CLEARWATER, Florida (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he wants Friday's scheduled presidential debate to go ahead, despite John McCain's call for a suspension of campaigning to deal with the faltering economy.
"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said.
He added, "I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."
(CNN) – Democratic leadership reacted to John McCain’s Wednesday announcement that he wants to return to Capitol Hill to work on the economic bailout plan and postpone the first debate by saying “presidential politics” should stay out of the negotiations.
Democrats on the Hill told CNN’s Jessica Yellin that after days of negotiations, they are close to coming to a consensus. If McCain comes back to Washington in the final stretch, they said they fear the Republican nominee may take credit for the deal.
Related: Democrats call McCain move a "stunt"
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said with the economy in turmoil, now is the perfect time for the candidates to discuss the issues on the national stage.
“It would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy,” Reid said in a statement. “If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership, not a campaign photo op.”
(CNN) - The University of Mississippi, site of this year's first presidential debate, released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the school still expects the event to take place as scheduled Friday evening.
"The University of Mississippi is going forward with the preparation for the debate. We are ready to host the debate, and we expect the debate to occur as planned," read the statement. "At present, the University has received no notification of any change in the timing or venue of the debate. We have been notified by the Commission on Presidential Debates that we are proceeding as scheduled. We will keep you posted as information becomes available."
(CNN) - Barack Obama is 'inclined" to go ahead with the debate Friday night, campaign sources tell CNN.
McCain said Wednesday the debate should be postponed if the economic bailout has not passed congress by that time.
Obama is expected to make a statement around 4:30 p.m. ET.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The House ethics committee voted Wednesday to investigate the conduct of Rep. Charles Rangel, the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The New York Democrat has admitted to failing to pay taxes on a rental property he owns in the Dominican Republic but said it was an honest mistake.
He is also accused of improperly using a rent-controlled New York apartment as an office and of using his position as a congressman to benefit a New York educational center that bears his name.
Rangel has denied intentional wrongdoing, and has said he will not step down from his committee chairmanship.
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct will set up an investigative subcommittee to look into the allegations and "determine whether Rep. Rangel violated the Code of Official Conduct or any law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct" as a congressman, it said.
(CNN) - Bill Clinton praised Sarah Palin Wednesday, saying he found the Alaska governor an “appealing person” and her and her family “gutsy, spirited and real.”
“I think that she and her husband and their kids come across gutsy, spirited and real,” he said in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday night. “I have significant disagreements with her about any number of social and economic issues but I find her an appealing person and I think that it’s best to say that Senator McCain looks like he knew what he was doing. He picked somebody who gave him a lot of energy, a lot of support.”
Clinton said Palin’s selection also helped Barack Obama, because it brought more Democratic money and volunteers to his campaign.
Watch: Clinton on Obama, Palin
Watch Larry King’s full interview with Clinton after Pres. Bush's 9pm address
Clinton told reporters in New York Monday he knows why the Alaska governor is attracting massive crowds on the campaign trail.
(CNN) - Less than an hour after Barack Obama's team told reporters that John McCain's Wednesday announcement that he would be suspending his campaign came after the Democratic nominee suggested a joint statement from both candidates on the financial crisis, the McCain camp issued its own account of talks between the two men.
"Senator Obama phoned Senator McCain at 8:30 am this morning but did not reach him," the campaign said in a memo sent to reporters. "The topic of Senator Obama’s call to Senator McCain was never discussed.
"Senator McCain was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama. At 2:30 pm, Senator McCain phoned Senator Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Senator Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem."
Minutes after McCain's Wednesday statement, Obama's campaign said that the Democratic nominee had called McCain earlier that morning to ask him if he would be willing to issue a joint statement on the economy and "urg[e] Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal." They also said that McCain returned the call at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement, and that the two campaigns are currently "working together on the details." McCain's announcement came shortly before 3 p.m. ET.
Obama is leading in key battleground states (AP PHOTO)
(CNN) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama appears to be gaining ground in some of the crucial battleground states that could decide the presidential election, according to a CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Wednesday.
In Colorado, 51 percent of likely voters questioned in the survey back Obama, with 47 percent supporting his GOP rival, John McCain. And Obama's edge over McCain in Colorado is six points when looking at a larger pool of all registered voters. That's a switch from late August, when CNN last polled in Colorado and found a five point lead for McCain. That survey was taken as the Democrats' presidential nominating convention, held in Denver, was just getting under way.
Colorado hasn't voted for the Democrats in a presidential election since 1992. But President Bush won the state by only five points over Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and the Democrats made major gains at the state level in the past two elections. That has led to hopes in the Obama campaign of turning the state - and its nine electoral votes - from red to blue.
"The new poll indicates that Obama is winning Denver and the surrounding suburbs and losing everywhere else in the state," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Since our first Colorado poll was taken as the Democratic convention began in that city, it's possible that Obama is still capitalizing on a local convention bounce."
(CNN) - McCain senior advisor Mark Salter told reporters Wednesday that the Arizona senator’s decision followed two days of discussions with colleagues on Capitol Hill, who told him that the bailout plan from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson faced an uphill fight.
He also said that McCain called President Bush today and told him of the plan, but would not characterize the president’s reaction to the proposal.
The McCain campaign will suspend airing all ads and all campaign events pending an agreement with Obama, as well as planned fundraising activities.
He added that McCain would take part in the debate as scheduled if Congress reached agreement on the measure by Friday morning.
(Updated to reflect McCain campaign announcement fundraising activities will be suspended)
(CNN) - John McCain announced Wednesday he is suspending his campaign on Thursday morning and returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis. He also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the first faceoff until Congress has completed work on a bailout package.
Watch: McCain's announcement
“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me,” he said in New York.
“I am calling on the President to convene a leadership meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem,” he said.
Obama's campaign said that the Democratic nominee had called McCain at 8:30 Wednesday morning to ask him if he would "join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal." They also said that McCain returned the call at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement, and that the two campaigns are currently "working together on the details."