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McCain's Curveball Not Without Risks

John McCain is no stranger to shaking up the campaign landscape. The announcement that he will suspend his campaign activities to return to Washington for the Wall Street crisis (and the suggestion that Friday's debate be postponed if no deal is reached) isn't quite the shocker the Sarah Palin pick was but it's another curve ball from the Republican candidate. Some quick analysis/thoughts/questions on the plusses and minuses:
  • While both candidates rely heavily on rhetoric about bipartisanship and bringing both parties together to solve problems, this is a rare example of one of them actually taking steps to do that.
  • But, it may be received as just a campaign stunt from a candidate who appears to be slightly behind in the race. McCain, who has been on the defensive on the economy, certainly could benefit from the move but how will voters see it?
  • The tea leaves surrounding the administration's Wall Street bailout proposal haven't been looking so bright for its passage, which is one reason why the president is addressing the nation tonight. It's a pretty safe bet that if nothing is done and the instability continues, it wouldn't be helpful to McCain's cause.
  • Even if McCain gets what he is asking for – a bipartisan solution to the bailout proposal that includes him and Obama – it's not without risk. As signs grow that the current proposal is becoming unpopular, there could be resistance to any sort of a bailout deal. And the next one would have McCain's imprint all over it.
  • If the debate does go on at this point, can it possibly stick to the assigned topic – foreign policy? And will he get another shot at an all-foreign policy debate?