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Iowa State Evaluates McCain's Decision To Suspend His Campaign

This story was written by Dylan Boyle, Kim Norvell and James Heggen, Iowa State Daily

John McCain doesnt know shit about the economy, said Steffen Schmidt, Iowa State University professor of political science.

Senator John McCain announced Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign in order to go back to Washington and work on fixing the economic crisis. He also said he wishes to delay Fridays presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.

Schmidt said McCains decision was unbelievable and that its the dumbest thing Ive ever heard in my life. He even went as far as to say McCain should fire his campaign manager.

But Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center, said McCain has a valid argument for going back to Washington. However, she wasnt sure why he decided to go just before the debate.

Our next president is going to have to deal with the economy as well as foreign policy issues, so ... its understandable to me that he might want to work on the economy, Bystrom said. I just think the timing of it is a little unusual two days before the debate. I dont doubt his sincerity in wanting to work on the economy, but its just the timing is a bit odd.

Schmidt said McCain is really just trying to avoid the debate with Obama on Friday. Schmidt was concerned that McCain was just using the economic crisis as a political ploy because McCain has said in the past that he is not as strong on economics as he is on other issues.

The Republicans are scared to death, because now its the economy, stupid and the Republican party is responsible for a lot of the stuff that is happening, Schmidt said. [McCain] doesnt know anything about the economy hes said it many times.

Bystrom couldnt say whether this decision will help or hurt McCains campaign because its not anything that has ever happened before.

I have no idea why he did it, Bystrom said, Its a situation where he will be criticized for doing it or supported for doing it, its not a win-win situation for him. Theres some political risk in doing it, so its hard to say why hes doing it.

Samantha Clark, senior in political science and president of ISU College Republicans, disagreed with Schmidt, saying McCain made a wise decision.

I think that John McCain is a smart man and I know he wouldnt have done this as a political move or publicity stunt, she said. He did what he knew was best for his country, just like his campaign slogan country first.

I think we need all hands on deck right now. Hes including Senator Obama and himself he really wants both parties to come together. If the focus is on the economy then that is what we need to focus on. If that is what John McCain is doing, then I support him 100 percent.

Clark said McCain is likely to pick up independent swing voters because they will be able to see his strong character, evident by his plan to return to Washington.

If [Obama] feels like he needs to be out there picking up on his votes while John McCain is fixing issues, then he can have those votes, but that doesnt mean he got them in the most just way, she said.

Tyler Platt, president of ISU Democrats and sophomore in chemical engineering, said he doubts how sincere the decision by McCain was.

It looks to me like its more of a political posturing than anything else, he said.

Platt said he thought the campaign should go on.

I dont think suspending a debate two days out is really going to make a whole lot of difference, he said. If anything, I think they need to be discussing ways that they can help get the United States out of the financial crisis that its in.

Platt questioned McCains motives. He said it looks likeMcCain didnt know what to debate Obama on and is using this to buy some time to prepare.

A solution to an issue like the state of the economy needs to be a bi-partisan one, Platt said, and the candidates should be working together to try to come up with solutions.

And not just trying to one-up the other person, he said.

Whether McCains decision is viewed as positive or negative, Clark said the decision was necessary.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

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