Obama Says Now is the Time for a Debate

Sep 24, 2008 6:59pm

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will not match Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in suspending his campaign to work on the economic crisis in Washington DC, and made clear that he believes Friday’s presidential debate should go on as scheduled.

"I believe that we should continue to have the debate," Obama said in Clearwater Florida. "It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess."

Obama said a president needs to be able to deal with more than one thing at once.

Obama made his statements during a rushed press avail thrown together at the last minute, following a 5 minute phone conversation with Senator McCain where the two men agreed that they should issue a joint statement about the emergency economy proposal being debated in Congress.

Senator McCain came out first with the news speaking to a press pool in NYC – much to the Obama campaign’s surprise.

Senator Obama said there may have been a miscommunication when the two men spoke just minutes before, and that he didn’t get the impression at that point that McCain had made up his mind decisively about the debates, or suspending his campaign, which McCain had announced.

"The only possible miscommunication might have been how quickly there was announcement and somebody was on television. I think probably my assumption was, was that the joint statement would go out initially."

Senator Coburn had reached out to Senator Obama last night, suggesting that the two candidates should issue a joint statement. At 8:30 am today Senator Obama left a message for McCain, and at approximately 2:35 pm the two men finally spoke on the phone.

Obama told reporters that he will not suspect his camping and echoed repeatedly that the debate should go on because the economic situation is the very reason that the American people should hear from the two men that would inherit the nation’s problems.

The Obama campaign will also not match McCain’s decision to suspend advertising, previously scheduled campaign stops and fundraising. Senator Obama has a slower campaign schedule than regular – spending three days in Florida preparing for the debate. The Obama campaign says that he will likely go on with a local stop somewhere in the Tampa are on Thursday.

Senator Obama says he will return to Washington, DC this week if Congressional leadership asks him, and thinks it’s helpful for him to return.

"If it turns out that we need to be in Washington, we’ve both got big planes. We’ve painted our slogans on the sides of them. They can get us from Washington, D.C., to Mississippi fairly quickly."

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