That’s a good point, John. Many of the stories actually focus on the bailout plan, and the “gamble” is not whether he can get out of the debate, but whether Obama would also participate. That’s a success. I’m trying to read these things with eyes not born of the beltway — if I were your average Joe, or an independent, would I buy that this is a cheap trick?
Talking to Jim earlier, he convinced me that it might be possible that Obama’s “you have to do more than one thing at once” would go over well. But the news in these stories is that Obama’s continuing his campaign, and McCain’s running off to go work on the legislation. Most of these stories don’t show as much of the cynicism they might have. But that’s the thing. The stories are asking whether Obama’s going to make a political calculation about the debates. Next week, that could probably be a problem for him.
Look, I’m not trying to be optimistic. As I said, the neutral headlines had McCain leading the news cycle, and the rest ones were about McCain pretty much winning it. It might be temporary, but I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a good idea.