Sep 242008

Could the desperation in this ploy to avoid Friday night’s debate possibly be more transparent?

Obama rejects McCain’s call to delay debate

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

NEW YORK (AP) – Republican John McCain said Wednesday that he wants to postpone Friday’s debate to deal with the nation’s financial problems, but Democrat Barack Obama said “it’s more important than ever” that the country hear from its next president.

The White House rivals maneuvered to claim the leadership role on the financial crisis that has overshadowed their campaign, leaving the question of whether they will hold their first debate in doubt. Obama said he would continue ahead with his debate preparations, while McCain said he would stop all advertising, fundraising and other campaign events to return to Washington and work for a bipartisan solution.

“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,” Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. “It’s going to be part of the president’s job to deal with more than one thing at once.”

Their dueling positions came after the two senators spoke privately, each trying to portray himself as the bipartisan leader at a time of crisis.[..]

Even as McCain said he was putting the good of the country ahead of politics, his surprise announcement was clearly political. It was an attempt to try to out-maneuver Obama on an issue he’s trailing on, the economy, as the Democrat gains in polls. He swiftly went before TV cameras minutes after speaking with Obama and before the two campaigns had hammered out a joint statement expressing that Congress act urgently on the bailout.

And while McCain’s campaign said he would “suspend” his campaign, it simply will move to Washington knowing the spotlight will remain on him no matter where he is.

Obama repeatedly stressed at his news conference that he called McCain first to propose that they issue a joint statement in support of a package to help fix the economy as soon as possible. He said McCain called back several hours later, as Obama was leaving a rally in Florida, and agreed to the idea of a statement but also said he wanted to postpone the debate and hold joint meetings in Washington.

Obama said he suggested they first issue a joint statement showing bipartisanship.

“When I got back to the hotel, he had gone on television to announce what he was going to do,” Obama said.

From The Washington Post

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said McCain’s move was “the longest ‘Hail Mary’ in the history of either football or Marys.” The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which was holding a hearing on the bailout, added “I’m not particularly focused on Senator McCain. I guess if I wanted expertise there [from the GOP ticket], I’d ask Sarah Palin.”

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had a similar reaction. “It would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy,” Reid said. “If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.”

He added: “If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now.”[..]

Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs was more direct. The scene at the debate site in Oxford, Miss. Friday night, he said, would consist of “a stage, an audience, a moderator, and at least one presidential candidate.”

Sorry, Johnny, looks like you’re gonna have to show up on Friday night after all.

P.S. Senator McCain has canceled his scheduled appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight. There must be a reason he is so reluctant to appear in public these days. This is a man who wants to be our next president. What is he afraid of?

  7 Responses to “McCain gets desperate”

  1. OR McCain can send Sarah Palin and/or her husband Mr. “The First Dude” Palin as substitutes, since she seems to be the real head of the Republican ticket.

  2. Let’s see, McCain tried to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2005-06 and Barney Frank led the opposition, preferring to maintain the status quo.

    Now McCain wants to help craft a bipartisan solution to a truly bipartisan problem and Barney Frank is again mocking and blocking him.

    I hope Senator McCain does return to Washington to help hammer out a solution to the financial crisis.

    If Obama wants to debate someone on Friday, Sarah Palin can fill in for John McCain. Obama and his media surrogates have been sniping at her for weeks; let’s see him try to sling some of that HuffPo and DailyKos mud live on national television.

  3. @Chris : Oh come on, Chris. You really believe that John McCain’s motives here are anything but political? If so, I have a bridge in Alaska I’d like to sell you. (I know, that last line was not original, but it was about original as your spin.)

    Sarah Palin, though many Republicans would like it to be otherwise, is not running for President of the United States. John McCain, last I heard, is. As Senator Obama stated today, it is more important for the citizens of the United States to hear from the two people who would be their next president than it is for John McCain to move his campaign to Washington, D.C.

    Let’s see what the reaction of the voters will be if there is only one candidate standing on that debate stage on Friday night. I can hardly wait.

  4. How about if Barack Obama debates Joe Biden? They seem to differ on energy policy….

    Hard as it may be to believe sometimes politicians strive for statesmanship. This might be one of those times. What would it hurt Senator Obama if he joined forces with Senator McCain to bring some much needed relief to the American economy?

    McCain isn’t moving his campaign to DC; he’s moving himself back to the Senate, where the people of Arizona sent him to do a job. The people of Illinois sent Senator Obama there too, but perhaps he has forgotten about that?

  5. @Chris : Perhaps you have forgotten that we have a presidential election in 40 days and that both Senators McCain and Obama are somewhat involved in that election?

    There are 98 other Senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives as well as George W. Bush and his staff in Washington, D.C. who are well equipped (in theory, at least) to deal with the economic challenges we now face.

    The presidential election needs to proceed as scheduled. The McCain campaign is suggesting that the three presidential debates and the one vice presidential debate be postponed until when… after the election?

    Both candidates are meeting with Mr. Bush and congressional leaders tomorrow to discuss the economy. Fine, let them meet and let them discuss. I am sure their input will be appreciated and their ideas welcomed. Then let them get on with the election.

  6. “Sarah Palin, though many Republicans would like it to be otherwise, is not running for President of the United States. John McCain, last I heard, is.” Well, I’ll be damned! I’ll give you credit for that, at least, Len. You are the only democrat who seems to have grasped that little fact. All we have heard for the last three weeks is, “Sarah Palin isn’t qualified to run our country. She’s only a heartbeat away….”, as disgusting a reference as that is to McCain’s age.

    Also, here’s a news flash!! EVERYTHING the candidates do, every decision and every action, is politically motivated. They are in a political race for the presidency, so what else would you expect? The real question is (for both candidates) since we lash out at Congress and the Senate for so many things we blame them for because we claim they are not doing their jobs, should we not give them some credit when they actually choose to do their jobs? Yes, I understand there is a rather important race that they are currently involved in, but what would you call the financial crisis going on? And please don’t tell me there are enough senators, congressmen and others in Washington to do the job without them, because if we don’t need the two men who are “a heartbeat” away from the Presidency” there with the others to hammer out a solution then who do we need? The same ones who did nothing but who now suddenly claimed they all warned us about what was going to happen?

    One thing I’ll give Obama credit for…he already knew he had absolutely nothing to offer because he said to just call him if they needed him. (That was a joke, Len, it’s okay to laugh).

  7. @Matt : As I said, we have an election in 40 days. It is kind of an important election. We will be deciding who will be the next president of the United States.

    At the risk of repeating myself…

    Both Senators Obama and McCain are meeting with George W. Bush, his staff and congressional leaders tomorrow. I am sure their input will be welcomed and their ideas appreciated. Then they need to get on with the business of the campaign. If we are not going to have this campaign now, when are we going to have it? After the election on November 4th?

    P.S. I’m not laughing. Sorry, I do not see this as a joke. In my view, the selection of our next president is a serious matter, especially considering the mess he is going to have to clean up.

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