USA - VOTE 2008

McCain will attend Mississippi debate

John McCain's campaign has announced that he will be attending the debate with opponent Barack Obama in Mississippi tonight, after having asked for it to be postponed because of the ongoing financial crisis.


Republican White House hopeful John McCain will attend the first major presidential debate ahead of the US election, his campaign said Friday.

"We are going to the debate," advisor Nicolle Wallace said of the event in Oxford, Mississippi later Friday.

"The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the senator will travel to the debate this afternoon," his campaign also announced in a statement.

"Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners."

McCain had suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday and called for a postponement of the debate, saying he wanted to join efforts in Washington to chart a way out of the worst financial crisis in decades.

But the Republican now judged that "significant progress" had been made on legislation for a massive financial bailout, after a lightning Washington trip during which an apparent growing consensus on the legislation unravelled.

"Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the administration, members of the Senate and members of the House," the statement said.

"He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations."

Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri is the designated negotiator for House Republicans on the bill going forward, the statement said.

"John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis," the statement said.

"In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington," it said, decrying a "blame game" in place of bipartisan effort.

Democrats were trying to "force" on the rest of Congress their version of 700-billion-dollar legislation first proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to soothe a financial sector crippled by fallout from the subprime mortgage debacle, the statement said.

"There was no deal or offer yesterday that had a majority of support in Congress. There was no deal yesterday that included adequate protections for the taxpayers. It is not enough to cut deals behind closed doors and then try to force it on the rest of Congress - especially when it amounts to thousands of dollars for every American family," the statement said.

Slamming Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's work on the deal as "political posturing", it said: "John McCain listened to all sides so he could help focus the debate on finding a bipartisan resolution that is in the interest of taxpayers and homeowners."

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning