The debate is back on, as John McCain folds his hand and flies to Oxford, Mississippi.
Perhaps he only had two options. The first was to keep campaigning as news focused on the bailout, his campaign manager's Fannie/Freddie ties, and Sarah Palin's outbreak of glossololia. The second was to blow up the campaign and hope it either stayed in stasis or that the sudden decision made McCain look like a fearless leader and Obama like a hapless follower. In order for the second plan to work optimally, McCain needed a deal this morning, and he didn't get it. Not only that, but reports are that both sides were losing their grip with the new attention and stakes McCain added to the negotiations.
What's the impact of the 48-hour stunt? If McCain's lucky, he'll have flustered Obama, who doesn't react quite as quickly to wild card moves like this, and the Democrat will botch the debate. If he's not lucky, then we're back to the previous state of the race: Obama stubbornly ahead, McCain boxed in.
McCain puts out a statement, and this portion underscores why I think the stunt was ineffective (on the continuum of McCain "country first" campaign-suspension stunts, at least).
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. 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.
Was the campaign suspended or wasn't it? If McCain was confident about getting an advantage here, he wouldn't be goosing the statement with attacks on the Democrat.