Thursday, September 25, 2008

Columnist scolds McCain for saying cancel debate

With John McCain threatening to pull out of Friday night's debate at the University of Mississippi in rural Oxford, an area columnist is chiding the senator on his lack of "Southern manners." McCain says the debate should be canceled to allow both candidates to focus on the financial crisis, but columnist Wendi Thomas of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis notes McCain's family roots in Mississippi and says of his proposal to renege after a year and a half of planning, "That is just not done. And what's more, it isn't necessary."

While Thomas agrees there is a crisis, she says the debate would take relatively little time, a president must multitask, and cancellation would upset many. "It is tacky to renege on such short notice," Thomas writes. "And if McCain is indeed a no-show Friday, I'm sure the hosts at Ole Miss, in a gracious display of Southern hospitality, will nod understandingly and smile. But when the cameras are off, the hosts are going to be peeved." (Read more)

UPDATE, Sept. 26: Harry Smith of CBS asked Republican Gov. Haley Barbour this morning, "If you were a betting man, would you bet that John McCain" will be at the debate? "I am a betting man," the gregarious Barbour replied, adding that he would bet on McCain attending. (Sorry we can't provide full verbatim.) Barbour seems to have not only wishful thinking, but to be putting pressure on his party's nominee. Later in the day, McCain said he would show up.

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