Bluff and counter-bluff?

Despite Sen. John McCain's call for a postponement, preparations continue for Friday's scheduled debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.
REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Despite Sen. John McCain’s call for a postponement, preparations continue for Friday’s scheduled debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.

What a day. One writer called Wednesday’s events “a daring duel of political brinkmanship” during “a compelling day of political bluff and counter-bluff.”

Sen. John McCain announced he was suspending his campaign to help negotiate the financial rescue package in Washington — and that he thought Friday’s debate with Sen. Barack Obama should be postponed. Obama said he thought the debate should go on; a joint statement was issued. Both were invited by President Bush to the White House, along with congressional leaders, to discuss the package. The day was capped with a TV appearance by Bush, explaining the origins of the financial crisis and appealing for quick congressional action.

The political and financial worlds are abuzz. Here’s a sampling of what observers are saying today:

News stories and analysis:

Christian Science Monitor: “In risky move, McCain calls for debate delay”

Washington Post: “Selfless or reckless? McCain gambles on voters’ verdict”

Agence France-Presse (AFP): “Financial crisis creates daring duel for McCain, Obama”

Rocky Mountain News: “Political pros dissect McCain’s debate move”

Politico: “Dodd praises ‘quantum leap’ from Bush”


Newspaper editorials weigh in:

Wall Street Journal: “The candidates vote ‘present’ “

New York Times: “Absence of leadership”

Boston Globe:
“McCain’s debate stunt”


Columnists’ and bloggers’ reactions:

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post: “McCain’s Ploy”

William Kristol, National Review:
“A presidential McCain”

Mickey Kaus, Slate: “McCain: Drama Queen”

Bob Franken, Huffington Post:
” ‘Cool Hand Luke’ ” it isn’t”

And then there was Letterman.

Susan Albright, co-managing editor of MinnPost, can be reached at salbright [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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