Archive for Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate on as scheduled; McCain will participate

Most Americans wanted debate to go on as scheduled; local groups plan debate watch parties

September 26, 2008, 10:40 a.m. Updated September 26, 2008, 11:43 a.m.

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On the street

Do you think dealing with the economic crisis is a legitimate reason for McCain to postpone participating in the first presidential debate?

No. He’s going to have to deal with plenty of economic issues if he becomes president, and he’s not going to be able to put everything on hold to deal with them.

More responses

— Republican John McCain agreed to attend the first presidential debate Friday night even though Congress doesn't have a bailout deal, reversing an earlier decision to delay the event until Washington had taken action to address the crisis.

With less than 10 hours until the debate was scheduled to start, the McCain campaign announced that the Arizona senator would travel to the University of Mississippi. The campaign said that afterward McCain would return to Washington to continue working on the financial crisis.

Obama had always planned to attend the debate and was aboard his plane preparing to take off when McCain's announcement was made. McCain quickly moved to his own private aircraft and headed South with his wife and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his wife, Judith, on board.

The action contradicted the position McCain had taken Wednesday, when he announced, "I'm directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the Commission on Presidential Debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis."

McCain had also said he would suspend all campaign activities, but in reality the campaign just shifted to Washington while the work of trying to win the election went on.

McCain had taken a gamble with the move, trying to appear above politics and as a leader on an issue that had overshadowed the presidential campaign and given him trouble. But Democratic rival Barack Obama had not bowed to McCain's challenge, and instead questioned why the Republican nominee couldn't handle two things at once - the debate and involvement in the bailout negotiations.

An Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll out Friday just before McCain's announcement showed the public overwhelmingly wanted the candidates to debate, 60 percent to 22 percent, with the rest undecided.

By Friday morning, it appeared McCain was looking for a face-saving way to get to the debate even though a deal had not been reached. He met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, before heading to his campaign headquarters and issuing a statement that blamed others in Washington for the failure to reach an agreement.

"John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis," the statement said. "In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington. At a moment of crisis that threatened the economic security of American families, Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution that would avert a collapse of financial markets without squandering hundreds of billions of taxpayers' money to bail out bankers and brokers who bet their fortunes on unsafe lending practices."

Just before McCain's announcement, Obama told reporters that he had spent Friday morning on the phone with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and congressional leaders and he was optimistic that progress was being made toward a bailout deal.

"At this point, my strong sense is that the best thing that I can do, rather than to inject presidential politics into these delicate negotiations, is to go down to Mississippi and explain to the American people what is going on and my vision for leading the country over the next four years," Obama told reporters aboard his campaign plane as they prepared to travel to Mississippi.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a McCain supporter, said the Republican made a "huge mistake" by even discussing canceling the debate.

"You can't just say, 'World, stop for a moment. I'm going to cancel everything,'" Huckabee told reporters Thursday night in Alabama before attending a benefit for the University of Mobile. He said it's more important for voters to hear from the presidential candidates than for them to huddle with fellow senators in Washington.

Both McCain and Obama had returned to Washington on Thursday at the urging of President Bush, who invited them to a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House. But a session aimed at showing unity in resolving the financial crisis broke up with conflicts in plain view.

McCain's campaign said the meeting "devolved into a contentious shouting match" and implied Obama was at fault - on a day when McCain said he was putting politics aside to focus on the nation's financial problems.

Democrats differed, saying the refusal of McCain and other Republicans to support the plan worked out by congressional negotiators was creating a road block.

"The insertion of presidential politics has not been helpful," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday.

When asked whether the meeting was a mistake, Obama replied, "I'm not sure it was as productive as it could have been. I think at this point it's important to just move forward."

A number of local groups, including the Dole Institute of Politics, are sponsoring events where interested people can watch the debate with others who are interested.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain is already toast. Three holes in his foot He and his pistol packin' Barbie doll VP candidate will soon be consigned to the also-ran dust bin of history.

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 9 months ago

I dunno. I think it was a good try. It was an out of left field ploy that got people talking about something other than the economy for a day, even if it didn't get the traction he wanted. I don't think it hurt him much, even if it didn't help him particularly. I really think that's the McCain campaign's great skill -- tossing out seemingly random issues to redirect the discourse when things aren't going well for him.

dandelion 7 years, 9 months ago

Democrats want this bail out to help the man on the street too. The Republicans want to hand all the money over to the filthy rich guys, so they can keep ripping up off. It is the Republicans who are holding up the show. No one had sympathy for those who are losing their homes, but, oh no the CEO's won't get their million dollar bonuses? What a shame! We have to help out these poor guys, how can we expect them to live like us?

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

Wow, what a surprise.cough political stunt cough

kidicarus 7 years, 9 months ago

I suppose that Mike Huckabee is now part of that awful liberal media set out to destroy John McCain.

rdave13 7 years, 9 months ago

Debate ? What debate? It's going to be a real snoozer....and an embarassment for JM....no teleprompter. Hope there is a tractor pull on ESPN..much better viewing, I promise. On to the election..vote early, vote often.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 9 months ago

Reminds of the Perot days.Yes..er,no,I didn't say that.Well,what is said is not what I meant....Let me get back to ya!

webmocker 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain was against the debate before he was for the debate.

supertrampofkansas 7 years, 9 months ago

I will make a bold prediction! I predict that Satirical will post a response on here and say that no matter how bad Obama does in the debate the liberals will try to spin Obama's lackluster effort into a victory. He will say that they will say things like, he is more thoughtful in answering the questions than McCain (instead of stating the truth that Obama rambles to avoid answering the question).Oh wait a minute, dang he already did it.Mock Mock Mock....Your 4 year old at play!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years, 9 months ago

To everything, spin, spin, spin,There is a season, spin, spin, spin,And a time to every purpose in politics...

Satirical 7 years, 9 months ago

I will make a bold prediction right now. Now matter how bad Obama does in the debate the liberals will try to spin Obama's lackluster effort into a victory. They will say things like, he is more thoughtful in answering the questions than McCain (instead of stating the truth that Obama rambles to avoid answering the question).

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

srj: I suppose that's true, but that's what I did in 2000, and I must say that, in retrospect, I regret that decision.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 9 months ago

You have to remember this is foreign affairs no McCain could do better. Also, Obama is not his best without a teleprompter, so you never know. But let me remind everyone, ALL congressman have said the calls and e-mails from there districts are against the bailout, so him voting against might help him, but polls blame the GOP for the mess in the first place.

acg 7 years, 9 months ago

buffylogal, excellent West Wing reference. At this point, I feel like the actor who plays Josh Lyman could've handled it better. :)

Steve Jacob 7 years, 9 months ago

"and dammit McCain, you're practically forcing me to vote against you, which I don't want to do. I don't want the Democrats in charge of the Congress and the Executive branch, that will be abysmal, but your decisions in the last two months have been abysmal."You know, there are FOUR other people on the ballot people have heard of, Nader, McKinney, Keyes and Barr. I can see many states where those 4 people will pull 2-5% total of the vote.

Keith 7 years, 9 months ago

I will make a bold prediction right now. Now matter how bad McCain does in the debate the conservatives will try to spin McCain's lackluster effort into a victory. They will say things like, he is more thoughtful in answering the questions than Obama (instead of stating the truth that McCain rambles to avoid answering the question).There, fixed it for you.

Jennifer Forth 7 years, 9 months ago

Don't you miss Josh Lyman? He could've handled this much better.

LiberalDude 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain came off looking like a fool in this whole canceling the debate thing. I can't believe that even his buddy Mike Huckabee criticized him!

BigDog 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain has been asking for debates all over the country for months. I knew he wasn't going to miss his chance to take NObama on in a debate ....FINALLY

kidicarus 7 years, 9 months ago

"Satirical (Anonymous) says: I will make a bold prediction right now. Now matter how bad Obama does in the debate the liberals will try to spin Obama's lackluster effort into a victory. They will say things like, he is more thoughtful in answering the questions than McCain (instead of stating the truth that Obama rambles to avoid answering the question)."While the conservatives will be completely truthful about the performance of their candidate. Dolt.

Nobama 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain wanted more debates from the beginning Obama is the one who declined

Confrontation 7 years, 9 months ago

McSame claimed that he had suspended his campaign, yet he spent plenty of time doing interviews and appearing on TV. He's such a fake. I wouldn't be surprised if McSame the Coward cancels the debate due to a "headache."

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 9 months ago

McCain is definitely a better speaker than Obama when it comes to non-scripted events, but he is also full of baloney. In short, McCain will look better than Obama in the debates, but his words will be untruthful.

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

. . . and dammit McCain, you're practically forcing me to vote against you, which I don't want to do. I don't want the Democrats in charge of the Congress and the Executive branch, that will be abysmal, but your decisions in the last two months have been abysmal.. . . still the hope that all of this is just BS so he can win the presidency, but it's getting harder and harder to justify that belief.

bad_dog 7 years, 9 months ago

It's nice to see McCain's bring Da Rudy G. Show with him. They're probably going through their debate flash cards right now.Now that would be a debate to remember-hosted by Sacha Baron Cohen...

jonas_opines 7 years, 9 months ago

"RT, you are absolutely kidding yourself if you think O'Reilly is a reasonable dude. He drops insults like Limbaugh drops pills. If you aren't to his liking, you are a "feminazi," a "kool-aid drinking liberal," a "tree-hugging nut-case," etc:" Haven't you been paying attention, Bea? That's what RT thinks is reasonable behavior.

beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

"Why is the left so angry?"Two terms of George W. Bush. With the markets crumbling and national debt out of control, the question should be, why isn't the right angry about important issues, rather than just angry about gays, choice and Obama? Tom, you are absolutely kidding yourself if you think O'Reilly is a reasonable dude. He drops insults like Limbaugh drops pills. If you aren't to his liking, you are a "feminazi," a "kool-aid drinking liberal," a "tree-hugging nut-case," etc... Consider what he says about others, then think about it being on a "news" station. He is to the right what Olberman is to the left. Common on now, time to be truthful.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 9 months ago

"give O'Reilly a chance, he is a sensible guy"O'Reilly blatantly lied and misrepresented several facts several times surrounding the KU-Dennis Daily teaching issue a few years ago. That was enough to convince me he is in no way a journalist but is just a puffed-up entertainer pandering to an ideological club.

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