Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Suspends Campaign

John McCain announced today that he was temporarily suspending his campaign and would be heading back to Washington to work with the Congress and President Bush to try to help resolve the current economic crisis that the country is facing. McCain has asked Obama to do the same. He has asked his campaign workers to work with the Obama campaign and the Commission of Presidential Debates to delay Friday's first scheduled debate between the two candidates. McCain has also asked the president to call a bipartisan leadership summit, including McCain and Obama, to work on a bill that all sides can agree on. I have yet to hear an "official" response from Obama, but I did hear a report that an Obama "source" said there was no need to delay the debates.

I am not sure how I feel about McCain's suspending his campaign. On the one hand, I do agree with him that there is considerable debate on the current bailout proposals. Members from both sides of the aisle have issues with the current proposals. I also agree with him that it is important that whatever bill passes is one that the next president, regardless of who it turns out to be, can agree to support. There is a financial crisis and something needs to be done, and it is important to get it right.

It is somewhat curious that he made the decision right after the latest polls show that he is down by 9% in some polls. The one thing that keeps coming up about McCain is that he always puts his country ahead of his own needs. People could view this latest move by McCain as another example of that. It can also be seen as another example of John McCain reaching across the aisle to try to build bipartisanship, which has been a hallmark of his career. It could help him in the polls, but it also has the potential to backfire. McCain's decision could turn out to be political genius or it could be political suicide. Only time will tell.

Barack Obama has come out with his response to McCain's announcement. Obama says that he approached McCain earlier in the day and they agreed to issue a joint statement regarding the proposed package. McCain brought up the subject of suspending the campaigns to which Obama wanted to have the joint statement issued before addressing that subject. McCain then came out with his announcement prior to the joint statement being issued.

Obama has expressed his willingness to be a part of the process of working on a financial proposal, including coming to Washington if it would help. He also wants the debates to also go forward because the next president will have to do more than one thing at a time. I am not sure that I disagree with him on the debates. Also, if the time line as laid out by Obama is accurate, then it casts a shadow on McCain's motives.

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