Gustav redux: McCain's meltdown spin--updated!
Here's the "Breaking News" update currently topping Reuters.com: "McCain says will suspend campaign to return to Washington Thursday to help with bailout negotiations, asks that Friday debate with Obama be postponed so bailout negotiations can continue."
And here, linking to Reuters, is how Time's Mark Halperin describes the same development: "McCain suspends campaign, wants debate postponed."
Easy there, media! First, as my colleague David Bernstein just noted here in Phoenix HQ, it's not quite right to say McCain is suspending his campaign. He's still running for president, and he'll still be on the ballot in November. Maybe he's suspending his campaign activities--though, if the GOP's response to Hurricane Gustav during the Republican National Convention is any indication, there'll be plenty of politicking going on while McCain's campaign (or campaign activities) are "suspended."
Also, can we all acknowledge that this alleged turn toward apoliticality is actually intensely political, just like it was in the RNC?
UPDATE: Now Reuters has a small story up. The title--"McCain suspending campaign to deal with Wall Street crisis"--fits the earlier Reuters / Halperin spin, but doesn't seem to jibe with the lede, which reads: "Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday said he will break off from campaigning to help on a Wall
Street rescue plan and asked that a Friday night debate with Democrat Barack Obama be postponed" [emph. added].
UPDATE II: Right on cue, the McCain camp has gone to work milking McCain's allegedly apolitical proposal for political benefit. From Fox News:
McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said
McCain is just following his belief in putting the country first. She
noted that he suspended the Republican National Convention when
Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast and supported the unpopular troop
surge in Iraq by saying he would rather win a war than win an election.
"We all watched the [Senate] hearings
yesterday. … The bottom line is he did not think we would reach a
conclusion and it's absolutely imperative that we do so. This is
vintage John McCain. He is going to put the country first and suspend
the campaign," Pfotenhauer told FOX News.