First debate? Don’t count on it

The first presidential debate between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama remained in doubt Friday, the very day it was to be held, embroiled in the same partisan divisions that were holding up a Wall Street bailout plan.

Obama said he intended to travel to the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where the debate had long been scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EDT. McCain, who had proposed delaying the contest so the two presidential hopefuls could help negotiate an economic rescue plan, wouldn’t commit.

"I’m very hopeful that we’ll get enough of an agreement tomorrow so we can make this debate," McCain said Thursday on NBC’s "Nightly News."

Obama tried to press McCain into showing up for the first of three scheduled debates between them, saying they should be able to handle the 90-minute forum and the financial crisis at the same time.

"Senator McCain has no need to be fearful about a debate," Obama told reporters. "He’s a person of strong opinions and he’s been expressing them on the campaign trail."

Both McCain and Obama returned to Washington on Thursday at the urging of President Bush, who invited them to a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House. But a session aimed at showing unity in resolving the financial crisis broke up with conflicts in plain view. McCain would not commit to supporting a plan worked out by congressional negotiators, said people from both parties who were briefed on the exchange.

McCain’s campaign said the meeting "devolved into a contentious shouting match" and implied that Obama was at fault — on a day when McCain said he was putting politics aside to focus on the nation’s financial problems.

Democrats differed.

The effort stalled late Thursday, with talks set to resume Friday. McCain was returning to Capitol Hill on Friday, his campaign said.

Meanwhile, debate preparations continued in Oxford, with streets blocked off and big TV screens set up on campus and near City Hall for large debate-watching parties.

Television network officials were left with the uncertainty of whether their Friday night programming would be the scheduled debate or something else arranged at the last minute. Pressed in an interview on the "CBS Evening News" about whether he would show, McCain responded: "I understand how important this debate is and I’m very hopeful, but I also have to put the country first."

Obama told NBC that, should the debate go on, he would raise the economy even though the focus was supposed to be foreign policy.

"It’s one of the fundamental differences that I have with John McCain, and it’s something that I think we need to explore in a debate format," Obama said. "We’re only talking about 90 minutes here."


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  1. sherry

    Ridingchick, I believe you just defined yourself, as did Pollchecker with your inability to engage in factual debate.
    Since you have no point to make, you have reduced yourselves to sophomoric bullying and quite frankly I am surprised Doug is tolerating it.

  2. ridingchick

    Sherry, be very careful who you call a dumb ass. In addition to George W. Bush, it would appear the state of West Virginia seems to hold that distinction as well.

    Sarah Palin is just 1 step up from the Beverly Hillbillies. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the interview with The Moose Hunter with Lipstick and Katie Couric. I’m sure you will find it interesting.

    Pollchecker you are absolutely right, what a loser!

    By the way, West Virginia was just voted the #1 state with poor dental hygiene. Did you see that report?
    Let me know if you need to see a link to the story.

    The very article will verify who the dumb asses really are!

  3. CheckerboardStrangler

    I think after this latest October surprise (bailout crisis) the American public are starting to recognize that they’re being read the same old script again and again.
    Therefore ALL of the old triggers and buzz phrases will no longer work anymore, to wit:

    “Her good looks”
    “Like to have a beer with”
    “Clear danger”
    “Weapons of mass destruction”
    “Who could have predicted”

    Sadly the Republicans will be the last to realize this and they will continue using the old battered playbook that has served them well for eight years.

    But the long slumber might actually be coming to an end now, the Repubs played one too many stolen Ace cards and came up looking like cheaters in a poker game and the people are calling them on it.

    Obama is the game changer.

  4. sherry

    You can still love Obama and admit he was a dumbass for the bitter people clinging to God and guns. If you don’t think that was an ignorant statement, you have no objectivity whatsoever.

    Palin wasn’t chosen for her chest. She was chosen because she is female governor with a balanced budget which kills two birds with one stone so to speak. She was enlisted to appeal to disgruntled Hillary supporters and to prop up McCain’s weakness on the economy. The fact that she looks good and totes a gun is a wink to the NRA crowd.

    She has a Downs child, which she could have aborted but chose not to. I read a statistic indicating 90% of those who discover they are having a Downs child, choose abortion. This was a play to the pro life crowd. Palin, however weak one may believe she is, brought a lot of people in the tent. She is very weak on foreign policy, but domestically, she would probably be ok. She has more executive experience thant Obama. He has never managed a state or balanced a budget. No one else in the race has.

    McCain got a bump in the polls and a ton of free press with Palin. Obama’s choice of Biden was a good choice, but he didn’t get a bounce in the polls.

    I know you hate the GOP and there are a ton of reasons to wish that party would implode, but trust me when I tell you, as long as there is a Karl Rove, there will be a GOP.

    Elections are not about may the best person win. It is the best packaged candidate.

    Bush won because people related to him better than they related to Gore. It was the nation’s loss. They continued to relate better to Bush than Kerry. Kerry was painted as an out of touch, far left elitist. It doesn’t matter if it true. Perception is everything.

    And Pollchecker, if the best you can do is, “LOSER!”, you clearly don’t have the intellect for honest debate.