Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A bold move

John McCain makes a major announcement today:

"John McCain announced that he will suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to help with Wall Street bailout negotiations. He urged his opponent Barack Obama to do the same. The Arizona senator also asked the Presidential Debate Commission to postpone Friday’s scheduled debate with Obama so that he can work on the financial crisis bailout plan now on Capitol Hill."

No word yet on whether the debate will in fact be postponed.
It's a bold move. Of course, some have already attacked this move by McCain as merely a political stunt, designed to make him look better in the polls (where he's been sliding lately--for example, see here.). And perhaps it is. On the other hand, the McCain people can point to McCain's willingness to delay the Republican convention when a hurricane threatened New Orleans earlier this month.
We'll have to see how this plays with the American people. But this could be another point at which this campaign, again, shifts.

UPDATE: both camps, concerning the debate set for Friday, have now drawn lines in the sand.
You can see the moves and counter-moves being made. The McCain will suspend their campaign, and their participation in the debate, claiming that the bailout proposal is more important. The Obama camp wants the debate to go forward, and they've decided it will be politically beneficial to claim that presidents need to be able to do more than one thing at a time, and that it wouldn't be good to inject presidential politics into the negotiations on Capitol Hill.

Neither side will want now to back down.
The only way, in my view, that McCain participates in the debate Friday is if a proposal can be hammered out by early Friday. And if it is, of course, McCain will take credit for it. If it doesn't happen, and McCain skips the debate while staying in Washington to continue taking part in the negotiations, McCain is betting the American people will look favorably upon that. We'll see what happens. It's quite a game of political move and counter-move right now between the two campaigns.