September 26th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Plan B proposed for Mississippi debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Workers put the finishing touches on the debate stage at the University of Mississippi on Thursday."]
OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) - University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat said Friday morning that if GOP nominee McCain does not show for the first presidential debate at the school in Oxford, the format may include members of the audience to submit questions to the moderator, Jim Lehrer.

Lehrer would then pose the questions to Obama. It would take on a kind of town hall format, according to Khayat.

Watch: Will the debate go on?

Khayat said he will recommend that to the Debate Commission, which would make the final decision.

The debate was to focus on foreign policy and national security, but the economic crisis is likely to be a dominant issue as well.

Whether McCain intends to participate is up in the air, but Democratic opponent Barack Obama said it's still on as far as he's concerned.

Obama will fly to Oxford on Friday, according to his campaign.

Watch: What if McCain skips the debate?

On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he expects both candidates to attend Friday night's debate, even though McCain has said he'll only go if Congress reaches a deal on the bailout.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. GARY


    September 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Hypocracy has no bounds

    "The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness (of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disastrous scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn't bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing."
    -–Democrat Barney Frank in September 2003

    This was when the bush administration was trying to implement Oversite on these 2 companies. Someone tell me why the democrats are not taking any responsibilities for this.

    Any now he is helping to write a 700 Billion dollar bailout.

    September 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Even McCain and his inept campaign aren't stupid enpugh to let this happen.

    Of course, I still believe this whole thing: "suspending" his campaign, "rushing" to DC 22 hours late, playing the hero, destroying the negotiation, is all an attempt to scuttle the VP debate.

    He cannot allow Palin to be onstage for 90 minutes.

    September 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Mike

    This article just says what we already know. The whole McBush 'campaign suspension' was just a gimmick to make McBush look like he puts 'Country First' while in fact he continued with his usual campaign schedule. He canceled his appearance on David Letterman knowing that it would recieve media coverage and make him look as though he had to rush to Washington tosave America.
    However, Letterman made a complete fool of McBush by proving that he was actually in the same studio as Letterman and was doing an interview wit Katie Couric. Then Letterman laughed at McFool on the Air and offered to drive him to the airport. McFarce is fast becoming a bad joke.

    September 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Bruce

    This is all political ppsturing by mccain...He will show up at the last mintue and tout how he saved america from financial ruin...which would have been done yesterday ahd he not intervened. he will also calimthat he did not ahve time to prepare because he suspended his campaign, that is lie.....he is still on tv campaigning, palin is campaighning, and ads are still running here in there is no suspension ..again a politcal trick.
    If the repubs continue to block this plan...look for more banks to go under next week, and then we will all know who to blame.
    Want to turn the ecomony around, and please the people of the country,. take that 700B and divide it to all the tax payers, send it to us, withhold taxes so that some of the money comes right back to the government. The the American people woudl ahve money to pay the mortgages, pay off bills, and make the economy liquid again. Give the bailout in it's entirity tot he if that was proposed by someone and the facts as I think are correct, that would be the best answer and show that the government gets it.

    September 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. JusLaugh

    And Obama's town hall will be watched by millions of voters who planned on watching the debate. Who will be watching McCain? Oh, yea, noone will.

    I think by not making the slightest effort show up after all of the time and money Mississippi has put into the preparations is a slap in the face.

    McCain is very self-centered and doesn't really care about people.

    September 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. georgia independent

    Obama – a man of his word. No sneaky or egotistical attempts to wiggle out of the debate or get his VP out of a debate.

    Go Obama! I'm looking forward to watching tonight.

    September 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. APS in Hawaii

    Why are they having the debate? This is the time for people in Congress to do things for the country first. Of course Obama is all about me first. I would rather have them work on settling the crisis, then giving speeches or having a debate. There is plenty of time for debates and I would rather see how someone is going to reach out to the other side for a compromise. I guess this is Obama's normal way of voting present.

    September 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Can someone explain to me re: the Ticker entry below, that 46% of people polled believe Palin will win her debate against Biden? A complete, truthful, and intelligent sentence has yet to escape her lips.

    September 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. S. Boatman

    If Mccain Doesnt Show Up He Will Be Viewed As Unprepared Or Scared! Either Way He Wont Look Presidential At All!

    September 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Clarice in Georgia

    If McCain decides not to show up I think that Obama should take advantage of this opportunity to speak to Dems, Repubs, and independents and let us all know where he wants to take our country. I think it would be a great opportunity for him if McCain decides not to show up.

    I am still torn up about him huffing over the bailout 'tonight' for 90 minutes he could fly down to MISS and fly back to DC he has his own jet?!! What is the problem. He won't be talking bailout for those 90 minutes.... What's the big deal McCain??!!

    Obama & Biden for 2008!!!

    September 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. LS

    McCain's smirky smile showed just how arrogant he is. I can't wait to see McCain and Palin fall flat on their face, and I hope they hit hard.

    All McCain did yesterday was make a mess of things and wasn't needed in Washington, NOR was he wanted in Washington.

    Other people working on this bailout had worked long hours all week, and then McCain steps in and creates a mess. Just to show how insensitive he is

    McCain is a disgrace to this country. And you people who think McCain is for the country, you are all 100% wrong.

    They need to disqualify McCain – he doesn't deserve to be in the public eye anymore.

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Fed Up

    Let McSame skip it. It will turn into a 90 minute ad for Obama and why he deserves to be President. Obama has come across as very Presidential during this crisis, while McSame has come across as confused and scatter brained.

    If I were McSame, I'd be hiding under my bed after watching the Katie Couric interview yesterday. Ms. South Carolina ("U.S. Americans," etc.) comes across as more polished and would be a better VP candidate. Yet another example of McSame's POOR decision making abilities and knee jerk reactions. He's pathetic. Give him a Bingo card and sit him down in the corner.

    Just say NO to Bush 44 and Caribou Barbie.

    Go Obama/Biden!!!

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. Zed

    Obama said that next president should have the ability to do multi-tasking. I can't blame McCain if he can't do multi-tasking, he's personal computer is still running Windows 3.1

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |

    this is sad. i was really looking foward to a full debate and i am pretty sure millions of others all around America and the world were too. I understand the need for the candidates to complete their roles as congressman and senetors but it is necessary to let the American people know where you stand on issues that are currently effecting us. Thank you McCain for handing over the presidential bid to Barack Obama. The United States and the World ( maybe even the Universe) is so appreciative that you did.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. Susan in SC

    I think the proposed new format could be better than listening to McCain for half of the originally scheduled debate time. Personally I would like to hear Obama answer quiries from audience members – questions representing what most Americans are thinking.

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. Emilio

    I think McCain just shot himself in the foot on this decision. If he doesnt go you better believe Obama is going to rip him and remind the people of Mississippi that McCain decided to leave them high and dry despite all their had work and money invested. If McCain does go then then its clear that he hasn't properly prepared for this debate and will go down in flames like his plane over North Vietnam.

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Losing in Mississippi John

    Anyone planning on being the next president of these United States had better be there, if not you just watch the P

    s dip

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Informed Voter

    Mc Cain will attend .. if he doesn't he looks like a fool!!!

    Why Mc Cain did this Political Stunt:
    1. Media attention
    2. Cancel Vp Debate because Palin is a dimwit
    3. Deter attention from Rick Davis .. BTW where is he???
    4. Knew the Foreign Policy Debate would've been economy oriented .. knew he would have been slammed in this debate

    many many more

    September 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. John, FL

    How about a Plan C that allows 3rd party candidates speak?

    Too bad America can't see past the 2 party system, which is completely unconstitutional.

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. S. Holt

    Great.. let the debates begin. Voters need to see and hear their candidates in this format. Yes, the economy is a crisis but there are other crisis still evolving daily. People are sleeping on the streets, soldiers are dying every day in Iraq and there are no jobs. Yes, we need these debates and we need them now. Ole Miss has spent millions of dollars preparing for this and man hours. Why disrespect Miss. for the sake of John McCain's campaign stunts.

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. anonymous

    That's the only way NOBAMA can debate – WITH HIS STUPID SELF!!! What a clown.

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. White Mother for Obama!!

    The REAL leader is gonna be there!! I cannot believe after the University has spent Millions in preparations of this debate.. McCain is trying to "Bailout" on it.

    Its Obvious his plate is fuller than he himself can handle. We need Obama who is not full of "DRAMA" to be President!!

    I love the idea of Plan B though. The show must go on!!! LOL

    This is an election here regardless of any crisis... McCain from observers in the meeting hasnt really said anything worthy of him needing to be there. Obama has said more and asking questions and participating more than McCain has. Yet Obama is going to be there.

    I see who the real leader is and I think more and more many Americans are too!!!

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Bulldog

    McCain will show up. This is just another politcal stunt he is pulling to distract voters. That is the only way he can win, by distractions. He can't win on the issues so he needs keep sidetracking the issues.

    What a con artist. Is that what we want in the White House?

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. lil_yogini, oceanside, ca

    You go, Obama!

    McCain is going to be sorry he pulled this "drama queen" stunt.

    If he has any sense left, he'll show up too.

    September 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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