Send Biden

By Al Giordano

The McCain campaign has been sinking both in national and swing state polls for more than a week now. Obama's been working out for the "foreign policy" debate (supposedly McCain's strong suite) for what could have been a knock-out punch (like the first Reagan-Carter debate in 1980, when the American public finally grew comfortable with Reagan; a similar scenario has been cooking this time in favor of the Democrat) come Friday.

And so you've probably heard the news that a few minutes ago McCain called for postponing the debate, says he'll "suspend" his campaign and go back to DC to work on the Wall Street bail out bill, and called on Obama to do the same.

It's not a bad gambit considering that McCain was heading into a buzz saw if he didn't do something to distract and confound.

My first instinct is that Obama could respond by saying: "I agree with Senator McCain and I'm sending my best man, Senator Biden, to Washington to represent our ticket's statement of economic principles in the negotiations on Capitol Hill, while I continue to cross the country and listen to what the people outside of Washington - not just the lobbyists and politicians inside the beltway - want us to do. Senator Biden is more than capable to captain our ticket's positions on fixing the economic crisis, but the solution can't just come from Washington DC."

This just came into the mailbox from Bill Burton of the Obama campaign:

At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal.  At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement.  The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.

Your thoughts, Field Hands?

Update: Will this be tomorrow morning's headline?: McCain to Mississippi: Drop Dead.

(If the debate is postponed, Mississippi could take a huge economic hit: the University of Mississippi in Oxford, the hotels, caterers, and service industry that have worked all year in anticipation of the debate as local economic stimulus package are not going to be happy about this.)

Update II: Ha ha. Fox News reports that the Obama campaign has told them that the debate should go on, that "this is not a sky is falling moment." Get it? Our meme has mutated! McCain is now cast as Chicken Little.

Update III: Here's a similar angle to that in Update I. Shephard Smith on Fox News seems to be pushing hard the idea that "they can do both" (the economic bill and the debate). Why would pro-GOP Fox News be so adamantly hostile to McCain's proposal? Because it's a business that has invested mega-bucks in the Friday debate coverage from Mississippi. Just like the folks in Ole Miss don't like the proposal for a change-up, neither will the news organizations: the imposed chaos hits them in the pocketbook, too.


Obama should suggest

Obama should suggest swapping the dates for the first presidential debate with the VP debate date, i.e., let Biden and Palin debate on Friday.




Why do anything at all?

I just got back from the lab, and when I read a post about this over at DKos, I thought it was snark. But apparently, the truth is stranger than fiction, and McCain is "suspending" (does that mean the ads come off the air? I hope so) his campaign to work on this crisis.


Unless this is the biggest attempt ever to lower expectations for him at the debate, I just don't understand this move. Why should the Obama camp give in at all? This crisis has been going on for 10-odd days now, and this is the first time McCain wants to do something about it? Please - he hasn't even been back to the Senate since April.


I don't see what Obama's strategy here is - maybe I'm just too dense.

Walk and chew gum

President's need to be able to focus on more than one thing at a time. McCain really can't work on the economy and do a debate?


Al, the first thing I thought when I heard the "news" (though it stinks to high heaven, IMO) was exactly that: SEND. BIDEN.


Just wanted to second your call.

Biden's the man for the job

Great call Al, I hope that is what the campaign does. Un-fucking-believable McLame was going to lose on Friday and he knew it, so he can act heroic and postpone to go to Washington. McLame is the most sorry excuse for a candidate for Prez in my lifetime.

Counterproposal - Move Up Biden-Palin Debate

This is akin to football team, trailing badly late in the 4th quarter, and attempting to stop the opponents from running the ball down their throats - calling for a time-out to slow momentum.

This is an obvious ploy on behalf of McCain and Obama's team will certainly recognize it for what it is. In fact, it is so transparent that I believe team Obama will respond with a deadly counterpunch.

Me? I would suggest that the American people need time to fully evaluate the candidate's respective ticket and therefore, suggest that the VP debate be moved up and allow McCain and Obama to work on the financial crisis.

Moving up the VP debate will put Palin-McCain team on the defense since they cannot obviously prepare in time. This counterpunch could be deadly..

McCain desperate

The desperation of the McCain campaign is showing in leaps and bounds. In regards to friday's debate - no way should Obama cancel it.  McCain's internals are tanking and he is seeking a way to change the subject.

Option to move debate?

I think Dems should not be pressured into rushing through this bill. Personally I would favor a more limited bill to address immediate issues, and leave the major decisions for the next president.  That is, I think McCain's call to cancel is a ploy and would agree with Al's response.  The debate absolutely should not be cancelled or postponed.  Enough with McCain/Palin avoiding talking in public without a script.  Wouldn't another alternative be to hold the debate in DC? Surely they could come up with a venue by Friday, and as it is not a town hall the location is not all that important.

Hope that joint statement includes lots of new taxes on the highest income brackets ...

McCain just saw a way to avoid the debate

Even if McCain and Obama hadn't been talking about issuing a joint statement, there would be no good rebuttal to McCain saying "this crisis (Which I didn't know existed last week) is too important to let sit while we campaign" because it's probably true.


In the end it is a great way of putting the debate off isn't it? If he can have the debate at another time when he hasn't had an absolutely miserable week with tons of bad press maybe he thinks it can help him if Obama's lead shrinks a bit in the coming weeks...


If only "McCain suspends his campaign"...

... meant the same thing as "Edwards suspends his campaign" did, or "Romney suspends his campaign" or "Guiliani suspends his campaign" or "Clinton suspends her campaign".

Imagine THAT headline - "McCain suspends his campaign, endorses Obama". Now THAT would be Country First!

The danger in sending Biden

The danger in sending Biden is that it lets the McCain campaign paint Obama as either so inexperienced he has to call for someone to hold his hand, or so aloof that he doesn't deign to muck in and *work* to solve problems.

On the other hand, joining hand back in Washington while making a public offer to move up the VP debate to cover the change in schedule sounds like a strong move.  McCain doesn't have to agree, but he'll make Palin look remarkably weak if he refuses.

Debate the Economy, Stupid


Please start the drumbeat: debate the economy if you're so patriotic, McCain.

Elizabeth K.

Call It What It Is

Pandering. Using an "emergency" in an attempt to short circuit the function of a democracy, only in this case an election.

You can't stop the functioning of a democracy because of an emergency. Drive that point home. Hard. Show how the responsibility of a President is to address multiple crises at one time and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who aren't on the take from companies that helped cause the problem to begin with *ahem* McCain's campaign manager, *ahem*. Show how the Bush administration dropped the ball by lurching in a half assed fashion from crisis to crisis just like McCain is trying to do.

Your solution neutralizes Biden as Palin's incompetence has neutralized her. I'd like to keep the 2 on 1 full court press going if at all possible (4 on 1 once the Clintons come online). I'm not a big fan of that. We have swing states to win.

And I'd oppose the cancellation of the foreign policy debate in light of <insert scary sounding foreign event such as the Marriott bombing here>. You can't neglect foreign policy because of a domestic crisis.  You can't take your eye off the ball.

Point being, we are now on offense. Stay on offense. There's a lesson that can be shown here that can make Obama look Presidential at McCain's expense if it's framed right.  Don't be pandered into giving up an advantage.

Better yet, state that he has a plan, he consulted with several economists, and release the plan. Show that he has taken a leadership position on solving this "crisis" through bi-partisan efforts already. Show that McCain is trying to work out a solution to something that Obama already has a proposed solution for.

There are a dozen positive reactions to this that can make Obama look better. Pick one. Keep preparing for the debate. Keep campaigning. Stay on offense.

Obama, in my humble opinion,

Obama, in my humble opinion, should be careful to lend any kind of legitimacy to McCain's economic "ideas" or Republican solutions for Republican made disasters. This is the FOURTH major crisis during the Bush administration (9/11, Iraq, Katrina) that could have been prevented had they just listened. I understand the bi-partisan reaching across the aisle thing, but for that there needs to be some equality in standing between parties and that just isn't the case right now. I also wouldn't agree with postponing the debate. There is a need for a debate, especially right now.


My first thought was McCain having some health issue.

Either sending Biden to DC or swapping dates with the VP debate sound like excellent options. NO WAY we have no show on Friday.

McCain looks truly desperate. I guess he wants to accuse Obama of not putting "country first" if he refuses to cancel.

I have to admit: McCain's campaign is creative indeed.

I'm still recovering from the shock.

This just makes me laugh

Yup, this country needs Sen. McCain's "experience" such as how he took money and favors from dealt with Keating and the S&L industry. He simple MUST be in Washington to make sure he gets a piece of the pie chance to contribute his input.

It's great to see McCain's campaign this flustered about the debate and I'm looking forward to the Obama campaign response.


Team Obama says debate is still on

At least from this report:


"The debate is on," a senior Obama campaign official told ABC News.

Obama supporter and chief debate negotiator Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., told MSNBC that "we can handle both," when asked about his reaction to McCain's call to postpone the first debate because of the administration's bailout plan.

He believes they are making good progress on Capitol Hill on the bailout and his initial reaction is that the work on the Hill should not preclude the debate from taking place."

I'm not a member of The Tin Foil Hat Society


Isn't this exactly why there has been such "urgency" to take the attention away from the election and to make the masses squirm?

Something that has been brewing for years, in now requires imediate action giving powers that boggle? It's a might fishy to me.

It's just a ploy to take the heat off and to put McCain on the Econ, I feel your Pain, Express.

Send Joe, let him do what VPs do.

I'd suggest that MacCain send Palin, but she's not allowed out yet.

Think I know what I'd like to see

Obama should agree to go to DC to work on the bail out BUT call for the debate to take place as scheduled, using the economic hardship that the area would endure if they were to cancel as one of the reasons to continue.

What Obama should do

I agree with your assesment Al. Since Biden would be the Obama representative, then Sarah Palin should be McCain's representative.  I think that sounds about right.

Smart or Dumb Move by McCain?

On the face of it, this is a smart and bold move by McCain. The debate this Friday is on foreign policy, which is the debate most likely to provide him the larger bump in the polls. By postponing it, he gets to appear presidential and serious, and push his biggest chance to turn the election around closer to November 4.

However, this is not a smart move for a few reasons. In the context of his campaign's recent actions and its relationship with the press, this will likely (and rightly) be seen as just another political move and an attempt to "run" from the debate. Further, if he doesn't succeed in the postponement, and it's unlikely that he will,  he will be displaying weakness. As Obama has just called for a bipartisan effort, and as McCain agrees, McCain's weakness is even further highlilghted.

Make it a Biden-Palin debate

Obama should simply say that he is already working in a bi-partisan manner and that since the schedule was already set for Friday evening (when Washington business is not being done) that Friday is a good time for a debate - especially as Al points out that it will affect Mississippi and UMiss @ Oxford.

Nice try by McCain but make them have to decline a Biden Palin debate.  That way Obama can be bi-partisan and make McCain explain why his number 2 is not up for the job.

Obama Should Call for Friday's Debate to focus on ECONOMY

Obama should counter by calling for Friday's debate topic to be about the Economy.


This would completely counter McCain's headline grabbing, maverick move and would enforce Obama's message the McCain wants to go to Washington to solve the problems behind secrecy while Obama wants to reach out to the folks and home and open communication and talk about his position.

McCain seizing initiative

McCain is simply reading those polls that say more American trust him in a crisis but trust Obama to handle the economy. McCain therefore trying to change this situation into the crisis he needs. In that regard, it strikes me as a good ploy by McCain to fill a leadership vacuum left by the lame-duck Bush administration.  

I agree with Peter Ellis that sending Biden to Washington to deal with the crisis while Obama takes the temperature of America would be dangerous.  Obama risks looking weak, outside the loop, and not conveying a proper sense of urgency.  All of which opens the door to McCain to score points for leadership in time of crisis while knocking Obama for not putting country first. 

What a ridiculous political

What a ridiculous political stunt by John McCain.  In the face of certain defeat in November, he is trying to call a time out.  Maybe we should cancel the November election and just take a show of hands on Friday to see who should be president. 

Does John McCain realize that there is virtually no precedent for such a move.  Even during the Civil War and World War II, our democracy continued to work and presidential election campaigns moved forward depsite heavy loss of life. 

McC can only do one thing at a time?

By the time I write this, Barack will probably have spoken, but:

My take: 1) Rick Davis was on Freddie Mac's payroll until last month. 2) Barack should make the statement that a President must be able to tackle several BIG problems at the same time...why can't McCain?

Plus, the elctoral process must proceed in the name of the *greatest* democracy in the world...

Lots of people called for Guliani to stay as Mayor on NYC right after 9/11 and they proceeded to campaign and hold the election as scheduled.

McCain doesn't tell Barack what to do.  Barack should tell McCain that a President has to do lots of things at once and be prepared on Day One to deal with a multitude of things at the same time. Period. That's what Presidents do.



waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!



The degree to which McCain is willing to risk and gamble is simply amazing (and scary).

I hope Obama agrees to go to Washington and work on the issue, but that the debate goes on.


Palin's round-the-clock curfew (house arrest?)

I'd suggest that MacCain send Palin, but she's not allowed out yet.


...makes it kind of hard to "fire up" the base with such a curfew ("couvre feu" in French = cover the fires). On the plus side, McCain has no shortage of safe houses.



I'm still speechless

I go to the dentist for a couple hours and come back to this.  Man, McCain's team is nothing if not bold.

I like the walk and chew gum angle.  And it took them 10 days to decide that we are now all of a sudden in such desperate straights that we have stop the campaigns??  For how long?  Should the decision from the Hill be hasty?  I get the impression that most Americans would prefer a good decision to a hasty one.  And I also think Congress has probably been more able to effectively deal with this without Obama and McCain present.  McCain is effectively now saying that these two must be involved in crafting the solution.  Obama's position is to put forth his basic principles but let those in DC hammer out the details - which they are doing.

I think changing the topic for Friday to the economy, while difficult for the candidates and the debate staff, would be a very beneficial exercise for the country.

Still reeling...

McCain's campaign has officially jumped the shark

The Palin pick was a sign of its impending lunacy, but this just takes the cake.  Suspending the campaign? What's he going to do?  Stop airing all ads, cease field operations, and spend 3 all-nighters at the Federal Reserve?

bizarre. truly bizarre.

My first thought is that Obama's move is shrewd. It might annoy the base, in that it is "bi-partisan" and elevates McCain up to the playing field when McCain couldn't lead his way out of a paper bag on this. In some ways it's throwing a life rope. On the other hand, it's responsible, presidential kind of governance. It neutralizes McCain's "Obama puts politics in front of the country" and co-ops "Country First". It also just might be the right thing to do.

Also, I've gotten IMs from the less well informed who believe the McCain meme that "Obama has done nothing" during this crisis. Maybe this stems that criticism.

In that context, McCain's punting on the debate seems BIZARRE. So Obama has pre-emptively taken away the "put country first thing" because they have already made calls to deal with the crisis. To suspend the campaign now on top of it just appears as if they are unable to deal with running a campaign while also doing what needs to be done as a Senator -- which suggests questions about management and so on.

In fact, it seems so bad that it looks like a set-up to me. I'm glad Obama isn't taking the bait.

Obama has a chance to go for the jugular here

By asking to postpone the debate, McCain just admitted that he's not up to the job of being President.


The President has a lot of hats to wear.  Helping shape economic policy is one.   Handling national security policy is another.  And the real world doesn't give you the option of wearing just one hat at a time.   Seriously, just to pick a hypothetical situation:  What is McCain going to do if (God forbid!) North Korea kicks out the UN and fires up its nuclear weapons program while we're trying to address a liquidity crisis on Wall Street?  Is he just going ignore one of the two problems?

(I suppose he could send Sarah Palin to deal with Korea... Why not?  Pyongyang is closer to Alaska than Moscow, so she must be a real expert.)

What this stunt says to me is that McCain doesn't think he can simultaneously handle a foreign policy crisis and an economic crisis, not even in the election playground.  In other words, he doesn't think he's got what it takes to sit in the Oval Office.




Dishonorable yet again....

If it is urgent enough to suspend the campaign, why not return to Washington immediately and skip the speech tomorrow at CGI?  This is a blatant political stunt that will inspire McCain true believers and should disgust independents for its blatant political grandstanding.

couple of other thoughts...

when i talk to undecideds, "experience / leadership" are the only 2 things left against Obama (Fournier be damned). I think that sending in Biden would reinforce the wrong message, as would changing the topic to the economy for the debate. I like the idea of being presidential and saying, "I can do all of these things at once, Senator McCain".

This is pulling the fire

This is pulling the fire alarm to avoid taking the midterm. What a stunt, and I just hope it backfires.

Coming soon....

I'm sure we are only a few short moments away from the McCain campaign deciding that the economic situation is so severe that the Vice-Presidential debate with Palin should be cancelled for the sake of the country.

Who's writing this fiction?

Who's writing this fiction?  If it was delivered to a good editor, it would be rejected as not possible!  Love the HuffPo lead: "McCain wants a time out."  "Only thing changed in past few days are the polls!"

What happened to that 'courageous hero' who can handle anything?  Gone.(did he ever exist?) This is not a sensible human being.  His desperation is frightening. He scares me!

Carry on I say

For a start President's should be able to do more than one thing at a time!

And whilst this is a serious situation, the campaign are right that it isn't a 'sky falling' one and getting all dramatic about it only makes a situation worse.

Also to those who say make this Friday's debate about the economy - no! The one thing the Obama team fought for when it came to the debates was to make the economy one the last one - it's the one people remember most. And whilst circumstances have conspired to make the economy the major issue recently I don't see why that position should change

Kos rules!!!

Can't get the link to work - maybe this one will:

It's up at DKos now.

I like the response of

I like the response of "Hunter" at Daily Kos.

The prodigal son returns. John McCain has announced that America is finally confronting a crisis that he doesn't feel he can be absent for.

Some fun facts about John McCain: Of all Senators, John McCain has been the most absent. There have been 643 votes taken in the current Senate session: McCain has missed 412 of them.

McCain has not voted in the Senate since April 8th. Since March, he has missed 109 of the last 110 votes.

The meme should be, John McCain is proving himself, once again, to be unable to campaign and govern at the same time.

Long after the Republican primaries were moot, and while Obama and Clinton were still engaged in state-by-state battle, McCain was repeatedly absent from his current job as Senator from Arizona, while Obama and Clinton made time to return to work when it mattered.  And Ted Kennedy was able to return to work while recovering from brain surgery to cast a vote that McCain skipped.


Our President has Spoken!

We can and should deal with the negotiations AND have the debate. I can deal with more than one thing at a time!

You go, Mr. President!


waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!


McCain asks Congress to bail out his failing campaign

How's that for a one-liner?

Theater of the Absurd

I'm with Blue_SD above. I thought this was a joke of some kind when I saw the first headline. Republicans continue to impress as the lowest of possible life forms. This is the most unadulterated playing of politics that I think I've ever seen. If it wasn't already abundantly clear that the McCain campaign has nothing but contempt for voters, this should cinch it. From a fundamentally strong economy to the Great Depression, the Sequel, in 10 days. Amazing. Whatever statement Obama makes, I hope it includes a reference to McCain's initial reaction. He needs to definitively illustrate just how completely kookoo McCain is.

This is officially a circus. And the elephants have lost their minds.

I have another thought...

that McCain has truly lost it. Some of the irrational comments by him, decisions by him, signs of confusion. Maybe he and his staff have become alarmed at his lack of focus and alertness and are pulling this move out of desperation.

@ Allan Brauer 4:39pm, good Kos article. McCain's sudden urge to get back to Washington doesn't really jibe with his record of abandoning it since April does it?

What if Obama were a governor and not a senator ?

Would Mccain have gone ahead to suspend the campaign ?

I think this is a repug ploy to gain time. During this "suspension", we are sure to see 527's vile ads attacking Obama, for which he could not respond immediately.

How come repugs are always allowed to initiate and frame narratives ?



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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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