John McCain has announced that he is suspending his Presidential campaign and asked Barack Obama to do the same:
NEW YORK — Republican presidential nominee John McCain this afternoon said he would suspend his presidential campaign tomorrow to return to Washington and help reach agreement on a plan to solve the financial crisis on Wall Street, and called for a delay of Friday night’s presidential debate.
“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal,” McCain said in a brief statement to reporters. “I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.”
McCain said he is calling on President Bush “to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”
The campaign also announced that McCain was canceling today’s planned appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”
Obama will apparently respond to this move within the hour, but I don’t think he really has a choice but to follow McCain’s move at this point.
The question is whether this is a politically smart move on McCain’s part. Unless he goes to Washington to lead a fight against the Bush Administration’s proposed bailout plan, he risks ending up getting tacked as the poster boy for a bailout that, by all accounts, is increasingly unpopular.
Of course, the idea of having Obama and McCain talking about foreign policy while Congress tries to deal with the most serious financial crisis we’ve faced in decades is really sort of absurd when you think about it.
Update: A further thought…..
The biggest risk for McCain here is that he goes to Washington and ends up taking the lead on an alternative to the Bush Administration’s plan. If that happens, then it automatically becomes the McCain plan and any consequences that flow from it will be his responsibility.
As I’ve said more than once during this election year, this is unprecedented.