Barack Press Conference


4:56 – Barack ends press conference. Says he still wants debate to take place, but I sense that he knows it’s not going to happen.

CNN – Dems instantly on attack. Schumer – the last thing we need in these delicate negotiations is the injection of presidential politics.” Schumer thinks McCain was weird, and he hasn’t been on capital hill for so long that he can’t be helpful.

4:52 – in response to question on matching McCain in suspending campaign and advertising, Barack said he plans on debating Friday night.

Is a joint statement still a good idea? Barack still thinks it could serve an important purpose.

“I proposed putting out the joint statement, he concurred with that.”

Barack indicates that McCain was on television with his decisions faster than Barack expected based on their phone call, but then was conciliatory, saying we’re both running our own campaigns and he’s glad to be a party to rising above politics.

Barack presidential – the problem is big, the problem can be solved. “We’ll make sure we get through this immediate emergency.”

4:50 – McCain called Barack back in response to the joint statement inquiry and said he thought they should both return to Washington, perhaps even meet with the President. But Barack again hinted that McCain moved faster than Barack expected after their conversation. Barack said he’s talked often with key players in Washington, such as Sec Paulson.

Barack non-committal on return to Washington. Says he’s available to go anywhere at any time if needed, but he doesn’t want to infuse Washington with presidential politics. “Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time.”

It may be necessary for both candidates to be present at some point to send the message that something’s got to be done.

445 – Barack is speaking, explaining that today’s actions by McCain were preceded by his call to McCain this morning suggesting that they issue a joint statement regarding the Wall Street crisis. He also added that his call to McCain was instigated by GOP Senator Tom Coburn, who called Barack to say that a joint statement would be appropriate.

Barack laid out terms he thinks must be part of the emergency legislation.

Barack’s statement did not include mention of the debate. This was left to the Q & A, and the first statement addressed Friday’s debate. Barack’s answer began with a rehashing of the events of the morning outlined above, suggesting, perhaps, that he’d been sandbagged by McCain. Then he added that the American people need to hear from the candidates about this “mess.” No need to postpone the debate, “in my mind, it’s more important than ever….”

4:15pm Update – It appears that Obama, who will speak this hour, believes that he can’t afford to follow McCain’s lead, and instead wants a showdown. With the White House issuing a statement in support of McCain’s decision, Harry Reid has made a statement calling for the candidates to hold their debate, saying they’d only be a distraction in Washington.

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