talk without a script or soundbites, so that she could be given a fair shake. The bubble prevents that from happening and I have to wonder why the campaign is so afraid of having her speak. You don't cover something in bubble wrap unless you're afraid it's fragile enough to break under pressure. That tells me what I need to know about her.

Posted by: Suzanne | September 25, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

There are two balls in play, and McCain wants us to take our eyes off both of them.

Saying he won't debate unless the bill passes
is nothing short of an ultimatum. If the bill passes and is unpopular, he can blame the Dems for being in a hurry because they so wanted that debate to showcase Barack Obama in the best light(after Obama turned down those town hall meetings, too---that is sure to be mentioned) If the bill doesn't pass by McCain's deadline, he can accuse Dems of dragging their heels to avoid the foreign policy forum that is said to be McCain's strong suit. At the same time, McCain avoids addressing the issue of foreign policy as it relates to global economy---
something that is sure to come up if the debate goes forward.

Partisan politics at its most cynical--
holding both the election process and the needed legislation, and thus, you might say, the American people and the entire world, hostage. Unconscionable.

Posted by: Jackie | September 25, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

McCain and Bush are more or less on the same team, and Bush is still President. Thus, this detour provides an opportunity for a pre-arranged play in which McCain upstages Obama. Although the bailout negotiations are well under way, it is still possible to exaggerate the importance of a minor detail and to arrange for McCain to take credit for insisting on it. Aikido politics.

Posted by: FrankM | September 25, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Obama only loses this for sure if he blinks. If he stands firm he can spin this in any one of several ways ("McCain wants to go to washington to have a closed dorr meeting. I want to continue the dialog with America." "I am ready to debate, if Senator Mccain is not and if Governor Palin is not, then America will have to make its judgement without hearing from them." "Senator McCain wants to stop the dialogue and start the wheeler dealing.")
If McCain stands firm and Obama stands firm, all of Obama's votes will think this is a McCain stunt and some of his will as well.
If Obama blinks he looks weak. He won't blink.

Posted by: Pragmatist | September 25, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Of course the reason that McCain has been sliming Obama with false statements and advertisements is Obama's fault: he wouldn't agree to a series Townhall Meetings. McCain set's the agenda and if Obama doesn't follow the script, he has a Big Mac Attack. No doubt this current stunt will pave the way for Big Mac to Attack Obama's leadership, er lack of followship. The question I have for Mr Fix, is how McCain continues to get a free pass? Now both he and his VP candidate are hiding from the tough questions that need to be answered.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

After Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric, it's obvious the Republicans desperately need to shut down the VP debate. McCain can't allow Palin on the same stage with Biden. McCain won't show up Friday, and will insist on participating in the VP debate.

Posted by: Ken | September 25, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Vote none of the above.

Lest face it you really aren't happy with either of these clunkers.

Posted by: robinhood | September 25, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, Sarah, McSame's lapdog, Palin has plenty of experience staring down the Russians (because we all know that Russia is next to Alaska). Now she can try staring down someone who is staring back.

Posted by: ex-conservative | September 25, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how, after the White House and Democratic leaders announced the framework of a plan that will pass over the weekend or on Monday, McCain can continue to say that he is absolutely necessary to the process.

They'll pass it with or without him, and if he doesn't show up for the debate Barack Obama will have an hour of free network time to himself.

McCain can't claim after last night that he is responsible for any solutions, and therefore loses the ability to skip the debate.

Posted by: McCain will Blink | September 25, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

John McCain already raised suspicions of a self-serving political stunt when he called for postponing the debate on the day he plummeted in the polls. But he irreparably damaged his reputation when he suggested that the debate be moved to Oct. 2 and the vice presidential debate be postponed indefinitely. How much more clear can it be that neither he nor Palin are prepared? And if they can't even answer questions, how can they lead?

Posted by: mo-lama | September 25, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

"The decision yesterday by John McCain to suspend his campaign in order to deal with the financial crisis on Wall Street and Barack Obama's refusal to follow suit "

Right from the start you decide to frame this for McCain, and as a newspaper writer you know most people don't read past paragraph three.

You say McCain 1) suspended campaign to 2) deal with the financial crisis.

Then you say Obama refused to follow suit.

This is spin in any number of ways. McCain get's to "deal" while Obama "refused", even though McCain isn't dealing with the crisis any more than 534 other members of Congress including Obama. Even though the framework of the deal was announced last night and McCain still hasn't suspended his campaign -- that happens later this morning.

Also, Obama hasn't refused to deal with the financial crisis. He has been on the phone to the Senate, White House AND SENATOR MCCain negotiating changes and working on a compromise.

McCain held a press conference, met with former Clinton supporter de Rothschild and went for an interview with Katie Couric after getting press for canceling on David Letterman.

The fact is McCain is not doing any more dealing with the financial crisis than Obama, and yet Obama can also run his campaign and prep for a debate.

Posted by: Nice try | September 25, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Sen. John McCain famously said that America was more important then winning an election when he wisely pushed for the surge in Iraq when many in both parties either wanted to hunker down in the bunker or cut and run.

McCain has again shown leadership in suspending his campaign to focus on the people's business in Washington before congress runs off to campaign.

I congratulate Sen. Obama for joining with Sen. McCain in addressing the financial crisis in as bipartisan a fashion as is possible.

The Friday debate on eloquence versus bluntness can certainly be postponed.

Posted by: Xanadu | September 25, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

We'll of course know more about reactions later today (Thursday), but there's an element that damages McCain potentially fatally if Obama is daring enough to take advantage of it. That is, not only would McCain blink, but Obama could frame the whole political ploy (reasonably accurately) as McCain depending *on Bush* for a sneaky political tactic. That is, as John Dickerson at Slate noted, Obama had no real choice but to accept the Bush invitation to McCain and Obama to come to DC. But there's no real point to it; by Wednesday night it seemed the Congressional Democrats, led by Barney Frank, were on the verge of a bill that would pass, and McCain was already getting withering criticism, perhaps most visibly by David Letterman. I think first of all that means McCain will almost have to do the debate; he'll claim that's because his leadership and "country first" pushed through a bill in time, but that claim will be pretty quickly exposed as ludicrous. If Obama wants to go for the kill, he explicitly denounces McCain's use of Bush to pursue this political gimmick, thus sealing McCain and Bush at the hip. But that's a potentially risky move, that is, requiring Obama to escalate the rhetoric undeniably and personally. Obama, I suspect, may be too risk-averse to do that.

Posted by: gdelpa | September 25, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

McCain will blink. It is clear he is not needed in Washington, and there will not be much happening at 9pm on a Friday night. The truth is that he has put himself in a very difficult position.

Obama simply needs to go on with business as usual. If McCain refuses to debate, or insists on doing it Thursday in place of the Palin debate, it will simply re-inforce the image that they are uncomfortable answering questions and that Palin in particular is in no way ready for prime time.

McCain has probably just handed Obama 2 points to add on to his lead. I could be misreading this, but I have yet to hear anyone but a Republican strategist or extreme partisan say this was a wise thing to do.

Posted by: Brendan | September 25, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Barney Frank

After watching this guy slobber all over the news the past couple of days, I find it impossible to believe that our brethren in Mass continue to re-elect this guy. Cannot imagine what their citizens see in this guy.

Two poeple are responsible for this meltdown. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for their failure of regulation and their votes against bringing regualtion.

These two should be the ones sitting at the desk being held accountable for their actions.

Posted by: Dano | September 25, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

McCain can't win this showdown. He reacted too rashly as usual and will gain no points. (There is no honor in suspending a campaign that is going nowhere...) Besides, what will he do in DC but get in the way? He doesn't have any new ideas and (rashly)one week ago told us that the economy is fundamentally sound.

Posted by: RickJ | September 25, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse


At first I thought it was "deer in the headlights", but now I know the terrible truth. They cannot blink.

Posted by: xgy2 | September 25, 2008 7:26 AM | Report abuse

The NYT reports that McCain has not been practicing for the debates at all. Obama has clearly been taking time off of campaigning to prepare. This is just a cheap political ploy by McCain to avoid a debate for which he is not ready. It was amazingly tacky for him to make this announcement without consulting Obama ahead of time too. I suspect that the Republicans are going to use the crisis as an excuse to cancel the VP debate too. This is probably their ultimate goal, as Palin is clearly totally unprepared to take on Biden (because she is totally unprepared for the job).

Posted by: LouisXIV | September 25, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I have been undecided leaning toward McCain but this campaign/debate suspension move really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm going to vote for Obama. While I may have issues with the breadth of some of his social policies, he atleast doesn't show the lack of judgment that McCain has in the past week.

Posted by: Just Decided | September 25, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

This isn't going to fly. McCain has been stumbling and reversing himself so often in recent weeks that Obama, the press, and the electorate KNOW that he'll stagger back around and do the debate if Obama doesn't blink. Particularly if it can be claimed that Congress and the Administration have come to some kind of agreement on conditions attached to a bail out. The Democratic leadership is vulnerable to being manipulated here. They'd like to decredibilize McCain by having him show up on his white horse to find that the deal is done, now please go home. The White House could use that eagerness to get Congress to accept a bigger bail-out, with less of a quid pro quo than they would otherwise be willing to sign up for.

Posted by: Paralogos | September 25, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Despite the new emphasis on "blinking" evinced by Sarah Palin, I think it's more important to focus on what appears to actually be going on here, and what seems to be the true motivations of the actors:

From:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccain-trailing-in-polls-continues.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
McCain, Trailing in Polls, Continues Campaign By "Suspending" It

John McCain, trailing by 9 points in national polls, has announced that he is "suspending" his campaign.

Having lost significant ground to Obama on the issue of the economy, and facing a potentially defining and withering debate on Friday where he would be confronted on his statements on the economy that have led to this sharp decline, McCain has attempted to change the rules of the game, to erase many past errors through a putatively "unpolitical" move--something we have seen before.

A simple question: Under the same economic conditions, if McCain had been leading, does anyone believe that McCain would have "suspended" his campaign?

This is the ultimate in cynicism--using the current conditions in order to attempt to blunt a sharp decline and try to control the media dialogue, through a political act designed to avoid a potential political debacle. He is continuing his campaign--which was leading to loss in all directions--by "suspending" it. It is an attempt to silence media criticism and questions--and to prevent a debate on these issues that for him is sharply unfavorable. As such, it is impulsivity masked as statesmanship, as well as an attempt to control the media dialogue, as we saw yesterday at the U.N.,--factors we have seen all along. He wants to attempt to force media to avoid covering openly his flailing campaign, the cynically political masked as the unpolitical, as we saw in the VP pick. Don't be fooled.

McCain is attempting to avoid the debate in the face of this decline, through the type of evasion and lack of press access and communication that has characterized his campaign. It shows an extraordinary willingness to use difficult conditions to erase and avoid political errors, and serve political needs.

He surely would like to put off the debate, and attempt to create more favorable conditions for it.

The Chicago Tribune provides us with indication of what "suspending the campaign" actually means:

"John McCain's sudden "suspension'' of his campaign and his call for a postponement of the premier campaign debate Friday night has sparked a round of criticism from people asking why the presidential candidate cannot manage a financial crisis and a debate at the same time.

"Among them: "Late Night's'' David Letterman, who told his own audience in taping at CBS today that he was hoping to see the Republican nominee for president but McCain called him to say that he had to rush back to Washington to deal with the nation's financial crisis. Then, as Letterman told it, he got word that in fact McCain was down the hall sitting for an interview with his colleague at CBS, Evening News anchor Katie Couric, which aired this evening."

And the Top 10 most cynical methods for avoiding a drop in the polls tonight are...

This is just the time for a debate. We can work on solutions as well. Don't be cowed.

Cite:
Head of State
http://headofstate.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccain-trailing-in-polls-continues.html

Posted by: Susan D'Addario | September 25, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Have to agree with Dennis--but then Bushie wants McCain to win, otherwise he is less likely to get the presidential pardon, right?
So why wouldn't he help McCain avoid the spotlight?

Posted by: steve | September 24, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

RE: Keith B, you need to provide sources for your claim. Stop your nonsense. This is a political ploy and you know it.

Hmmm. How about President Bush himself? Good enough for you? Don't you watch anything other than this blog?

Posted by: Keith B | September 24, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This is Bush's last scare tactic of his Presidency. If Bush was serious about fixing Wall Street he would have done this years ago when it would have an impact. His shameless move now is insincere and too late. Now id McCain what to jumb when McCain Pulls his string thats up to him. The debates should go on with an empty chair representing McCain/Bush/Schmidt/Rove which would represent the last 8 years and the shameless way they forcing themselves on a complex problem without accountable.

Posted by: Mark | September 24, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

McCain thinks that we all have short memories. The candidate who said that he "ought to know more" about economics is not exactly the go-to guy when the country's financial system is in meltdown. Parroting the anodyne that "fundamentals" are strong does not demonstrate a deep knowledge or understanding of the situation. McCain needs to stop playing these cycnical, transparent political games and talk to the people about substance. It's riskier than grabbing the media spotlight with gimmicks, but it might show real "change": change to an emphasis on country over his own political prospects.

Posted by: Jean | September 24, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama is putting as usual his political capital first. He thinks he is on a roll and will not let anyone stop him.

Posted by: Kottaras | September 24, 2008 8:18 PM

-----------

You're almost right. McCain thinks Obama is on a roll, and this stunt is designed to stop him. That is all this is about. If you think this is 'country first', you are just sticking your head in the sand because you don't want to see the plain truth. The McCain campaign isn't suspended at all -- this is just their next move.

Posted by: Joe | September 24, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

McCain should say "Thank You, Mr President" for inviting the presidential candidates to Washington on Thursday--chances are that trip will screw up the Friday Night debate-get it moved to next week--cover the inadequate Sarah Palin--and move the Foreign Policy debate to a time when the economic matters may have quieted down.

Posted by: Dennis | September 24, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The real motivation to postpone the 1st presidential debate, might actually be for the McCain camp to have an excuse to make Sarah Palin's debate with Joe Biden disappear. The McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.

In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.

Graham says the McCain camp is well aware of the position of the Obama campaign and the debate commission that the debate should go on as planned — but both he and another senior McCain adviser insist the Republican nominee will not go to the debate Friday if there's no deal on the bailout.

Posted by: A. Nonny Moose | September 24, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

MCCain = Leadership.
For all you loosers wining about a debate; You dont know it when you see it or you have no clue. After seven years in the Army teaching Leadership; I know it when i see it. Obama would not have lasted one day in my school. Neither would any of you winers. In one week McCain will be 4 points ahead agian. Americans respond to leadership. Obama has made a huge but predictable mistake.

Posted by: James | September 24, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Ok everyone - All of us Obama/Biden Posters are challenging all McCain posters to a Stare Contest on Chris Cillizza's The Fix. This has never been done before on any comments section in the history of any Presidential election which means all of us are making history! Cool Right! Lets start - Now we have in our corner a champion Jessica Alba who in real life supports Obama/Biden.

Are you ready? Ok on three ...1 ...2 ...3

Jessica Alba The Stare Response
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmzcKXsllWs

Change we need

Vote Obama/Biden '08

Posted by: Cooday | September 24, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Otterqueen | September 24, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse


The Post is getting sloppy. Chris at the Fix needs to remember what day it is. The McCane debacle has just happened today and Chris is using past tense as if it was yesterday and the debate is for Friday the 26th.

Get your clock and calendar on track. I do not want you to go to the poll to vote on Nov 5, 2008 thinking it is Nov 4.

Posted by: Omidal | September 24, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

During the taping of tonight's show, Letterman told the audience that McCain had called him personally to apologize for standing him up and said he was rushing to the airport to get back to Washington. The late-night host called McCain “an honest-to-God hero,” and questioned why he needed to halt his campaign. Couldn’t his running mate, Sarah Palin, take over while he was in Washington? Letterman asked.

“I’m more than a little disappointed by John’s behavior,” he said. “Is he suspending the campaign. because there’s an economic crisis or his poll numbers are sliding?” “You don’t suspend your campaign,” Letterman added. “Do you suspend your campaign? No, because that makes me think, well, you know, maybe there will be other things down the road if he’s in the White House, he could just suspend being president. I mean, we've got a guy like that now!” And guess who would replace him?

Things got worse for McCain when Letterman, in the midst of interviewing substitute guest Keith Olbermann, learned that the GOP candidate was actually still in New York, about five blocks away at the CBS News headquarters, sitting down for a last-minute exclusive interview with Katie Couric.

Incredulous, Letterman interrupted his chat with Olbermann to show the audience a live shot on the internal CBS news feed of McCain getting touched up by a makeup artist as he waited to talk to Couric. “He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?” Letterman said, shouting at the television monitor: “Hey John, Do you need a ride to the airport?”

Posted by: josh | September 24, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

The first candidate who suggests switching the topic of Friday's debate to domestic policy wins. Neither candidate could say no to that.

Posted by: Mike | September 24, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Keith B, you need to provide sources for your claim. Stop your nonsense. This is a political ploy and you know it.
================
It was just announced: Obama was asked personally by President Bush to come to Washington tomorrow and periciapate and he agree. I don't think we know how much junk is being attached to this bail out. We need to Term Limts and clean House and Senate. We need new blood and thinking without the PORK.

Posted by: Keith B | September 24, 2008 9:03 PM

Posted by: Omidal | September 24, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

What is McCain hiding from? Careful thought and analysis? What good will he do in Congress now? Of course, both should be on record and vote if indeed Friday is the absolute deadline. But why isn't the rest of the world in a total panic if we are on the verge of Depression? (Eve of Destruction?) This is the ultimate Bush Doctrine--MBC-Management by Crisis. Scare them to death and they'll follow you to hell and vote for you again. Oh yeah, the Bible told me so!! Thanks for the contributions! Keep them coming, easy money!!!

Posted by: jack | September 24, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

It was just announced: Obama was asked personally by President Bush to come to Washington tomorrow and periciapate and he agree. I don't think we know how much junk is being attached to this bail out. We need to Term Limts and clean House and Senate. We need new blood and thinking without the PORK.

Posted by: Keith B | September 24, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I BETCHA THAT SARAH PALIN AND JOE BIDEN WILL ATTRACT MORE VIEWERS THAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. MAYBE THAT IS WHAT McCAIN IS AFRAID OF; SARAH PALIN SAYING SOMETHING DUMB AGAIN AND LYING AND BEING CAUGHT, AGAIN.

Posted by: Bobster | September 24, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

So there you have Plan B: "that the planned vice presidential debate next Friday in St. Louis (Mrs. Fix's hometown!) be used instead as the inaugural presidential debate." So they move the presidential debate to REPLACE, oh I mean move, the VP debate. How convenient. Then of course they will run out of time and Mrs. Palin gets to continue her hide and seek strategy. Then, no VP debate. How clever...

Posted by: Bill | September 24, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

At the moment, economy trumps foreign relations-This is McCain's naked attempt to move the debate to a time when the economic questions might be somewhat resolved allowing him to show off his percieved strong suit--pretty clever disguise--lets loosen our ties, roll up our sleeves and get this crisis settled. But to me it looks like John McCain is heading off to do the gumshoe work while Obama, confident that those in Washington will do the right thing-continues to bring his message to the people. In my opinion, Obama wins this round.

Posted by: Dennis | September 24, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I really thought that if somebody would try to do some gimmics on debate, that could be Obama. McCain as soldier should know better; Not to back out of fights. DEBATE, OR LOOSE WITH DISSHONOR Mr McCAIN. What else he will come up with just so him and Palin could get away from public and media?

Posted by: Bobster | September 24, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

he most scary comment I have read here is by Steve: "...letting Barney Frank do what he needs to do, keep his finger on the pulse and comment when he needs to..." Steve, who do you think has his hand up to is neck in this scandal? Good ole Barney Frank. He should scared, very scared that someone does the research and writes a book about how he was extremely instrumental in bringing our nation to this precipitous confluence of envents.

Posted by: Keith B | September 24, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

McCain already blinked.

McCain thinks he is a lot more important than he is. This is a poorly constructed plan and needs a lot more time and effort to develop. McCain's presence will do nothing to help it along and in fact his showboating will probably impede its completion.

For the most part Senators don't do anything anyway. It is their staff that does all the research and write all their positions. The Senator merely presents their underlings work.

McCain really just needs a nap... and this is how he'll get it.

peace, Rick

Posted by: Rick | September 24, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

McCain is not scared of Obama. Why should he be? What does Obama bring to the table? Nothing absolutely nothing.

Right now the country needs to pass those bail out bills. McCain can do it and needs to be in DC.

Posted by: Kottaras | September 24, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Senator McCain blinks---for the good of the American people.

In conjunction with the Republican's efforts to shelter Sarah Palin from difficult interviews from the press, this ducking of a debate out of patriotism and service to this nation really begs the question.

Both McCain and Obama owe it to America to show up at debates, answer questions from reporters, and inform the nation as to their proposed solutions.

Thus far, Obama/Biden has met this requirement. McCain/Palin fails miserably.

Posted by: Robert Freedland | September 24, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Really..... there are those who seriously believe McCain's ploy was anything more than a scared little man trying desperately to generate positive spin for his faltering campaign?

Posted by: Kathryn S. | September 24, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the only thing the McCain supporters can say is "But it appears Mr. Obama is more interested in furthering his politicial ambitions than in helping our nation during this crisis."
Seems to me that there is no reason to go running back to DC in this age of communication technology. Does McCain really think he will sweep in and make some kind of change? Why didn't he do something in the past? I know, I know--he warned of this two years ago...well, not exactly, and even so, he didn't do anything to stop it...of course, Rick Davis probably convinced him to look the other way..
Anyhow, I think Obama has made the steady, Presidential choice of not panicking, letting Barney Frank do what he needs to do, keep his finger on the pulse and comment when he needs to. Isn't that what we expect the President to do? Not freaking out, running back home and showing the world he's the man?


Posted by: steve | September 24, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the only thing the McCain supporters can say is "But it appears Mr. Obama is more interested in furthering his politicial ambitions than in helping our nation during this crisis."
Seems to me that there is no reason to go running back to DC in this age of communication technology. Does McCain really think he will sweep in and make some kind of change? Why didn't he do something in the past? I know, I know--he warned of this two years ago...well, not exactly, and even so, he didn't do anything to stop it...of course, Rick Davis probably cconvinced him to look the other way..
Anyhow, I think Obama has made the steady, Presidential choice of not panicking, letting Barney Frank do what he needs to do, keep his finger on the pulse and comment when he needs to. Isn't that what we expect the President to do? Not freaking out, running back home and showing the world he's the man?


Posted by: steve | September 24, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't quite make sense to me as a political move. Why would John McCain do this when he has a chance to strut his foreign policy stuff in the debate and change the momentum of the race? It seems that either he is trying to move the debate back to a time that is more advantageous to him, or he is trying to show leadership on the economy. In either case, it's a big gamble and not especially well thought out.

Posted by: Luke | September 24, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama offers no solution, but insists on policies that will further deepen the economic crisis.

Mc Cain is leading the way and has made a serious decision th halt his campaign. This is a critical point in American politics. Bush will deliver his message soon and it will be grim.

Posted by: Kottaras | September 24, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

We should all remember Obama's speech at DNC keynote address in 2004. That speach brought him to where he is now. McCain knows how good Obama is at speach and trick questions and McCain is afraid of that. Obama is afraid of McCain's military experience. Also, voters trust Obama on economy. This is bad week to have debate, at least for McCain, because voters don't care so much about POW stories, they want to know, how to pull out of economic thick mud.

Posted by: BOBSTER | September 24, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This is McCain at his best. The Republicans are not comfortable with the the bailout and McCain has the opportunity to go to Washington and come out the real winner by bringing the Republicans onboard and delivering like a true leader. No “Call me if you need me,” stuff. He is risking a lot, but McCain has always been a Maverick. 1/2 the nation just doesn't seem to get he is the real deal. I think he will be a big winner putting the country first and I do not believe he is uncomfortable at all debating Obama on Foreign Affairs. Obama has done what? Spoke to Germans? We can discuss it after the election but I think people are going to be surprised by how much McCain wins this election by.

Posted by: Keith B | September 24, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I think this was a gambit with two ambitions; the first being to try and make McCain look "Presidential", and the second (and in my opinion, the bedrock reason) is to buy more time to tutor Palin before she has to face a debate.

After all, they've already gamed the rules to make it easier for her...

Posted by: pagun | September 24, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

There is no reason why he can't be involved in the negotiations over the bailout AND be at the 9pm debate.

The real issue is given away by the supposedly innocent suggestion "that the planned vice presidential debate ... be used instead as the inaugural presidential debate." McCain is scared to death to allow Palin to be scrutinized in any way without himself and her handlers there to step in, answer for her, and, if necessary, whisk her away. This is desperation in action.

Posted by: CEP | September 24, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

If Senator McCain wanted the American public to maintain any confidence that our government is capable of resolving this crisis, his this-is-no-time-for-business-as-usual flurry was hardly helpful. It sent me running to the stock market report to see if his "the sky is falling" proclamation would result in a further massive sell-off.

As for who will blink first, unfortunately I fear that the McCain campaign has set in motion a situation in which neither candidate can afford to blink, and the upshot will be just to reduce the country's ability to function effectively as a democracy by one measure more.

Posted by: Betsy Rubinstein | September 24, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't make propose to have the elections this weekend so that the next president starts working on this crisis on Monday? Well, may be he read the new polls and decided to wait for some other Palin sort of effect.

Posted by: Gonzalo B | September 24, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Here comes the number two punch of the "October Suprise"; war with Iran. I wouldn't put it past the GOP. They are corrupt to the core with a base that drank the cool-aid decades ago.

It is time to move on to Obama and the democratic Party.

Posted by: enaz | September 24, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Suspending one debate is not going to change much. Passing the bailout bill quickly will overnight change things not only for the US but for world financial systems. McCain is right and experienced. Obama has a lot to learn.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Suspend the first US presidential debate while Americans are preparing to vote or are already voting in advance on which candidate of these two is best positioned to solve the problems created in large measure during the past eight years of foreign and economic misadventure?

Its also unpatriotic. To suggest to the markets and world that the presidency is no longer unified under George Bush? What's next, a McCain proposal to postpone the November 4 election while he invites Obama to work together on developing an Iraq pullout timeline?

Keep to the schedule.

Posted by: Chuck | September 24, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

A debate is not a forum where decisions are made. Given the level of urgency expressed by Paulson and Bernanke in the last 2 days, it is evident that decisions must be reached in short order.

I think it would be prudent for Senators Biden, McCain, and Obama to return to Washington and do their best to assist in this process. That choice would demonstrate stronger leadership by taking responsible action than any number of debates might reveal.

I also think the American people feel very strongly that good leadership is essential at this time. But it appears Mr. Obama is more interested in furthering his politicial ambitions than in helping our nation during this crisis.

We don't need more rhetoric and posturing. We need decisions to be made in the next few days by those whose responsibility it is to act - the Congress.

Good call Senator McCain.

Posted by: kj | September 24, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

What is scary about this is that by injecting presidential politics into the decision process, he could delay things further. Since the crisis erupted, McCain has had the opportunity to rise above politics, but each time the opportunity presents itself, he mouths off...putting the country at risk. Last week, his statements and premature 'plan' before seeing the data, and not standing behind the incumbent administration could have sent a signal to the world that America is in political turmoil tooo..the negative consequence of that is further erosion of consumer confidence. His announcement today is shocking, and clearly another ploy to score political point....but he is doing this at a GRAVE GRAVE expense of the nation. Someone, ANYONE, please stop this madman...he is SERIOUSLY going to mess things up.

Posted by: andyt | September 24, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Maverick McCain is really about "gimmicks"...McCain Feingold was a gimmick, selecting Palin was a gimmick, suspending the campaign is a gimmick to postpone the VP debate in which Palin will certainly be out classed by Biden. The GOP has damaged America more- and in more ways- than Osama bin Laden ever could. Lets see what the Dems will do !!

Posted by: Alan Jacobs | September 24, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I think the debates won't happen since you need two people to have a debate, and McCain has the power to unilaterally stop the debates from happening. It's not like Obama can "force" McCain to debate!

But, ultimately, I think that this will hurt the McCain campaign more, b/c it shows that he'll break his word to have a debate at a specified time and place in order to politicize the arena.

Posted by: Mar | September 24, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign in light of the financial crisis is pure bull sh*t. The urgency of the financial situation did not prevent McCain from meeting with Lady Lynn de Rothschild this morning.

Yes, I get that this meeting was before McCain decided to suspend the campaign and that the campaign was officially on at that point.

But the question remains -- why in a moment of crisis would you want to meet with Lady Rothschild? Why not your economic advisors? And if you have time for both, why not campaign? or debate?

Maybe the magnitude of the crisis dawned on McCain between the meeting this morning and his decision to suspend the campaign this afternoon.

Posted by: Sahil | September 24, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it!!! The old dude is not ready and he is just using this bailout to slow down his loosing in states. Same thing with the pig lady; avoiding media as long she can, becasue soon as she open the mouth to answer question, you can tell how dumb she is.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

As a non-American looking in, it would appear that there is an electoral gain of one-upmanship going on. Obama wanted to look presidential with a joint statement and McCain said yes and ran as fast as he could for a camera to "suspend" his campaign. Throughout American history elections have always carried on despite any crisis that may have been playing out -- witness the Civil War, World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War II.

The details of this bailout will be worked out by financial experts with congressional and White House approval. For the time being, they don't need McCain or Obama. What the USA does need is to approach this problem calmly, get rid of the hyperbole, and proceed with the election, and its important aspects such as the debates, as per usual.

Posted by: Chris | September 24, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

To me this seems to be another erratic and desperate move by McCain in an attempt to gain headlines. The American people deserve to hear how each candidate reacts to an evolving crisis. McCain's actions speak volumes - a roll of the dice guy and someone I would not like in the highest office of the land in uncertain times.

Posted by: Ben S. | September 24, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Forty days before the election, every move made by the candidates is political. This is posturing by McCain- attempting to show he's above politics. Are either of the candidates on a committee with influence on the purse strings of the congress? Although McCain has not attended a congressional meeting since April, he is now concerned this deal can't be done without him? This will bite him anatomically in a place he can't see without a mirror.

Posted by: Bill O'Connor | September 24, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign in light of the financial crisis is pure bull sh*t. The urgency of the financial situation did not prevent McCain from meeting with Lady Lynn de Rothschild this morning.

Yes, I get that this meeting was before McCain decided to suspend the campaign and that the campaign was officially on at that point.

But the question remains -- why in a moment of crisis would you want to meet with Lady Rothschild? Why not your economic advisors?

Maybe the magnitude of the crisis dawned on McCain between the meeting this morning and his decision to suspend the campaign this afternoon.

Posted by: Sahil | September 24, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't think people yet appreciate the dire consequences that could result from Congress failing to act boldly and swiftly on this crisis. It could be the most important thing these legislators, the current President or the future one do in their entire political careers. We need all of our focus and action on this most important issue, not partisan debate or multitasking.

Posted by: Carla | September 24, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

John McCain claims he is bowing out of the debate Friday night because the nation so desperately needs him to work on the bail out bill. It bears mentioning that the bill that that caused this mess by overturned the Banking regulations passed 90 to 8 with one abstention.

Would you like to guess who the abstention was?

That's right John McCain.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=s1999-354

Is this the kind of leadership John McCain thinks we need in the White House?

Posted by: Marq Goldberg | September 24, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

This is an obvious and poorly thought out political stunt. I don't think it contributes anything to a solution and it makes him look desperate.

I think McCain has shown that he is unstable and unreliable. He gets a wild idea and makes a snap decision without fully understanding the potential consequences. The selection of Palin as running mate is one example, and this is another.

I don't trust him or his judgment.

Posted by: George | September 24, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

This problem has been years in the making with the GOP leading the charge for deregulating everything. Why must we give close to a trillion dollars away to Wall St within 1 week of Stock Market problems occuring?

What about my ARM that was switched from a FRM at the signing table? Where is my help while my mortgage payment rises by $100 every 6 months until I stop bleeding?

Not that I want the government to tell me what to do, but the suits on the Street who believe that "Greed is good" need oversight.

Posted by: Sean | September 24, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain is putting his country first. The financial crisis demands complete focus. If McCain can help pass the deadlock bailout, it will prevent further havoc in the crippled financial sector.

Obama is putting as usual his political capital first. He thinks he is on a roll and will not let anyone stop him.

Posted by: Kottaras | September 24, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

McCain turns from McClown to McChicken. Looks like the Obama ad about McCains technology knowledge is right on. There is absolutely no need to be in Washington with all the communications technology we have. He does not know economy anyways. Leave this to the pros. We do not need an other Keegan, from 20 years ago when daddy Bush was in charge of the the SL-Bailout.

Summary: Lame excuse from McChicken to bail out of the debate and also keep shielding Palin from her debate. What is he hiding? That's the No Talk Express!

Amazing that his did not happen yesterday, but today when the new polls came out.

McCain - go home and retire. You should have been President 8 years ago, but time passed.

Posted by: Stef | September 24, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Quite obviously McCain will blink as long as Obama doesn't immediately back down. As Barack is given to not doing anything precipitous, especially this big a change, he doesn't hjave the forty eight hours it usually takes him to make such a decision. So McCain blinks, goes to Montgomery ostensibly to debate foreign policy, and gets run down by the eighteen wheeler he knows is coming. Since the Dems will certainly put numerous restrictions on any company seeking to fob toxic debt off on the American Taxpayer into the rescue bill, John won't know what to say on his next outing, except, maybe, "The President should (have) veto(ed) this bill. Since would be retirees of the Republican Stripe now see their good Republican alternatives to mere Social Security Rolling up in the twenty first century equivalent of the dust bowl, and may now contemplate what their lot would be if they had been allowed to put all their social security into World Com, Enron, Bear Stearns, and Lejman Brothers.

The stars in their courses march against McCain, and Gog and Magog, (Really the DOW and NASDAQ) are joining them.

And Sarah says we really don't need Polar Bears anyway. (Except maybe to star in Coke Commercials).

Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | September 24, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

This is life. Presidents, as well as ordinary American citizens are regularly presented with several daunting challenges at one time; if only we could decide to put the mortgage on hold b/c the credit card companies are calling. Or take our injured child to the emergency room after we finish another child's school project. It is called multi-tasking and millions of Americans do it every day; why should we expect anything less from the people running for the highest office in the land.

At this point we are all more concerned with the state of our economy, nationally and personally, than with these political games.

Get on with the debate b/c I would love to hear what both of these candidates have to say.

Posted by: genelle f | September 24, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Now we got a CHICKEN runing for president and a PIG as vice president.

You can put a lipstick on a chicken and pig, its still chicken and pig.

Posted by: BOBSTER | September 24, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama will blink....

If Congress indeed needs to settle this "Bailout" by this weekend, then as members of Congress Obama & McCain need to be there to take care of this important issue that affects all of us.

If Obama cannot do his job as Senator, what makes him think he can do the job as President?

Posted by: pahqlle | September 24, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama's initial idea that the two candidates publish a joint statement of principles on the bailout is exactly what is needed and would help to neutralize partisan politics in the legislative negotiations. For McCain to pull this stunt is clearly a blatant cynical attempt to gain political advantage from the crisis.

Posted by: John | September 24, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama is has no interest in America. He is interested in fooling you and getting himself elected your president. Then, you don't matter any more.
Silly rabbits....
http://www.examiner.com/x-852-Atlanta-Civics-Examiner

Posted by: Larry Clifton | September 24, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Mike,
Really? That is so interesting. I've gotten the same email from NewsMax.com claiming an impending invasion of Iran for the past 8 months. Maybe I should tape up my windows with plastic and duct tape and start hoarding food & gas.

Posted by: Sean | September 24, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I think that Senator McCain will lose this staring contest. The decision to unilaterally disarm--never a popular stance in this country--will be viewed in the political context in which it was made: the ineluctable slip in the McCain/Palin's polling numbers and favorability ratings.

I think that the comparison to 9/11 is both inapt and manipulative, in a multitude of ways. Isn't this what voters rejected when Giuliani ran?

Obama cannot and will not let McCain dictate the terms of the ongoing campaign and debates. Think of how weak and unpresidential it would look if Obama meekly acceded.

This stunt will fail. Although Palin's nomination was thought to be a similar "bold" game changer, it too is starting to fade.

McCain has certainly made a gamble, but if Obama appears alone in Ole Miss, it's going to be catastrophic for McCain.

Posted by: Wildgift | September 24, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

McCain will lose because ultimately the American people do not like to be excluded in a crisis. I think the 'startling' tucks and weaves by McCain are a bit too unsettling for times like this. People want stability from their leaders, not bold surprises.

Posted by: robin | September 24, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I think we should postpone the election, too. Obviously, with John nine points down (and the gap widening daily), we need time for something to happen so people will automatically vote for the old vet.

An attack against Iran would work. Posting Osama's head on a pike in the Rose Garden might help.

Oh wait. That's right. The Constitution sets the date of the election.

Never mind.

Posted by: Dennis Berry | September 24, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Mike: were you under the impression that you had some standing to demand a retraction or clarification? Because, in fact, you don't.

Posted by: Sam | September 24, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Whether McCain blinks may depend upon what the commission says and does in the end. If McCain doesn't got to Oxford and Obama does, does the latter just get 60-90 minutes of Q&A from the moderator? Do they send everybody home and have the networks fill the time with reruns?

This is all ridiculous. We've had debates during war, a hostage crisis, economic meltdowns, and so forth. Those topics were fodder for debate, not reasons to hide. Even now while "suspended" the McCain campaign keeps sending blasts and doing field work -- in the parlance of campaigns, that's not what "suspended" means. That's what the loser does until he or she pays off their debts. No wonder everyone is confused.

Posted by: Rich | September 24, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The dates - all wrong - is it the future already?

Posted by: Natmeps | September 24, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

You have to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time to be president.
McCain's already blinked. He's shown that he's getting scared.

check the dates...

Posted by: Hannah1992 | September 24, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

McCain's decision is calculated. He's been informed of an impending international situation that is about to break. Note the EU just issued a report claiming Iran is "close" to having a nuclear weapon. Why have a democracy and election process when we are about to attack Iran? John McCain will keep us safe.

Posted by: Mike | September 24, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Um, why is this post-dated Thursday morning? It makes it sound like McCain made the announcement on Tuesday. Please retract or clarify.

Posted by: Mike | September 24, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

The US Commission on Prez Debates have said that the debate will happen in Miss.

Posted by: Pat | September 24, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

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