(CNN) – In what could be a bad sign for John McCain, more voters than ever before this election cycle feel the economy is the most important issue to their vote - a subject on which Barack Obama has consistently held an advantage.
According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, nearly 6 in 10 registered voters now say the economy is more important than any other issue - a number that is almost a double digit jump from a similar poll taken in July. And it's nearly double the 35 percent of voters who thought the economy was the No. 1 issue in January.
Meanwhile, the issue John McCain is strongest on - Iraq - has steadily declined in importance among voters. In the latest poll only 10 percent of registered voters say it is most important, down from 25 percent who felt it was most important in July.
The poll was conducted September 19-21, entirely after the crisis on Wall Street unfolded. It surveyed 909 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
(CNN) – The Bush administration $700 billion financial bailout plan continues to be debated in Congress, following a historic meeting on the proposal at the White House Thursday.
In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Ed Henry reports on the meeting between the President, the two presidential candidates and top lawmakers.
Meanwhile: CNN's Dana Bash has the latest on the Republican concerns with the financial bailout plan and the latest update on what McCain has done after arriving back on Capitol Hill. Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley updates us on the Obama campaign's next move. And Jessica Yellin reports from the Capitol on why the bailout deal fell apart and the lingering issues involved.
Finally, Wolf Blitzer interviews Barack Obama on how the meeting at the White House went - and where he goes from here.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
The Statement: Sen. John McCain issued a statement on May 21 saying Sen. Barack Obama wants "to meet unconditionally in his first year at the presidential level with Iranian leaders." It's a theme McCain has often repeated during the campaign.
Get the facts!
(CNN) – Sen. John McCain has not yet confirmed whether he will participate in Friday night's presidential debate, but Barack Obama's campaign is moving forward with its plans for the event.
The campaign announced Thursday evening that Michelle Obama will be joined at the debate by Shannon Kendall, whose husband is currently serving his second tour in Iraq, according to a press release issued by the campaign Thursday evening. Kendall, a mother, met Michelle Obama during a recent roundtable with military families in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Friday's debate will focus on foreign policy, a topic agreed to by both presidential campaigns before the nation's financial system and broader economic issues took center stage two weeks ago.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama said lawmakers will eventually agree on a bailout plan but said that there needs to be a "sense of urgency for everybody."
Watch: Sen. Obama says there needs to be a sense of urgency
Obama told CNN after a White House meeting that some progress was made Thursday but he was concerned that the attendance of the two presidential hopefuls in the negotiations could cause problems.
Watch: Congress reaches bailout deal?
"I've been concerned for some time that when you start interjecting presidential politics into delicate negotiations, you could actually create more problems than less," Obama said. "It is amazing what you can get done when the cameras are not on and people are not looking to get credit or allocate blame."
(CNN) - Sarah Palin defended the claim that Alaska’s proximity with Russia helps bolster her foreign policy resume in an interview released Thursday.
The Republican VP nominee, asked by CBS’s Katie Couric what she meant by that statement said: “That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land - boundary that we have with - Canada.
“…our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of,” said Palin.
The Alaska governor, asked if she had ever engaged in negotiations with Russia, said the country had swapped trade missions with her state. “It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border,” she said.
“It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to our state."
Palin has spent the week meeting with foreign leaders in New York, as she seeks to boost her national security and foreign policy credentials.
ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS
BATESVILLE, Mississippi– John McCain’s request to postpone tomorrow night’s presidential debate at the University of Mississippi seems to be turning into something less than a trumpets-blaring triumph for him down here.
The state of Mississippi was waiting, with great pride, to host the first debate between McCain and Barack Obama– and the people who live here seem understandably unhappy that, after months of planning, this uncertainty has been thrown at them at the last moment.
Last night and this morning we reported on conversations with Batesville residents–one of them an avid McCain-Palin supporter– who are disappointed and even angry that McCain may not show up tomorrow night. And a conversation today with two men here who have their own theories about the possible no-show provided more viewpoints on how this is going over in northern Mississippi.
“McCain saying that he thinks it’s a good idea not to come to the debate– that’s what you call running from a challenge,” said Arcaro Conner, 45, a maintenance worker. “I don’t think he wants to debate Obama– I think he’ll talk at Obama from a distance, but he won’t talk to him to his face in the same room.”
“He doesn’t want to face the music," said Mike Diltz, 45, also a maintenance worker. “The American people want to hear from these two men. So why would you say that you might not show up?”
McCain’s stated reason is that he believes it is more important to be in Washington, working on a solution to the economic crisis, than to be in Mississippi for a campaign debate.
“Come on,” said Arcaro Conner. “That’s like a football team that says they’re not going to play because it looks like rain. It’s not the rain the football team is worried about– it’s the team they see waiting for them across the field.”
“This whole thing about having to get an economic deal worked out over the weekend,” Mike Diltz said. “That’s like the pitch for used cars– ‘You’ve got to buy this car by the weekend, or it will be gone. I just heard from a customer who liked this car, and he might be coming back, so you’d better buy it right now.'
“What’s the rush? In around 40 days, we’re going to know who the new president will be, so why are they telling us that they have to rush to a decision right now? It took them eight years to get in this mess, and now, right before the debate, McCain is saying he doesn’t want to come because they have to fix it by the end of the weekend?”
Commentators and political analysts have been saying that McCain’s proposal to postpone the debate came as a big surprise.
“No one I talked to was surprised,” Arcaro Conner said. “Everyone I called last night said they knew all along there wasn’t going to be a debate.”
Really? That sounds unlikely– his friends really weren’t surprised?
“Not at all,” Conner said. “He doesn’t want to face Obama.”
Whatever you may think of the reasoning of Arcaro Conner and Mike Diltz, the one thing that seems beyond contradiction today is that people in Mississippi, and at the University of Mississippi, have a right to be frustrated at the prospect of the diminution of their big night during the biggest presidential campaign in recent memory.
“A couple weeks ago, all that John McCain wanted was to get on the stage with Obama," Conner said. “Remember? ‘Let’s the two of us go around the country and talk from the same stages.‘
“Well. . . here’s his chance. Is he going to show up?”
WASHINGTON (CNN)- Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama both left President Bush's financial bailout meeting at the White House after 5 p.m.
Thursday without making statements to reporters gathered there. Officials said Obama will make a statement later at the Mayflower Hotel. There was no immediate word from the McCain camp.
Watch: How does the bailout affect you?
Dana Perino, White House press secretary, released a statement from Bush saying: "The president appreciates the bipartisan members of the congressional leadership and the two presidential candidates coming to the White House today to discuss how to finalize the financial rescue package.
Watch: Bush counselor says White House is getting closer to deal with Conress
There is a clear sense of urgency and agreement on the need to stabilize the financial markets, and
prevent a massive financial crisis from affecting everybody in America."
The statement went on to say that the group will continue to work on a deal.
(CNN) - John McCain's campaign said Thursday evening the Arizona senator plans to stay in Washington overnight and has yet to decide on his travel plans Friday.
"Senator McCain will remain in DC tonight as he continues to take action in brokering a deal that will address the crisis as well as protect the taxpayer," the campaign said in a statement. "No further travel plans have been made at this point."
Watch: A look at the 2004 debate styles
McCain is currently at his Arlington, Virginia home. The first presidential debate is scheduled for Friday evening, in Oxford, Mississippi.