Yesterday, we had one candidate talk like a president. The other acted like a president.
In the morning, Barack Obama contacted his Republican rival’s campaign and proposed the two candidates issue a “joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal.” Â John McCain responded by saying they should also both suspend their campaigns return to Washington and get something done.
The Democrat offered words. Â The Republican proposed action. Â Each candidate seems to have the same recurring theme to his career.
In his eloquent initial response to McCain’s proposal, Obama may have offered his best line of the campaign, “â€œPresidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time,â€ but like most of his great achievements in life, it was pure rhetoric. Â McCain said they would have to deal with this one most pressing issue. Â Once again, he tackles a tough issue head-on.
While initially rebuffing McCain’s proposal to return to Washington to hammer out a Wall Street bailout, Obama finally capitulated and agreed to President Bush’s invitation to come to the White House with the Republican nominee and congressional leaders to work out a deal.
What seemed to some a reckless move at first turned out to be one of the boldest moves of the campaign. And itÂ paid off. Â Obama may deliver better speeches, but his rival is driving the action now. Â
On Wednesday, John McCain looked like a leader. Â Only he didn’t appear so at first, like a general who makes what appears to be a foolhardy move, but when the enemy takes the bait, proves to be a brilliant tactic.
Not only was this good politics for John McCain, but it was good politics for the nation. Â Getting all major parties together means we should come up with the “least worst” solution to this mess. Â No wonder John McCain is looking pretty presidential right now.
THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: Â Below the jump, I reference other bloggers and pundits who have weighed in on this matter:Newt Gingrich:
[McCain] put everything on the line to try to put together a bipartisan sizable economic package to replace the failed Paulson bailout package. . . . This is the greatest single act of responsibility ever taken by a presidential candidate and rivals President Eisenhower saying, â€˜I will go to Korea.’
. . the politics of McCain’s move . . . may work to his advantage. 1) He needed to change the story line and flush out the “fundamentals of the economy strong” mis-step from last week, and this does it; 2) it’s not going to strike most people as wrong or unreasonable for a senator to go to Washington and participate in a senate debate over this historic bailout package; 3) as long as it isn’t perceived as gimmicky, people will like the anti-politics-as-usual feel of McCain “suspending” his campaign; 4) they can still have the debate next week. Earlier this evening, as I was wondering how this would play out, I thought either Obama was going to drag McCain to Oxford and that’d be the sign Obama won this mini-duel, or McCain would drag Obama to Washington and it’d be a sign McCain won it. Now, with an assist from President Bush, McCain has Obama following him to Washington.
The financial crisis continues and Congress is deadlocked.
John McCain leads by suspending campaign, postponing the debate, and urging the president to call a key leaders summit, to include himself and Barack Obama.
Obama refuses McCain’s call, demands the debate go forward, and sputters about being available if he’s needed.
President Bush convenes the meeting that John McCain suggested.
. . . .
Today was Obama’s Katrina moment and an example of great leadership by John McCain. This contrast was telling and will matter.
What was striking about Obama’s comment was his remark that if â€œthe Congressional leadershipâ€ needed him, he’d be available. It’s an odd way to put it â€” he is the leader of his party now and he seemed utterly disinterested in doing anything that involved active problem-solving/deal-making. He does after all have a current job â€” in the Senate.