On To Mississippi

By Al Giordano

McCain's proposal to postpone Friday's debate is already an epic fail.

Barney Frank nails it: "It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."

Pass incomplete.

Obama's going to Mississippi to debate an empty chair if need be: "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 do only one thing, and suspend everything else."

There's a basic law of physics here: Objects in motion stay in motion. This juggernaut of a campaign, the millions of volunteers and small donors, the media budgets lavished on it, a year of meticulous and fair planning by the national debate commission... no one man, not even a candidate, can stop that by unilateral fiat. I'm impressed by how quickly McCain's gambit crumbled in the course of two afternoon hours (and take back my previous statement that it didn't seem like a bad move).

Wow. Just, wow.

If this were chess, McCain would be in check right now.

What do y'all think he'll do now?

Update: You know what? The American people love this campaign! It's been - for better or worse - the media circus that has broken all records (just look at the highest-ever TV ratings for both conventions). When the coliseum is filled and the public chants for blood, you simply cannot be the buzzkill that walks out on the field and says "everybody go home now." No! Bring on the lions and the gladiators. McCain suddenly looks very weak, like Roberto Duran crying "no mas" while being pounded by Sugar Ray Leonard. Today may go down in history as the prelude to a landslide.

This is one of those "and I thought I'd seen it all" moments.

I love this campaign. What's not to love?

Update II: I can't resist putting my signature on this one-liner and must ask aloud: Does this mean Obama will be debating an empty rocking chair?

Update III: Here's video:




Al is right on again.

Ole Miss:


ABC News' Tahman Bradley Reports: A senior University of Mississippi official reacted Wednesday to the news that Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., wants to postpone Friday's presidential debate, saying that such a move would be "devastating" for the university which has already invested millions in preparation for the debate.

The Obama team is in another league

This was an epic desperation move on McCain's part, followed by an equally epic fail. They created a lose/lose/lose situation.

Lose because he didn't get the debates postponed.

Lose because he looks chicken for even having tried.

And lose because now the economy is going to come up even more at the debate and deflate what would have been his big POW/Surge moment in the sun.

This is looking increasingly like a breakaway moment for the Obama campaign.

What do y'all think he'll do now?

Crawl up in a corner in the fetal position and cry "Mommy"!!!

I'm glad it's proving to be

I'm glad it's proving to be an epic fail, but I have a question for you Al - any chance McCain could try and rescue this situation for himself by portraying Obama as heartless or something similar for NOT stopping the campaign etc??

And this is just me being curious, as I said on the previous post I agree with Obama that President's need to be able to do more than one thing at a time and this was no cause to go off the deep end

empty chair

I would love to see that! McCain is completely off his rocker. The thought of him being president and dealing with crises scares me to death.

When I was a POW...

I couldn't hold a debate and think about something else at the same time.


waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!


I Think He's Gotta Show Up

He boxed himself in terribly.  He looks like an idiot whether he shows or not.  I guess another option is for the republicans on the hill to try to incite big problems into the deliberations.  That would be suicide for all though.

Taaa-Daaa = Ka-Thud!

My first reaction as this was unfolding was, "Wow, McCain is a trainwreck! This can't be good for the old man's health. Plus, he gives Drama a bad name!" (My undergrad degree is in Drama, so I take it "personal like.") I am gratified to see thatso many others are going, "Oh, Puhleeeze" as well. McCain has earned that meme. It deserves to stick. Crazy, Desperate Drama Queen.



I don't see how McCain saves

I don't see how McCain saves face on this one.  This is what happens when you have a craps player's mentality.  He just crapped out.

I have to admit

I was a little nervous that this latest stunt by McCain would be a "Sarah Palin" moment, meaning we would see a week of fawning press coverage and shift in the tracking polls, and hysteria from the CL section.

Obama handled this masterfully.

He'll crawl into the same bunker...

...currently housing Palin. Maybe they can avoid all human contact until November 4.

Man, but Obama is standing tall today.

The response from the McCain camp will be full of the usual dunce-cap platitudes: Obama doesn't care as much as me; Obama is putting his ambition ahead of the country; Obama noun verb POW; etc.

It's the media's reaction that matters here. Will they report this as the charade that it is? Or will they give McCain another free pass?

He'll use it as an excuse to go negative(r)

I tried to put country above politics, but my opponent wouldn't, so I have no choice but to......(whatever).



who is somewhere with power for just a minute and can't remember her log-in.  Do you all miss me?  We still don't have power and hopefully will by Sunday, more than two weeks after Ike. 

Re: Gemma

McCain can try whatever he likes, but that doesn't mean it will work. This is such an obvious political stunt that it has almost the complete opposite effect of what was intended, it was meant to look non-partisan but it ends up looking like a partisan stunt.

Wow... We are watching a campaign collapse in front of our eyes.

Wow.. That is all I can say!!  What a disastrous afternoon for the McCain campaign.  I honestly think they are still in the mode that they found themselves in when they decided to make the desperate pick of Sarah Palin.  They know from the polls that the only possible way they can win is to try and create a game changing moment.  They have to be looking at the polls this week and knowing that they have no real path to victory.  I'm sure their internal polls are showing worse numbers then we see in the MSM polls.

John McCain will do anything and say anything to win an election.  

Drama Queen

Man, McCain is the ultimate drama queen...

Can you IMAGINE what his White House would be like?!

Here's the email I just sent to my family & friends network

Breaking News: John McCain Asks Congress to Bail Out His Failing Campaign

John McCain, his polling numbers in free-fall, and with such veteran conservative commentators as George Will fleeing his sinking ship, today asked Congress to bail out his failing campaign.

McCain asked Congress to allow him to hide behind her skirts for the duration of the bail-out crisis so he can avoid facing America in a debate this Friday against Barack Obama, whom McCain described as "scary smart."

McCain's aides will begin navigating a course to Capitol Hill, as the Senator has not visited that location since April 8th and has forgotten the way.

McCain missed more votes (412 out of 643) than any other Senator in the present term.  More than even Ted Kennedy, who is recovering from brain cancer surgery yet still managed to return to the Senate, as did Obama and Clinton even while engaged in their primary battle, to cast a crucial health-care vote.  McCain didn't even return to cast a vote on the GI Bill.

McCain's aides promised to send current photos of McCain to Capitol Hill security and members of his staff so that they would not block his entry into the building or his offices upon his return.

"Any chance McCain could try

"Any chance McCain could try and rescue this situation for himself by portraying Obama as heartless or something similar for NOT stopping the campaign etc??"

That certainly seems like McCain's only remaining option to recover this fumble. But something tells me, based on today's events, that dog won't bite.

Western Mass for Obama

I agree, this really has been a fun campaign to watch.  Lots of ugliness -- from Hillary's "not as far as I know" response to whether or not she thought Obama was a Muslim to the several metric tons of bullshit the McCain camp has spewed into the atmosphere -- but it's really something to watch a campaign executed so beautifully.

They remind me of the '86 Celtics in the way they anticipate where the ball's going to be, and Obama has the same peripheral vision, the same awareness of the entire court, that Bird had. 

Shorter Obama

Shorter version: "It's not my fault you can't walk and chew mother!@#$in' gum at the same time, old man."



If this were chess

Al, if this were chess, McCain's next move would be to bid "3 no trump".

As I said in the previous thread, I'm not so sure we can count out the idea that he has lost it. They tried prepping him for debate and his handlers came to the conclusion that there is no way he can look passable at a debate.

(UPDATE: By the way I don't mean to imply that this is age related.  It's simply about his lack of focus, awareness and alertness.)

What I want to hear Obama say

Obama is right to say that as President it will be necessary to handle several things at one time.  Personally, what I want to hear him say is something along the lines of:


"Just because we are facing a financial crisis does not mean that al Qaeda is putting any plans it has on hold, it does not mean that Iran and North Korea are going to call time out, it does not mean that Putin is going to give us a break, it does not mean that our service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are not going to face hostile fire.  And it just these issues that Senator McCain and I are to debate in Mississippi.


Apparently, Senator McCain thinks those issues have become irrelevant for the time being and we can only focus on one thing at this moment in our history.  I can promise you the the mothers and fathers and wives and husbands and children of our service people who are in harm's way woudl never forgive us if that is what we did."

sure killed the other possible lead stories


1.National Enquirer expose on Sarah's local affair policy knowledge.

2. Sarah's illusion tot eh Great Depression.

3. the Polls

but don't feel blue we get Keith on Letterman instead of Grumpy.

I'm impressed SurveyUSA already polled this

Not sure how they pulled this off that quick:



People aren't buying McCain's idea.

Short and sweet


I know that as a journalist you don't like this little thing but reading your blog and Obama versus  "an empty rocking chair" all that I want to say today is ...roll the drums...            :)


Senator Harry Reid

So the Senate Majority Leader FINALLY did something without hemming and hawing and whining and screwing it up. Perhaps he had his lines handed to him today but at least he read them well.  I swear he and Lieberman are cousins.

I guess Timmons won't be needed anymore....

Well, given the latest developments I guess Timmons' services will not be needed.

McLame brings his gums to a knife fight

he's lost his (Poli)Grip! The Fix(odent) is in!



McCain pissed off the media: big mistake.

The media is already angry over Palin: See Campbell Brown's temper tantrum. Now, McCain tried to take away one of their  bread and butter debates. This would have gone FAR better for him if he'd call for no campaigning but the debate.

He over-reached in trying to shank Obama after Obama (stupidly IMO but stateman like) tried to get a joint statement on the bailout from him.

Survey USA has a quick and dirty poll saying people want the debates and the campaigns to continue according to TPM.

And McCain has hardened the "risky" assesment against him in the eyes of the media. Hell, George Will was calling him out. I can't imagine the columns to come.

Between that and the Palin VP debate; I think this campaign is freaked the hell out. The pollsters have to be scaring them mindless.

The McCain camp is in free fall and they tried to DISTRACT DISTRACT DISTRACT yet again ,that's all they've been doing all week.



Jeff Larson said:

 "They tried prepping him for debate and his handlers came to the conclusion that there is no way he can look passable at a debate."

But I'll take it a step further, I said it yesterday, he is not firing on all cylinders.

Although I know a few 80 year olds that could out think me, in MacCains case it is health and age related, he is not fit.

love it!

Al, I love it when you sound giddy. :)

It's strange

This is two hail Mary's they've thrown and we're only just now entering the 4th quarter.  I mean is this really the administration people want?  Gimmicks and Hail Marys all the time?  It gets exhausting just watching.

Did anyone catch Hardball?  I know they were going to discuss it.  Has Chuckie T weighed in?  I'm always curious to hear what the so called unbiased folks have to say.

The problem with this move

is that it's obvious to any thinking person that this, just like Sarah Palin, is a gambit for electoral gain (especially considering he didn't cancel his appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative or his meeting with Lady de Rothschild), which is in direct contradiction of the "country first" message that he intended to convey with it.

That's why I always found "Country First" to be a terrible political slogan (strategically speaking): it's an irresolvable paradox. By using it as a campaign slogan, you're by definition using all those supposed instances you put country before self-interest for partisan gain, and therefore not putting country before self-interest, but quite the reverse.

So yes, it's a terrible move. Only the people who already thought the world of McCain will fall for it.

Hail Mary pass

It's time to intercept this one and return it for a touchdown.  It would be really helpful to open up a really big lead on the Prez race so we can put more resources into the down ticket races.  Still going for the veto proof majority in the Senate.

A McInsane complete implosion could help us do that.

This is rapidly turning back

This is rapidly turning back on McCain.

I don't know if it was intentional but David Gregory called McCain's move a "campaign bailout."  God help him if that picks up.

Yeah But...

Yes, McCain's ploy flopped.  But remember, McCain is resilient.  He comes back.  He most likely will lose out big all week and during the debates.  But he may get some bounce if a bailout package is put together and approved in time.  He can come back next week and take credit...(much of the resistance to the current plan comes from the GOP...and "changing their minds" could be a convenient ploy to boost their man McCain.)  This may not be enough to save him, but before we start rediculing the old man as a surefire loser, let's stay focused on the fact that the Obama campaign has to be ready to deflect McCain's moves next week just as well as he has today.

@ We Won't

I strongly agree and have for some time.  McCain has made some pretty irrational comments.  It doesn't matter about the cause and the election should be simply about judgement, but his POW history (and the psychological damage he must have experienced) weighs on my mind.

Now CNN is reporting that

Now CNN is reporting that the McCain campaign wants to postpone the first debate until Oct 2 and moving the VP debate to another "later date".  I'm sorry, this is just bullshit.

Obama Camp plays the history card.

The Obama campaign on fire. Check this out.


Pff, Duran said no mas

Pff, Duran said no mas because Leonard was clowning, running, and in general confusing Duran, not because Leonard was pounding him.

Senator McCain vs Presidential candidate Obama

I agree, Al, this may be one of those defining moments that come out of nowhere. A desperate gamble answered with devastating calm and forthrightness. McCain pushes the panic button; Obama takes it in stride, saying it comes with the job.

If McCain believed his own rhetoric, he would seize the opportunity to use the scheduled TV time to explain the finance crisis, the proposed solutions, why they are different, why one is better, and the implications for America's future. That would help Americans a lot more at the moment than debating motions on the Senate floor.

Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt, I think McCain is showing us that he feels far more comfortable in the role of Senator than that of President.

McCain now has to show up to the debate anyway, or cede a national prime time stage to Obama during a national crisis. And he has to figure out how to play his flip flop. However he plays it, he is already playing the erratic foil to Obama's calm leadership, again.

Or perhaps he can go all in and send Sarah Palin as surrogate, who might possibly throw Obama off stride with her well-honed ability to ignore facts and reason.

Reschedule Two Debates??

DELAY the VP debate??!?!  This is friggin' ridiculous.  I mean it can't possibly be THAT bad for them is it?  This is a circus and it's going to create a media hailstorm.  You can't take away their debates from the media and the entire country is on pins and needles waiting for the VP debate.  I mean surely the smart Republicans are even going to be able to see through this one.  It's so patently desperate that I don't really get it.  Sure they are down a bit in the polls but there is still time for them to turn things around.  Why the panic?  Or am I just so biased that all I can see is panic and it really isn't???

I mean it's not like this is the week after 9/11 or something.  Now then I can see where folks would have been open to delaying the debates but TPM is reporting that the bailout is 98% of the way done with the Administration having conceded to many Congressional demands.

I need more objectivity on this.  It just seems like a total meltdown to me.


1. Wake up tomorrow pretending that nothing happened. Maybe we hear something like "in spite of Sen Obamas's insistence on cancelling the debate, I am for going on with it".

2. Go to Washington

2.1 If there is a deal, take all the credit for it and be the "mavrick" who solved the problem.

2.2 If things go badly, blame Obama for the failure.

3. Another creative McCain-campaign-moment (sorry, I haven't got as much imagination as these guys).

None of these seem good.

This campaign is just too good to miss a minute of it. Yet another night without sleeping to follow up? It's already 1 am here. Stupid timezones...


More Battleground Polls


Colorado: Obama 51 McCain 47

Michigan: Obama 51 McCain 46

Pennsylvania: Obama 53 McCain 44

Montana: McCain 54 Obama 43

West Virginia: McCain 50 Obama 46


Colorado: Obama 50 McCain 47


Insider Advantage

Colorado: Obama 50 McCain 41

My theory

Could it be that McCain wants time out to find a way to replace his VP with someone who at least has informed opinions?

The CBS interview tonight was terrible. All Palin could do was repeat the little she knows and could not give any further examples.

Asked what action McCain had taken in 26 years to support deregulation, all she could do was the lame Freddie and Fannie respose. Then saying she would research it and get back to Katie.

Vanity Fair shout out

James Wolcott gives Al a shout out about all this zaniness, and even some props to a Fieldhand:

One of his commenters compares McCain's stunt to a student pulling the fire alarm in order to get out of taking midterms.


An Empty Rocking Chair?

"John McCain said he was suspending his campaign to deal with the nation's economic crisis. McCain also said he would not attend Friday night's debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama unless an economic bailout deal is reached by then."

Since I am new this year to politics, I have a question.

What happens on Friday if there is no deal and McLame does not show up? Will Barack go on stage alone and get the same coverage?

The O campaign is saying the debate parties are going forward.

Doubling down: No Deal, No Debate????

"If there's no deal before the debate, McCain is staying in Washington, period, a McCain senior adviser tells NBC News."



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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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