Ballot Box

The critics are weighing in on McCain's bombshell decision to suspend his campaign: is he a maverick or just mad? McCain's unprecedented move was made as polls showed the Republican candidate behind Obama, which engendered skepticism from voters and the media who believe his plan is just a stunt.  Today's buzz: Can the man who says he wants to put Country First convince voters his actions aren't wholly self-serving?

  • The NYT editorializes that there has been no leadership -- from the White House or on the campaign trail -- during the financial crisis but McCain is farthest off the mark. Take-away: "Mr. McCain's idea of postponing the Friday night debate was another wild gesture from a candidate entirely too prone to them."
  • Bill Kristol writes in the Weekly Standard that McCain's move could win the election and prove that he takes his job as a member of Congress seriously. Take-away: "If the race is between an energetic executive and an indecisive talker, the energetic executive should win."
  • It's good that the candidates are going to meet with Bush to discuss the bailout but let's try not to let politics get in the way of policy-making (read: McCain's move was divisive), writes Ruth Marcus in the WaPo. Take-away:  "It was bad enough that he announced that the situation was far too serious to do anything as frivolous as debate -- not!"
  • John McCain's campaign suspension was transparent at best and selfish at worst, writes Harold Meyerson in the WaPo. Take-away: "Change the terms of the nation's economic discussion from the course we should take and the defects of the laissez-faire model that got us here to the indispensability of John McCain, leader of leaders."
  • Suspending a presidential campaign isn't putting country first, writes Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic's The Plank blog. Take-away: "It feels to me a bit like McCain is trying to use this crisis as a way to prop up his political fortunes."
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