News Release: Politics

Sep. 25,  2008

McCain's Call to Halt Campaign Risky, Unprecedented



Two Emory University political scientists say Sen. John McCain's request to suspend campaign activities, delay the first debate with Sen. Barack Obama and concentrate on the economy is unprecedented, with no predictable outcomes.

"I have never heard of anything happening like this. I don’t see how McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and his desire to delay the debate are going to have an effect on the economy," says Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz. "People really want to hear what the candidates have to say, and although foreign policy is supposed to be the topic, they can use the debates to talk about the economy."

"This is completely new territory, very interesting, high stakes politics,” says Emory political scientist Merle Black.  "McCain's absence from the first debate, if it occurs, would be unprecedented and risky. It would give Barack Obama an opportunity to speak directly to Americans without opposition for 90 minutes."        

"McCain's priority this week is helping resolve the current financial crisis rather than debating his opponent.  His absence would indicate that a bipartisan bill that satisfies sufficient members of both parties has not been struck," Black says. "If McCain can help bring about a resolution of the crisis before Friday night, he is likely to appear in Mississippi and claim credit for leadership that transcends partisanship."

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