Bill Clinton: Don’t ‘Overly Parse’ McCain Request to Delay Debate

By Nitya

Sep 25, 2008 8:26am

ABC News’ Nitya Venkataraman Reports: Former President Bill Clinton defended Sen. John McCain’s request to delay the first presidential debate, saying McCain did it in "good faith" and pushed organizers to reserve time for economy talk during the debate if the Friday plans move forward.

Appearing on Good Morning America Thursday, Clinton told ABC News’ Chris Cuomo that McCain’s push to postpone the debate would only be a good political move if both candidates agreed. McCain announced on Wednesday that he would "suspend" his presidential campaign to come to Washington to help negotiate a financial bailout bill

"We know he didn’t do it because he’s afraid because Sen. McCain wanted more debates," Clinton said, adding that he was "encouraged" by the joint statement from McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.

"You can put it off a few days the problem is it’s hard to reschedule those things," Clinton said, "I presume he did that in good faith since I know he wanted — I remember he asked for more debates to go all around the country and so I don’t think we ought to overly parse that."

If the debate moves forward as planned for Friday night, Clinton says "they should be able to talk about this some of the debate because it is a security issue."

The former president thought Bush’s address Wednesday night on the economic crisis had a "positive reaction".

"I thought it was the clearest statement of why we’re in the fix we’re in, at least what the nature of it is and why some national action is needed," Clinton said.

He said that both Democrats and Republicans "should move as quickly as they can" on the president’s economic rescue plan but that both parties "want to know exactly how this $700 billion is going to be invested..to stabilize the system."

President Bush’s bipartisan meeting on the economic crisis will take place at 4pm at the White House, both Obama and McCain will be in attendance.

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