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John McCain's September surprise

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Dan Janison at Newsday sums it up quite well.

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If you take it at face value, Sen. John McCain's bid to put off tomorrow's first presidential debate will look like a high-minded move by a purposeful leader who puts governmental duty before politics.  But face-value means little right now - in either mortgage speculation or presidential politics.  Tactically for McCain, this is a simple throw of the dice.

Hey, he's thrown the dice before.  A little over three weeks ago (it seems like three months ago), McCain tapped a complete unknown to be his running mate.

Shrieks of gamesmanship and cynicism erupted.  But CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer saw something else.

"This was John McCain the old fighter pilot, putting it all out on the line there, taking the risk, out of the blue," he said.

Oops

Many are up in arms this morning.  One Monitor reader compares the McCain move to a chess game gone bad:

So, Senator McCain wants to suspend the presidential campaign and cancel the debate, huh? Reminds me of the times when I was a kid playing chess with my father, and when I saw I was losing I would “accidentally” overturn the chess board and send the pieces crashing to the floor.

"Rovian" is a new word

Would it really be a controversy if you couldn't attach Karl Rove's name to it?  Our readers make the connection:

This is classic Karl Rove/Steve Schmidt strategy. When the conversation is not in your favor, change it with a spectacle (Celebrity — Berlin, Palin — Post DNC Analysis of Obama’s speech, Suspend Campaign — sliding in the polls because of bad reading of market conditions).

Obama

Obama, of course, doesn't buy any of this.

"Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time," Obama said on McCain's call to hold off on the debate.  "It's not necessary for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else."

But what else could he do when President Bush, at the request of McCain, called the Democratic nominee and asked him to participate in a meeting Friday to help "solve" the crisis.

He had to go.

Advantage McCain

So, in a very bad week for the McCain-Palin ticket, McCain gets a win - for the day.  Just how long that win will last is unknown.  Will he complete the Hail Mary?

No says Washington Post op-ed columnist Harold Meyerson

Can McCain pull this off -- persuading the public to forget how he and his fellow Reagan Republicans changed the nation's economic rules in ways that allowed Wall Street to run amok, and refocusing its attention on his decisiveness at this moment of crisis? I doubt it.

With Doug Flutie's miracle pass, we were able to see the results in mere seconds.  With McCain's desperation heave, we'll have to wait just a bit longer.

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