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.”
That really sounds like a guy who wants to help Obama keep the advantage he’s gained over the last week due to the economic crisis, doesn’t it?
And speaking of, Ed Morrissey’s got probably the best take I’ve read this morning on Obama’s lame response yesterday to McCain’s request for a suspension of the first debate, and adds that the reason McCain made the request is due to a “3:00 AM call” situation after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told McCain surrogate Lindsey Graham that he feared the bailout bill would fail unless McCain got involved:
Here was [Bob] Schieffer speaking with the Early Show’s Maggie Rodriguez at 7:05 AM EDT today:
BOB SCHIEFFER: I am told, Maggie, that the way McCain got involved in this in the first place, the Treasury Secretary was briefing Republicans in the House yesterday, the Republican conference, asked how many were ready to support the bailout plan. Only four of them held up their hands. Paulson then called, according to my sources, Senator Lindsey Graham, who is very close to John McCain, and told him: you’ve got to get the people in the McCain campaign, you’ve got to convince John McCain to give these Republicans some political cover. If you don’t do that, this whole bailout plan is going to fail. So that’s how, McCain, apparently, became involved.
Here’s the latest on where Congress stands on a deal with the President on the bailout.