John McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign and try to push back Friday’s debate, to focus on the economic crisis, is either a desperate “stunt” or a tactically “smart move,” said Andy Barr in Politico. Republicans say it shows leadership; Democrats call it a political “Hail Mary” to reverse McCain’s slide in the polls. The “final verdict,” though, lies with the voters, about three-fourths of whom, according to a poll, think the debate should go on as planned.
Not only is this “an example of great leadership” by McCain, said Hugh Hewitt in Townhall, it is Barack Obama’s “Katrina moment.” In pushing for the debate to go on, Obama showed he doesn’t get “the seriousness of the moment.” The contrast is “telling.”
What’s telling is McCain's “panicked” decision to hide from the debates, said Ezra Klein in The American Prospect. This stunt makes him look like “a kid pulling the fire alarm because a final is coming up and he hasn’t studied.” Sorry, but “you don’t get to call time out when you’re president.”
The debates should go on, no matter how “this plays to Joe Dorito and Jane Six-Pack,” said David Weigel in Reason online. People actually watch them, to learn about the candidates’ political and economic ideas—like how they’d handle a huge bailout. Besides, scrapping a debate 48 hours beforehand hardly reassures Americans or markets.