McCain Wants Debate Delayed... Obama Says No

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 6:45pm.

Republican Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he's suspending his presidential campaign and directing his staff to work with Sen. Barack Obama's campaign to try and delay Friday's scheduled debate because of the economic crisis. Obama said that the debate should go forward as scheduled and said he had no plans to suspend his campaign.

"This is exactly the time that the American people need a debate" between the two candidates, away from Capitol Hill, so that Americans can hear their ideas for leading the country out of the crisis, Obama said.

Calling this "a moment of great uncertainty" brought about by "greed and irresponsibility" on Wall Street, he said that Democrats and Republicans need to rise above partisan politics in crafting legislation to help ease the crisis, without injecting the process with presidential politics.

Republicans and Democrats alike are casting a very skeptical eye on a $700 billion bailout package backed by the White House aimed at stabilizing a meltdown in the financial services industry. Lawmakers are leery of the huge risk taxpayers are being asked to take, and are calling for a variety of accountability measures to be built into the package.

McCain's announcement came after the two candidates held private talks about joining forces to address the Wall Street meltdown, Obama said. Prompted by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, Obama said he contacted the McCain camp Wednesday morning about crafting a joint statement addressing the economy, but the consultations did not include talk of suspending campaigns or delaying debates.

Obama said they agreed to a joint statement to send a "clear signal" to Congress that this is a serious question. He said he would welcome any invitation to come to Washington, D.C., to help move a solution through Congress, but said he would not suspend his campaign.

"We must pass legislation to address this crisis," McCain said in a statement after the morning call with Obama. "If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, every corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen."

The University of Mississippi, where the debate is scheduled to be held, said in a statement that it is going forward with preparations for the debate. It said that the Commission on Presidential Debates instructed the school to proceed as scheduled.

Neither senator sits on committees that have any direct bearing on the $700 billion bailout package. Obama is a member of the Foreign Relations, Homeland Security, Veterans' Affairs, and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees. McCain is a member of the Armed Services, Indian Affairs, and Commerce, Science and Transportation committees.

McCain said he will stop campaigning after addressing former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative session on Thursday and will return to Washington to focus on the nation's financial problems.

"Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Sen. Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me," McCain said.

McCain also said he wants President George W. Bush to convene a leadership meeting in Washington. The White House said in a statement that it welcomed the gesture of bipartisanship from McCain but made no comment on whether Bush would convene such a meeting.

The president is scheduled to make a prime-time television address about the economic crisis Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT.

The address, to be delivered from the White House's grand East Room, is to be 12 to 14 minutes long, White House press secretary Dana Perino said. Bush last gave a prime-time address to the nation 377 days ago. This one, expected to be carried by all five major television outlets, could be the last of his presidency.

September 24, 2008 - source WNBC

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 6:45pm.