I honestly hadn't thought about the fact that McCain has already done this "Stop Everything Because I Say so" stunt before-THIS election season (with postponing the RNC first night). But he ALSO did it when he was running for office in 1999! on Wonkette From Gawker.
McCain also “suspended campaigning” when he ran for president eight years ago. After telling the press (his base) that he was going to announce his run in March 1999, he melodramatically “postponed” the announcement because of the U.S. bombing of the Serbs in Kosovo (and the rest of Serbia).
On a single day during this brave non-postponement, McCain appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Larry King, Charlie Rose and the business channels to talk about Kosovo and his suspended campaign.
Um, that puts McCain's *suspend campaign* baloney into the realm of definite political stunt. He did the very same thing yesterday-with David Letterman and Katie Couric-EXCEPT HE WAS CAUGHT.... by Letterman.
First up, what changed in the last 48 hours? Oh, right. McCain and Palin are going DOWN in the polls (and gee, they knew there was a friggin Wall Street Journal poll coming out that would show how far) . How come, as David Letterman said when he discovered that McCain had LIED to him about cancelling because he immediately had to go back to the airport (and instead was getting all made up with Katie Couric), McCain didn't trot out his VP candidate to keep on campaigning. Oh, RIGHT. She's down in the polls too and he's scared to have her go out on her own without him. (If you didn't see this cringe-worthy interview with Sarah Palin and Katie Couric, here's the link, but warning that you will be having to make yourself watch, she's so awful).
Guess what. Yesterday morning when his campaign said he was spending the day with leaders in the Senate, et al, he was actually talking to that Elitist Rich White Woman Lady Lynn de Rothschild From Andrew Sullivan.
Well, from the McCain campaign's public record:
Senator McCain was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama.
And this from the Politico:
The McCain campaign's new urgency about the financial crisis didn't entirely clear his schedule this morning. My colleague Amie Parnes reports that he made it to his scheduled morning meeting with Lady Lynn de Rothschild, a Clinton backer who recently came out in support of him.
Gee. Lying. Just like he did to Letterman, who he told he he had to cancel because he was immediately flying back to Washington but instead was secretly doing a Katie Couric interview.
If the Politico is correct, then the McCain campaign just put out a bald-faced lie. This kind of demonstrable lie can now be shown beyond any doubt in Palin's public statements at least twelve times.
Obama called McCain in the morning.
After describing their conversation about a possible suspension, Obama said: "I thought that this was something that he was mulling over. Apparently this was something that he was more decisive about in his own mind."
Obama described their conversation as follows: "I proposed putting out the joint statement. He concurred with that. he then also said, 'I would like us to look at suspending the campaign and pushing the debates off.' I said, 'let's put out the joint statement first, and then get our campaigns to discuss this.'" Obama said he later saw McCain announcing his plans on television.
One more time: If this version of events is true, McCain's public call for a suspension was anything but apolitical. If McCain had truly intended to keep this apolitical, he would have asked Obama to jointly suspend the debates, made his own full intentions clear, and waited for Obama's private and definitive answer before going public.
Between the time that Barack Obama called up McCain in the morning (and may only have left a message for his campaign without getitng a direct callback yet) and McCain's stunt, his campaign was hard at work developing talking points for the press. And then, after calling Obama back, McCain issued his statement about suspending the campaign.
McCain campaign spokesperson Brian Rogers offers his chronology of the phone calls between the two candidates in a statement:Senator Obama phoned Senator McCain at 8:30 am this morning but did not reach him. The topic of Senator Obama's call to Senator McCain was never discussed. Senator McCain was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama. At 2:30 pm, Senator McCain phoned Senator Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Senator Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem.
Obama's campaign earlier said that Obama called McCain this morning "to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement." That's not contradicted by this new McCain statement.
Another point: According to the McCain campaign, he asked Obama at 2:30 PM today to "lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem." In other words, he presumably asked Obama at 2:30 to suspend the campaign with him. Soon after McCain went public. Did he let Obama know he was going public, or did he blindside him?
And it looks like he got George the Lesser on board to help him. And here.
Political Stunt Smart or Not Smart? DUMB.
Oh, brother. What idiot came up with this stunt?
It ranks somewhere on the stupidity scale between plain silly and numbingly desperate. McCain and Obama are both members of the senate and they're both able to help craft a solution if they wish to do so without putting the presidential campaign on hold; after all, I’m sure congressional leaders would be willing to accept their calls if they have some important insights to impart. And while one of them will eventually become president, neither one is president yet, nor is either one a member of the congressional leadership; I’m confident that somehow the administration and the other 533 members of congress will be able to muddle through without tapping into the superior wisdom and intellect of their nominees. Sorry, john; it really sounds like you're afraid to debate. This sounds like the sort of ploy we used to use in junior high school elections.
P.S. Here's how bogus the whole *suspension* is.