McCain Seeks Delay Of Friday's Debate

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain said he is planning to suspend his campaign until there's an agreement on the financial bailout of Wall Street.

McCain said he would return to Washington on Thursday, and he called for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Friday, to be postponed. Late Wednesday, however, the Commission on Presidential Debates said the debate on foreign policy in Oxford, Miss., will go ahead as planned.

NPR's David Greene, who is traveling with the McCain campaign, tells Melissa Block that McCain's announcement was dramatic.

McCain said "the window could be pretty short for getting something done in terms of legislation to deal with the financial crisis," Greene says. "He said he hoped there could be some kind of consensus worked out over the weekend."

At a news conference later Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he had reached out to McCain earlier and talked about a joint statement that the two candidates could make. He said, however, he did not think the debate should be delayed.

NPR's Greg Allen, who is traveling with the Obama campaign, says McCain's statement took the Obama camp by surprise.

"They did not expect him to call for the debate to be called off," he says.

The two sides are also offering differing accounts of what was discussed in the phone calls and when.



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