There are just over 48 hours until the first scheduled presidential debate but the whole event may be up in the air with the surprise announcement from John McCain that he is suspending his campaign and asking for the debate to be postponed while Congress hammers out a Wall Street bailout plan.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced in a statement that it's game on as far as they are concerned tonight:
"The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is moving forward with its plan for the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. this Friday, September 26. The plans for this forum have been underway for more than a year and a half. The CPD's mission is to provide a forum in which the American public has an opportunity to hear the leading candidates for the president of the United States debate the critical issues facing the nation. We believe the public will be well served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled."
As the story develops, some key points on where things stand:
Should the debate go forward?
McCain: No. "I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis." Senior Aide Mark Salter said McCain would participate in the debate if Congress passed an agreement by Friday morning.
Obama: Yes. "I believe that we should continue to have the debate…It's my belief that this is exact time when the American people need to hear form the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsibly for dealing with this mess and I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."
Suspend campaign events?
McCain: Will deliver his speech at the Clinton Global Initiative Thursday morning but will not appear on The Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday night. McCain had no campaign events scheduled for Thursday.
Obama: Had no campaign events scheduled between now and Friday's debate Return to Washington?
McCain: Announced he will return to Washington after his CGI speech. A Democrat tells ABC News' Jake Tapper that in a phone call late this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told McCain that it would NOT be helpful for him to come back to Washington, DC, to work on the Wall Street bailout bill.
Obama: Will stay in Florida for the time being and will NOT return to Washington unless asked by Congressional leadership and it is not the time to infuse Capitol Hill with presidential politics. "I've told the leadership in congress is that if I can be helpful then I am prepared to be anywhere at anytime."
Voting on the bailout plan as it stands?
Neither candidate has indicated yet how they would vote but a senior McCain campaign official told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that the "Bush package is dead."