Poor John McCain. You could almost smell the burning wood as he's tried to think his way through the last couple of weeks.
Sen. John McCain said he will "suspend" his presidential campaign on Thursday and will return to Washington to focus on the unfolding economic crisis. In the meantime, he called for a delay in the presidential debate scheduled for Friday night in Mississippi.
Sen. McCain also called on his Democratic rival Barack Obama to join him back in the capital.
"It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time," the Arizona senator said in statement issued by the campaign. "Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington."
It could be the reason McCain is panicking is that he's afraid to debate this Friday. There he'd have to answer pointed questions about his lobbyists' connections to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
He also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to delay Friday's debate, the first of three scheduled, and he asked President Bush to convene a meeting with congressional leadership, including both himself and Sen. Obama.
Or, perhaps McCain is just nervous about having to develop a position on the financial meltdown without knowing what Obama wants to do first.
"It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem," he said. "We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved."
The Arizona senator compared the situation to that facing the nation following the 2001 terrorist attacks, saying politics must be put aside for the moment.
There he goes again -- using the same kind of "over-the-top" comparison analogy that he used earlier this week:
So here's what [McCain] said on NBC's "Today" show this [Monday] morning, when discussing the turmoil roiling the nation's financial system: "We are in the most serious crisis since World War II."
The poor guy apparently can't multi-task, and is over whelmed by the workload. One day he's sure the "fundamentals of the economy are strong -- a few days later it's the worst crisis since World War II.
Emotional. Unstable. Senile. Panicked. Afraid. Unsure. Pick one, more, or all of the above.
Clearly John McCain is a man in crisis. We're fortunate that he was tested now...
Update: Mark Halperin, TIME:
[Obama] Reacts to McCain's proposal in Clearwater, Florida: "This is exactly the time the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess."
Adds he intends to continue campaigning and preparing for the debate.
"What I've told the leadership in Congress is that if I can be helpful then I am prepared to be anywhere, anytime. What I think is important is that we don't suddenly infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics..."
Also takes a swipe at McCain, adding: "Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time. It's not necessary for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else."
McCain aide Holtz-Eakin: "Sen. McCain will continue to work with both Sen. Obama and the commission on the scheduling of the debate."
Sen. Reid: Candidates' return to DC "would not be helpful at this time."
MSNBC: Debate commission says they're going ahead full speed with Friday's face-off.
The LA Times offers this:
The Commission on Presidential Debates said it planned to hold the debate on Friday despite McCain's request.
"The plans for this forum have been underway for more than a year and a half," the commission said. "The CPD's mission is to provide a forum in which the American public has an opportunity to hear the leading candidates for the president of the United States debate the critical issues facing the nation. We believe the public will be well-served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled."
Update II: Survey USA performed a 1,000 person survey on postponing the debate. The results were 86% in favor of holding the debate, 10% in favor of postponing, and 4% unsure.
McCain has taken a big hit in the polls and has taken a beating in the news, with daily stories linking close McCain campaign staff to millions of dollars in lobbying fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There's no question he's lying about the reasons behind his sudden desire to postpone the debate. He's just plain afraid of performing poorly and losing the election.
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