Wa-Po on McCan’t-make-it’s debate decision as campaign strategy

McCan’t if-I’m-not-winning-I’m-not-spending economic policy is as impressive as his running mate’s you-hoo-I-see-you approach to foreign policy – the Washington Post has the story on his strategy.

Sen. John McCain’s surprise announcement that he would temporarily suspend his campaign to return to Washington to help broker a deal to save the financial industry is the latest in a series of political gambits surrounding the financial crisis on Wall Street, and is sure to reshape political calculations and voter attitudes around the volatile issue.

The move is an obvious attempt by McCain and his campaign to paint the Arizona senator as above politics, willing to put aside his campaign for the good of the country.

It comes as two new national polls — including one conducted by the Washington Post — show McCain slipping in the head-to-head matchup against Barack Obama due in large part to voters’ inclination to trust the Illinois senator to solve the financial problems of the country.

The McCain campaign believes that their candidate is at his best when he is seen as a deal-maker, willing to reach across party lines to get things done for the good of the country. This economic crisis, they believe, provides McCain a chance to show the sort of leadership that voters value in the Arizona senator. (emphasis added)

“John McCain’s leadership and experience credentials outrank Barack Obama’s,” said Sarah Simmons, a McCain campaign strategist, this morning. “[We are] walking through a crisis and people are looking to see how it is going to be handled.”

…McCain appeared to be getting the worst of the exchanges on the economy — if recent polling is to be believed.

In a new Washington Post/ABC News survey released today, Obama led McCain 52 percent to 43 percent, an edge largely built on the increase in the number of voters who believe the Illinois senator is best positioned to handle the economic crisis. A survey also released today from Fox News/Opinion Dynamics showed Obama with a 45 percent to 39 percent lead — a significant improvement from a poll done by the same organization earlier this month that put McCain ahead by three points.

The move was announced in a statement in New York City this afternoon in which the Arizona senator said he was pulling his campaign ads down and canceling all fundraising beginning tomorrow. Obama did not respond in kind. The announcement came just hours before President George W. Bush is preparing to address the nation at 9 p.m. ET tonight on the economic crisis.

Someone just needs to read McCan’t announcement Friday and let Obama speak for the rest of the time.

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