Friday was supposed to be a debate between McCain and Obama on national security and foreign policy. As of this writing, no deal has been reached on the fiscal crisis. It appears now fairly certain McCain will not attend the debate.
If Obama's campaign spokesman has not spoken inartfully (always a distinct possibility), then the One intends to show up and use this as a nationally televised town hall style campaign event in McCain's absence. Allahpundit, looking at the polls, thinks this would be a coup for Obama and a bad move by McCain. It is, I think, a huge risk by both Obama and McCain if Obama goes solo Friday.
Obama's argument justifying going forward on this debate is that Presidents must be able to do more than one thing at a time. Obama's demand that this debate go forward on Friday is undercut by the fact that he refused to the mass of townhall debates McCain had offered. And indeed, Obama's multitasking argument is wholly undercut by his failure to take a week off the campaign trail in the last two years to convene his European Affairs subcommittee and discuss with our European Allies the huge problem caused by NATO's failure to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
There seems little doubt that Obama is bound and determined to push for this debate on foreign policy now because, one, he sees a chance for additional partisan gain in the timing and, two, he sees problems if it gets pushed off. As to the former, Obama is weakest on national security. A debate held on the issue now would be greatly overshadowed by the crisis. As to the latter, Obama, who cynically withdrew from public funding for the general election, has to raise tons of money in October. If this is kicked into October, it will have more of an impact on Obama's ability to campaign and raise money than it will on McCain.
I think Obama would look incredibly foolish appearing for an hour and half in a solo town hall format. Regardless of any benefit, the question would be raised why is he doing this rather than being with McCain working on the fiscal crisis that threatens this nation with depression. I have no doubt the MSM will have the One's back on this and spin it to his favor. I think it clear though that a large part of America no longer trusts in the MSM spin and are making up their own minds. If Obama chooses to go through with this plan and refuses to reset the foreign policy debate, he is taking extreme risk that it will backfire upon him in the polls.