Although Congress don’t have a bailout deal, Republican John McCain agreed to attend the first presidential debate Friday, backpedaling on an earlier decision to delay the event until Washington had taken action to address the crisis.
With less than 10 hours until the debate was scheduled to start, the McCain campaign announced that the Arizona senator would travel to the University of Mississippi. The campaign said that afterward McCain would fly back to Washington to continue working on the financial crisis.
Obama had always planned to attend the debate and was onboard his plane preparing to take off when McCain's announcement was made.
McCain had taken a gamble with his position, trying to appear above politics and as a leader on an issue that had overshadowed the presidential campaign and given him trouble. But Democratic rival Barack Obama had not bowed to McCain's challenge, and instead questioned why the Republican nominee couldn't handle two things at once — the debate and involvement in the bailout negotiations.
An Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll out Friday just before McCain's announcement showed the public overwhelmingly wanted the candidates to debate, 60 percent to 22 percent, with the rest undecided.
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