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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Suspends Campaign and Asks for Postponement of Debate: Obama Refuses

UPDATE: The public is not buying McCain's use of the economic crisis to postpone the debate. According to SurveyUSA, 50 percent want to see the debate go on as scheduled, 36 percent believe the debate should occur but the focus should change from foreign policy to the economy, and only 10 percent want to see it postponed.

John McCain has sent shock waves across the media with his announcement that he is suspending his campaign to focus on finding a legislative solution to the economic crisis. He has also asked for this Friday's debate to be canceled. Republicans across the blogosphere, of course, are marching it lock step with McCain's campaign and citing this as evidence that John McCain puts country before politics. It's a brilliant gamble.

It's also not so brilliant horse hockey as skeptical Democrats are pointing out (here, here, here, and here).

One of the salient points, according to TPM, is that Obama actually approached McCain and made the first gesture.
From Obama spokesperson Bill Burton:
At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.
The truth is that if John McCain were serious and if this were anything more than a political stunt, he would have issued a joint statement with Barack Obama suspending both campaigns. This is one more desperate Hail Mary pass. The man can read a poll. Once again, when he's down in the numbers, McCain will make an erratic decision.

More troubling is why you need to suspend your campaign to take a vote? In an age of blackberries, computers, 24/7 news cycles, and electronic communication why can't he multi-task? Does McCain actually think that once he's in the White House he'll get to deal with one crisis at a time in a leisurely fashion? Actually, the crises come fast and furious and you don't get to pick and choose which one to deal with and when. But more important than all this is the fact that Americans really deserve a full debate on the issues precisely because there is a crisis. Voters - no make that citizens - deserve to see each candidate, to hear what each one has to say, to take the measure of each one to see which is the more presidential in demeanor and temperament. CNN once again nails it:

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