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. The first debate had been set for Friday at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
According to the Obama campaign, the debate is still on and Obama has no plans to not participate. Oh, and according to them, it was their idea.
“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,” spokesman Bill Burton said.
“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,” Burton continued.
But McCain’s camp said Obama never reached McCain in the morning call because he was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress. Afterward, McCain phoned Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem.
Obama said the two still plan to issue a joint statement.
This is a ballsy move. Doubly so, because this Friday’s debate is supposed to be specifically about foreign policy, which is undeniably McCain’s strong suit. And it’s not just the debate. McCain is pulling all of his advertising as well.
I’m going to be very interested now to see if Obama takes McCain up on the offer. He’d better. If he doesn’t, if he stays out on the campaign trail while McCain is in Washington working on some sort of legislation, the Republicans will really be able to hang the “Senator Present” label on him and make it stick. So the ball’s in your court, Senator Obama. Will you actually try to help fix the problem, or will you just try to make political hay out of it? Your move.
The one really good thing coming out of this? The Bush administration’s $700 billion blank check to Hank Paulson looks to be DOA. Per a blurb on the Drudge Report, when the House Republicans met this morning, only four of them supported the Paulson plan. And Nancy Pelosi has already said she won’t try to push it through the House without Republican support.