Friday, September 26, 2008

McClone charade ends where it began: Focus on McCain

The latest news reports say that after a week of "will he or won't he?" speculation John McClone has finally announced that he will participate in tonight's presidential campaign debate at the University of Mississippi. According to the New York Times:
Senator John McCain’s campaign said Friday morning that he will attend tonight’s debate with Senator Barack Obama at the University of Mississippi, reversing his earlier call to postpone the debate so he could participate in the Congressional negotiations over the $700 billion bailout plan for financial firms.
Remember Clone's earlier announcement about what he was doing (NYT, 9/24/08):
Declaring that it was time to 'set politics aside,' Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he would temporarily stop campaigning and seek to delay Friday’s debate with Senator Barack Obama to return to Washington to help forge an agreement on a proposed $700 billion bailout of financial institutions before Congress.
If you've been wondering what this charade was all about. Here's how Clone "set[s] politics aside (NYT, 9/26/08):
His campaign issued a statement Friday morning saying he was now 'optimistic' that a bipartisan bailout agreement would be reached soon, citing 'significant progress' in the talks.

The statement was sharply critical of Mr. Obama, who, like Mr. McCain, returned to Washington on Thursday to take part in the bailout talks. The statement portrayed Mr. Obama as unduly partisan and insufficiently concerned with protecting taxpayer interests in the bailout negotiations, while Mr. McCain was framed as the leader of House and Senate Republicans seeking to reach a compromise agreement.

'The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was apparent during the White House meeting yesterday where Barack Obama’s priority was political posturing in his opening monologue defending the package as it stands,' said the McCain campaign statement.

'John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners. The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.'
Most observers say that Clone has contributed nothing to the discussions about the bailout. As of Tuesday he had not even read the White House three-page proposal and' as of this moment, he still hasn't stated his position on the current version of the "bailout" proposal. From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
It's hard to see the logic or value in Republican nominee John McCain's move [Wednesday 9/17] to suspend his presidential campaign, thus hoping to avoid his first debate with Barack Obama [to]night.

Presidential campaigns took place in 1864 in the midst of the Civil War, in 1932 with the Great Depression and in 1944 during World War II. Suddenly the nation's Republican standard-bearer needs to retreat from campaigning because Congress is working on a financial rescue plan.

.... While Mr. McCain professes concern, his move looks more like an irresponsible campaign trick, directed against Barack Obama and the voters.
It's clear that Clone created this circus because a week ago he was down in the polls, his vice-presidential choice was being ridiculed, so he tried to make himself the center ring of this political circus. Only time will tell if his Hail Mary pass will be caught for a touchdown or intercepted for a six-point loss.

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