(CNN) - McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham tells CNN the McCain campaign is proposing to the Presidential Debate Commission and the Obama camp that if there's no bailout deal by Friday, the first presidential debate should take the place of the VP debate, currently scheduled for next Thursday, October 2 in St. Louis.
In this scenario, the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin would be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, and take place in Oxford, Mississippi, currently slated to be the site of the first presidential faceoff this Friday.
Graham says the McCain camp is well aware of the position of the Obama campaign and the debate commission that the debate should go on as planned - but both he and another senior McCain adviser insist the Republican nominee will not go to the debate Friday if there's no deal on the bailout.
(CNN) - John McCain will take a few questions from reporters Tuesday afternoon in Michigan - the first time he's had a press conference with traveling media in nearly six weeks, since August 13.
(CNN) - A Democratic congressional leadership source tells CNN that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, after talking Monday to Republican nominee John McCain, assured a member of the Senate Democratic leadership that McCain would be "fine," and vote for the bailout package.
But a senior McCain aide still insisted the Arizona senator hasn't decided how he'll vote, and won't until he sees the full and final package. Like Democrats, he is hoping the legislation will include an oversight board and a CEO compensation cap.
The Democratic leadership source said there is concern that with more and more Republicans raising concerns over the package, if McCain would vote against it, it would give other Republicans cover to oppose it as well. If that happens, Democrats would have to provide most of the votes - the last thing the Democratic leadership wants.
(CNN) - There may be no greater illustration of John McCain and Barack Obama’s differing styles than the way they're preparing for Friday’s presidential debate.
Barack Obama is reportedly going to Florida for "debate camp" - traditional preparation that includes a sparring partner playing the role of his Republican opponent.
McCain’s prep is more on the fly: He spent several hours Sunday at his campaign headquarters working with aides, and he spent several hours in a Pennsylvania hotel Monday afternoon doing the same.
He will follow this "squeeze it in" prep schedule Tuesday as he campaigns in Ohio, and Wednesday around meetings with world leaders in New York.
Not until Thursday afternoon and Friday in Mississippi are McCain aides planning to hunker down and devote all the candidate’s time to debate prep.
Another illustration of how McCain’s preparation for Friday’s faceoff has been somewhat untraditional: right now aides say they don't have anyone playing the role of Obama in mock debates. Right now advisers like Mark Salter and Charlie Black and others are throwing questions at McCain they think the moderator could ask, without an "Obama" figure in the mix — although aides say that scenario may change by week’s end.
RENO, Nevada (CNN) - CNN has learned that John McCain and Sarah Palin plan to hold joint town hall meetings next week.
A McCain adviser says early plans are to hold the town halls in western Michigan and Wisconsin, although the exact details of where and when they will be held are still being worked out.
These events would likely mark the first time Palin takes questions from voters.
Aides say her solo campaign events planned for Nevada Saturday, Colorado Monday, and Ohio Tuesday are all scheduled as rallies where she will speak to but not interact with voters.
(CNN)– What does a campaign do when its new vice presidential candidate brings unprecedented energy to their candidate's crowds? They keep her with him longer.
A McCain campaign aide tells CNN the Alaska Governor will stay on the trail with McCain through early next week, instead of campaigning solo.
The McCain-Palin ticket is expected in Missouri Monday, and likely Ohio and Pennsylvania through Tuesday and maybe early Wednesday.
Campaign aides made it clear, the decision to keep Palin on the trail with the Republican nominee longer, also gives the campaign additional time hammer out details as to where and how to best deploy Palin when she does campaign on her own.
Plans were originally underway to send Palin to Florida solo early next week. Then that was scrapped and aides started working on a meet and greet event in the Philadelphia area Monday, with potential for a fundraising component. But those plans for Palins have now been abandoned as well.
Palin is expected to travel back to Alaska mid week through at least Friday, before her son, Track, who is enlisted in the Army is deployed to Iraq. In her convention address, Palin announced he's going on September 11.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Gov. Sarah Palin has been working around the clock on a speech that will focus on introducing herself to voters, proving she has what it takes to handle the economy and making the case for John McCain, two McCain aides told CNN Wednesday.
The Alaska governor has spent most of the past 48 hours working in a hotel room with speechwriter Matt Scully and adviser Nicolle Wallace. On Tuesday, they worked nonstop from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. She also did a read-through with the prompter at 10 p.m. – exactly 24 hours before the real speech, the aides said.
The Republican vice presidential candidate will continue practicing and tweaking all day, working up until the last minute before she leaves for the convention hall.
Palin has been educating Scully and Wallace on her experience and record as they have been helping her put the message into words. The governor has been “co-writing” with Scully, according to a source involved in the process.
According to a senior McCain adviser, the speech has three main goals:
First, Palin wants to leave no question about which ticket has a better hold on the economy.
Palin will emphasize her experience and understanding of the energy economy and talk about how Alaska is the “intersection of global energy markets and domestic production.” Here, she’ll try to combat questions regarding her experience.
Palin will also pit John McCain against Barack Obama, making the case for the Arizona senator on the basis of policy and character.
“After she delivers these lines, McCain’s decision to choose her will be much more obvious,” said the aide who has been working with her on the speech.
Finally, Palin will introduce herself to voters as a likable, funny and smart person.
“Every one in the staff has fallen in love with her,” insisted this aide.
Regarding expectations for the night, another senior adviser said, “The Democrats and the media have done a great job lowering expectations. We’re going to raise some expectations tonight. The elites will never give her her due, or middle America its due.”
“She is going to really going to connect with blue collar voters - illustrate that she has a common touch with an executive presence,” the aide said.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was not happy with Sen. Joe Lieberman’s speech before the Republican National Convention Tuesday night.
"Senator Reid was very disappointed in Senator Lieberman’s speech tonight,” Reid spokesman, Jim Manley, told CNN. “As the American people have made very clear, the last thing this country needs is another four years of the same old failed Bush-McCain policies of the past."
In particular, the Nevada Democrat took issue with Lieberman’s assertion that Obama has not crossed party lines.
Lieberman’s statement that “Senator Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young… but, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America” also drew Reid’s ire, Manley said.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - John McCain insisted Tuesday his vice presidential vetting process was thorough, as his campaign tried to calm concern that more surprises about Sarah Palin were coming.
To that end, a source intimately involved in McCain's VP vetting process called CNN to give an account of her background check.
This official said a 25-person team, led by Washington attorney A.B. Culvahouse, started by compiling reports on 20 top VP contenders, using only public documents like disclosure forms, public records, newspaper articles, and interview transcripts.
That information was eventually presented to McCain, and to top campaign advisers Mark Salter, Steve Schmidt, Charlie Black and Rick Davis, the only four aides involved in the highly secretive process.
Once McCain and those aides narrowed the choices to a short list, Palin and other contenders were contacted and asked for documents a credit check, a call for tax returns, and additional financial disclosure forms.
(CNN) - A senior adviser to John McCain's campaign confirms that they have dispatched a team of 12 people to presumptive VP nominee Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska.
The adviser insists the group is a communications "jump" team that would have gone to any nominee's hometown, and denies reports that the team is now going to further vet Palin.