Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

McCain: Bad Student Then and Now

Like a junior high student who fakes a cough to get out of the exam because he knows he isn’t ready, the New York Times is reporting that John McCain has spent little to no time preparing for the debate.


The debate on Friday was to focus on Mr. McCain’s perceived strength, foreign policy. Mr. McCain had not planned to devote large blocks of time to debate practice as did Mr. Obama, who was holing up with a tight circle of advisers at a hotel in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to prepare. Mr. McCain had a preparatory session on Wednesday afternoon at the Morgan Library in Manhattan, but advisers said it had been interrupted by his decision, announced immediately afterward, to suspend his campaign.

Democrats were withering in their reaction to Mr. McCain’s decision.

“Now that we are on the verge of making a deal, John McCain airdrops himself in to help us make a deal,” said Representative Barney Frank, of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. “Frankly, we are going to have to interrupt a negotiating session tomorrow between Democrats and Republicans on a bill where I think we are getting pretty close to troop down to the White House for a photo op.”

“What, does McCain think the Senate will still be working at 9 p.m. Friday?” Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania said in an interview, referring to the scheduled start time of the debate. “I think this is all political.”

The move to “suspend” his campaign is about four things, in my opinion:

1) McCain is clearly not prepared to debate Obama this Friday. He is not ready to debate on the economy, given his previous statements that he is not that well versed on the issue (as evidenced by his many gaffes on the subject). Frankly, I don’t believe he really wants to talk about foreign policy and explain why we should be spending 10 Billion a month in Iraq while Iraq sits on a huge surplus.

2) His tanking poll numbers have clearly freaked him out. Notwithstanding the NBC poll, just about every national/state poll has Obama surging since the economic crisis hit. McCain has at no point shown any ability to get ahead on the issue. This is like a basketball team calling a 20 second time out after the opposing squad going on a 10-1 run. This stunt gets the focus off his many issues (Palin’s disastrous CBS interview, Rick Davis, etc) and back to a discussion of political tactics.

3) This is speculation, but one wonders if McCain is having something of a money crunch. He only has 84 Million to spend, and while the RNC has plenty of money, they cannot directly coordinate with the McCain camp. “Suspending” their campaign allows them to save money while still getting publicity for this stunt.

4) Getting Sarah Palin away from the media and debates. The McCain camp is floating a plan to move the debate to next Thursday and moving the VP debate to some later date. Given her awful CBS interview, this is hardly shocking.

Now, I suppose this gambit could work; Ben Smith at Politico posits the best case scenario which I don’t think is likely. What’s important here is that Congressional Dems have Obama’s back and don’t do anything to undermine him and give McCain the ability to claim credit for a deal.


September 25, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Great stuff, you’re on fire with this.

    Comment by dansac | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. I was just reading a post on another blog and was surprised that someone else had picked it up: McCain’s left eye is really, really droopy. There’s something going on:

    Anyways, it’s possible that he’s trying to distract people to figure out what’s next. If he has to drop out, then Sarah Palin would have to run for President and all would be screwed for Republicans.

    A reporter MUST ask him when was the last time he went to see the doctor and if the doctor deemed him fit for office. I think Letterman’s right: there’s something fishy, and I think it’s more than his current numbers (although I’m sure that’s part of it).

    Comment by Suzie Q (not the blogger) | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. The GOPers are up to something and the MSM is letting him get away with it.

    Comment by trellskig | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. First debate has McCain highly favored. Even Obama camp thinks so. Most likely scenario is that Obama is afraid that he will forget all the info drummed into his head by the lawyer that defends would-be presidential assassins.

    Comment by KMichaels | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  5. Real Reason why McCain chose Palin : Sexist and condescending

    Also his poor record of voting against equal pay for women and opposing Equal Roles for Women in the Military should be the business of American women voters.

    Comment by SaraB | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. @ KMichaels –

    If you really believe the crap that you just posted I feel sorry for you, but more importantly, I fear for America’s future. You need to look inside yourself and ask some tough questions like:

    “Why do I need to believe the obvious lies that McCain, Bush and company constantly feed me? Am I an addict?”

    “Can I possibly sit with the idea of picking and choosing which civil liberties should be protected under the Constitution?”

    “Am I really this uninformed?”

    Comment by JustKozy | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  7. It’s just more proof that he has absolutely no substance.

    Comment by cougar182 | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  8. My wife has been saying for a couple of weeks that she thinks McCain looks really sick. Over 450 doctors have signed a petition asking him to release his physical report to the media, rather than the quick view of over 1000 pages of his history.

    Comment by Mike Williams | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  9. LOL, McBush is an idiot. Plain and simple.


    Comment by Jiff Jones | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  10. My understanding is that the first debate was going to be about foreign policy, not the economy, and that this was a request from Obama’s team to allay any concerns about his grasp of the issues. If this is true, then the idea that McCain is not prepared doesn’t hold much water.

    Also, tanking poll numbers should encourage McCain to debate. Most people consider him to be a better debater than Obama, so a good performance would help him.

    I think the truth lies somewhere closer to your fourth point – they are afraid of putting Palin in front of the klieg lights.

    Comment by john flores | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  11. you hit the nail on the head Great Job!!

    Comment by naturalhealer | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  12. Obama can turn the tables on McCain and call his bluff easily on this one: counter-propose that they make a quick switch and make tomorrow the VP debate.

    The talking points:
    – OK. Let’s go back to Washington to work on this.
    – The American people still deserve to hear how their country will be led.
    – The added benefit is that we can demonstrate the ability our VP choices to step in at a moment’s notice and take over.

    Comment by G. Stein | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  13. McCain Fails at Debate Preparation |…

    \r\nLike a junior high student who fakes a cough to get out of the exam because he knows he isnt rea…

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  15. […] compares him to  "a junior high student who fakes a cough to get out of the exam because he knows he isn’t ready". […]

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  17. I cannot believe this whole circus show of a Presidential Election. America is so far gone. The way I look at this election (as presented by the media) is the Obama camp is Britney Spears and McCain camp is Lindsy Lohan.

    I couldn’t help but cackle wildly when I heard this news. If he can’t keep his campaign going, how in the hell is he going to keep America going considering we’re not “going” he talks about change yet can’t show up for a debate? He is a joke and just needs to go back to his ranch and slowly die on his front porch.

    I think his presidential nomination should be revoked for this stunt.

    Wheres Ron Paul?

    Comment by Jack C | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  18. […] an interview, referring to the scheduled start time of the debate. I think this is all political. McCain: Bad Student Then and Now Strategy ‘08 The New York Times > Log […]

    Pingback by Here is Why McCain Wants to Move the Debate - Political Wrinkles | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  19. Another theory is McCain knows, or thinks he knows, something that will give him an edge in this debate. If that’s the case, I could see him doing all this to increase interest, and viewers.

    Comment by Chris | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  20. Holy crap! I think you nailed it on the head. Not only is McCain using this to slow down the bleeding in the polls but more importantly, he’s using this to GAIN CREDIT for solving the crisis. He will walk into Washington and when the deal gets signed, he goes campaigning saying he SOLVED the financial crisis.

    I hope this backfires on him. He is willing to do anything to get elected. It’s sickening.

    Comment by Tycoon Dreamer | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  21. You’ve perfectly hit the head on this issue! I feel McCain is trying to postpone the debate and buy time so that Palin would not have to speak and he can prolong the indecisiveness of the minority who are still in a confusion of Obama Vs McCain.
    Such a political confusion/controversy could only give him more of an exposure and publicity which he might not be able to do with his lack of finances.
    McCain plays a low game!

    Comment by Giselle | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  22. I’m always nitpicking McCain’s campaign people, because they are so full of fail. A lot of the crap that tanks him is from their bad advise.

    One thing they’ve done horribly about is premiering their candidate. Instead, they try to set up opportunities to get their own faces on TV. His senior adviser is a complete bimbo – she needs to stop being on TV, since she constantly contradicts everything that McCain said earlier. Clearly, they are spotlight hogs.

    Another thing that they are bad at is responding to negative press. Today, when the media essentially crucified McCain as the reason the bailout deal is failing, they didn’t respond to any of that until 5 hours later. After Obama’s campaign, the Democrats, the Republicans that don’t like McCain, and the analysts all came out and ripped him to shreds on TV and the Internet. They should have been prepared for this type of thing, but they always seem to get caught “off-guard.”

    Lastly, the campaign isn’t suspended. The fact he announced it on TV was the start of using the economic crisis as his vehicle of campaigning to shore up a lagging base. TV commercials still ran, because most stations would not pull them because they were already embedded in the programming (despite McCain’s people coming out a day late saying, “Hey, we did too pull the ads and Obama took up our TV time!” which was absolutely false). And his people are still there, responding to everything. Had he really suspended his campaign, they would have said, “Look, we’re not supposed to respond because the campaign is official suspended.” Yet, there they are, talking to the media, stumping for themselves and McCain.

    Absolutely screwed up campaign group. McCain needs to fire all of them (especially that Pfotenheffer or whatever lady who generates horrible anti-McCain sound bites against her own boss).

    Comment by mcclaud | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  23. McCain is a Senator is he not? If he was my Senator I would want him in Washington doing what he was elected to do, representing his constituents in this pressing matter.

    Comment by KN | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  24. @KN

    McCain is a Senator is he not? If he was my Senator I would want him in Washington doing what he was elected to do, representing his constituents in this pressing matter.

    True. To bad that today marked the first time he had been back since last April…

    Comment by rob | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  25. To check out the astrological info of McCain, Obama and Palin, go to

    Comment by rpm1122 | September 26, 2008 | Reply

  26. All I know is I went to a bar last night, opened up one of the bathroom stalls and saw Kevin sucking some fat dude’s dick.

    Fucking nasty dork… had coke all over his lips, too.

    Comment by Kevin Rose is Gay | October 10, 2008 | Reply

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