Obama: Debate Should Commence

Obama: Debate Should Commence

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama says he plans to continue campaigning and that Friday’s Mississippi debate should go on, despite Sen. John McCain’s announcement that he will suspend his campaign to focus on the nation’s financial crisis.

“It’s my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess,” Obama said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla.

Obama’s plans are in line with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which says it is “moving forward with its plan for the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi Friday.”

McCain had proposed delaying the debate so that the parties could focus on the crisis, with talks about the government’s $700 billion bailout plan.

“We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy,” McCain said in a statement. “If we do not act, every corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.”

McCain said he notified Obama of his decision and urged him to follow suit.

“I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Sen. Obama and myself,” he said. “It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem. “

Obama said at the news conference that his campaign had called Sen. McCain this morning, and that he and McCain had spoken by telephone this afternoon about issuing a joint statement addressing the need for a bipartisan strategy for the federal bailout, providing it met certain conditions.

Thereafter, McCain issued his own statement with plans to halt presidential politics to travel to Washington and become involved in bailout discussions.

Some say McCain’s redirection from campaigning to crisis is ironic considering his track record on economic issues.

“I don’t think that McCain is prepared to deal with this economic crisis that he finds himself in,” says Rep. Diane Watson of California. “He was the one who wanted to privatize the savings account. Just think of what that would have done to millions of Americans.

Watson notes that even Congressional retirement funds are at risk. “On our side there are a lot of people who say vote no for the bailout,” adds Watson, who blames the Bush administration, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox for the lack of oversight.

“Its all about who has solutions, and I think Sen. Obama not only has solutions for now,” says Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. “[Obama’s] whole economic agenda was more focused on the people who are the victims of this financial meltdown. Those are the people