...Republicans said the standoff was hurting McCain's campaign and that he would look terrible if he didn't attend the nationally televised, eagerly anticipated debate while Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was ready to go on stage.Well, duh. I hope Republicans didn't actually have to tell McCain that.
Some of my friends think McCain did the noble thing by suspending his campaign to concentrate on the economy. I think it blew up in his face, for two reasons Obama stated clearly the other day:
* Now is the time to have a debate, with the economic mess on everybody's minds and people wanting to know how the candidates are going to fix it.
* You have to multitask as president. You can't suspend one part of your job to focus on another part.
And here's another reason -- David Letterman caught Big Mac in a whopper, saying he had to fly to Washington but somehow finding the time to sit down with Katie Couric. Nobody thought Letterman would grab a raw CBS feed of the interview and expose it to viewers. McCain's campaign is now saying that it wasn't the time for comedy. Why not just man up and say that in the first place?
One more reason: Sarah Palin's interview with Couric. Watching it was painful. Palin talked in hyphenated, hesitating speech like she was going through the file box in her mind, looking for a GOP talking point on every question. (And to my friends at the Friday morning Prayer Breakfast, I'm sorry, but Katie asked legitimate questions. You can not dump on reporters when they grill candidates you like. That's part of their job.)
Take a look at how she answered some questions... or mildly restated them:
Couric: When President Bush ran for office, he opposed nation-building. But he has spent, as you know, much of his presidency promoting democracy around the world. What lessons have you learned from Iraq? And how specifically will you try to spread democracy throughout the world?Where were the specifics? And what about the lessons from Iraq?
Palin: Specifically, we will make every effort possible to help spread democracy for those who desire freedom, independence, tolerance, respect for equality. That is the whole goal here in fighting terrorism also. It's not just to keep the people safe, but to be able to usher in democratic values and ideals around this, around the world.
As for the economy... Palin finally grabbed a talking point.
The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They're not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this and see what way the political wind's blowing? They're waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson's proposal.Maybe Americans already have.
Couric: Why do you say that? Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barack Obama?
Palin: He's got the track record of the leadership qualities and the pragmatism that's needed at a crisis time like this.
Couric: But polls have shown that Sen. Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.
Palin: I'm not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it?