Senator John McCain on Wednesday injected yet another surprise into his presidential campaign, announcing that he would suspend campaigning on Thursday and seek a delay in this week’s planned debate, so that he could return to Washington to try to forge a consensus on a financial bailout package.
“I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself,” he said in New York Wednesday afternoon. “It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”
A short time later, Mr. Obama appeared in a hastily arranged news conference in Florida and said he agreed that “there are times for politics and there are times to rise above politics and do what’s right.”
But Mr. Obama disagreed on the need to cancel the debate, scheduled for Friday night at the University of Mississaippi. “This is exactly the time when people need to hear from the candidates,” he said.
He added: “Part of the president’s job is to deal with more than one thing at once. In my mind it’s more important than ever.”
Mr. Obama noted that while Mr. McCain brought up the possibility of canceling their debate during a phone conversation, no agreement had been reached.
For now, the Illinois Democrat said he had no immediate plans to return to Washington, noting that he did not want to infuse Capitol Hill with “presidential politics.”