Sen. McCain said Wednesday afternoon in a statement issued by the campaign that, "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. Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington."
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.
"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."
I guess some people might like the idea that he's suspending his campaign to head back to Washington to knock some heads together and get this damn subprime lending skigamadoo. That's his entire image as a reformer - he's the person who'll force people to find a solution 100% through the power of his tough-talk.
(The facts that he's one of the people who helped create the crisis in the first place, that he has advisers and staffers who helped pass the legislation that led to this crisis, that he was saying that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong" as recently as a week ago, or that he himself has said that he knows little about the economy, let alone finance, goddammit, he's a maverick, and what this situation needs is a maverick! Why do I feel that a Chuck Norris joke would be appropriate here?)
"I believe that we should continue to have the debate," Obama said. "It's my belief that this is exact time when the American people need to hear form the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsibly for dealing with this mess and I think that it is going to be part of the President's job to deal with more than one thing at once."
Um, yeah. There are enough people in Washington trying to figure this thing out that carrying a circus in there, like McCain proposes, won't help. Heck, that's exactly what Harry Reid just said:
This is a critical time for our country. While I appreciate that both candidates have signaled their willingness to help, Congress and the Administration have a process in place to reach a solution to this unprecedented financial crisis.
I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama's suggestion. But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation's economy. If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.
If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now.
I understand that John McCain needs to create some positive press here, especially when it comes to the worst financial crisis in American history, one that he helped create through his own corruption and ineptitude. But, seriously, have the damn foreign policy debate. That's supposed to be McCain's strong point.
This is a transparent campaign stunt and it's just annoying. I'm hoping that the traditional media will get the message, loud and clear, that the person with the lowest credibility on this issue is using it as a political tool to drum up some support.
That's all this is. Either that or he was just looking for a reason to put off that debate.
Update: Turns out McCain didn't stop campaigning last night. He lied to Letterman, told him he wouldn't be campaigning and going back to Washington in order to cancel his interview with him, and then went and did an interview with Katie Couric: