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

Plan B proposed for Mississippi debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/26/debate.mississippi/art.debatepreps.ap.jpg 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. therealist

    Some would rather work on America's future than debate it's failings..

    September 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. A CANUCK

    With McCain's participation ....or without him.....this debate will be worth watching.....it will go down in history !!!
    The only sure thing is..... Barack Obama will make America proud.

    September 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. EH

    How come ALL candidates are not being featured in the debate? I want to hear what every one of them has to say. Actually, I'm tired of not hearing what needs to be said by O & M.

    September 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. A Republican who isn't voting!

    I am sorry fellow Republicans but I have absolutley no faith in McCain, I feel like Obama may be the better choice but I have never voted for a Dem........so I am just going to stay at home!!!!

    I just can't vote for McCain/Palin ticket!! Wish we could have had Huckabee/Romney

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Just a Mom

    Go ahead and invite Bob Barr and/or Ralph Nader to participate, I believe they have been begging to be included. The American people deserve to hear from the candidates who want to speak to them.

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. ChuckTx

    Obama might as well go, he is not helping in Washington and is letting the dems trash mccain for actually to help.

    Of course, I am sure he loves getting the free prime time ad, oops, town hall meeting...

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Hillary supporter for Obama

    If the McCain/Palin camp had their way, the presidential AND

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Judy from NC

    I would much prefer to listen to Obama for 90 minutes. McCain can stay away as far as I'm concerned.

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Accountant Guy

    Great!! It is good to see the Obama is able to Multi-Task. At this point I don't think anyone cares if McBush shows up or not. Either way people will see that Obama is the only one capable of being our next president!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Lou

    I like the idea of having Bob Barr or Ron Paul attend in McCain's absence. Or have McCain send his VP pick as a stand in if he needs all his focus in Washington. A debate needs to happen for all of us to make up our minds in less than 40 days.

    September 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Adrienne

    It is emotional black mail for Mccain to say he will not debate unless congress agrees to a bill by today. 700 Billion is a lot of money and the public needs more time to come to terms with the bail out and why we need it. there should be no reason why the bill should be forced on us by tonight. We still have the weekend to work through it.

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Beartrack

    Let McCain no-show if he wants. He has already made a fool of himself with this little stunt. If he does show he will probably just act the hot headed old fart that he is.

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Let's Debate!!!!

    If McCain can't make it how about sending his number two to represent him. Lol!!!!

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Hillary supporter for Obama

    If the McCain/Palin camp had their way, the presidential AND VP debates would be postponed until AFTER the elections....what a joke!

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. York "Budd" Durden

    Grandpa's a-runnin' scared, y'all.

    Palin/Quayle 2012

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Joan

    BOTH candidates should actually sit at the table and help work out a solution to our economic crisis! Even to suggest that the voters are better served by watching/listening to them debate foreign affairs (the subject scheduled for the debate) is ludicrous....another case of "fiddling while the USA burns".

    Only one candidate showed that he had the intelligence that God gave a goose, McCain, and I'm voting for him!

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Alice Brinkley

    I must say, I will not watch another preening event for Obama, if Mc
    Cain is not there. Obama would rather preen and talk than roll up his sleeves and work on the very serious situation in DC; that is, Obama really doesn't care what happens with that, get that? Obama thinks the presidency is all about talking and looking pretty before the cameras. What an empty suit! He took the whole week off from senatorial work and from the presidential race to get "preened and groomed" for the Fri debate. Don't want any of this kind of president, no way! Do you people realize that the US tax payers are paying full salary to a man who to be a senator who does nothing in DC? You think he is more valuable to you with his preening and talking?

    September 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. Anonymous

    The president job is to be ABLE TO DO MANY THINGS AT THE SAME TIME.

    John Mccain is really disapointing me.

    a debate was planned long time ago, the american people has been waiting for it because they need to make up their mind about who to vote for.

    Should a major financial crises occur, you must adress it, and still attend the debate.

    This move on McCain's part shows that :

    September 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Anna

    What is Maccain going to do when he has to deal with an earthquake and war at the same time ? maybe he is going to suspend his presidency . I was independent for a long time but I made up my mind as I believe that Obama is acting with more integrity.
    MacCain is out of touch with reality even I have to multitask every single day at my job because they had to lay off 3 of my collegues.

    September 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Pat from Cali

    Schoolyard bully challenges the wrong kid, doesn't show up for the fight. Sound familiar?

    September 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. CNN pro mcain

    if mcBush wins the election this year ======>

    1.)Race
    2.)Cheating(which Republicans are good at it, remember 8 yrs ago florida)

    shame on those who have closed their eyes and ears.

    September 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. IS Sarah REALLY READY

    Why does John McCain "Suspend" his campaign INSTEAD of letting Sarh Palin step up and "BE IN CHARE" while he is in Washington.

    IF SHE CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO RUN A CAMPAIGN FOR TWO OR TRHEE DAYS................WHAT MAKES HER ABLE TO LEAD THIS COUNTRY,

    September 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Adrienne

    There should be no reason why Mccain can not debate for 90 mins when he has done tons of interviews in the last 24 hours. McCain can work all weekend. McCain needs to face the people and lead.
    McCain looks weak.

    September 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Concerned Man

    Drill ...Drill...Drill now and only now.

    Bail out.......Bailt out now and only now.

    Suspend campaign..Suspend Campaign now and only now.

    Rush back to Woshington now and only now

    Can we debate now,debate now and only now.

    P.O.W on A.W.O.L

    AMERICAN VOTER ARE THE REAL ZOMBIE.

    September 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  25. TKW- New Mexico

    If that clown McCain doesn't show up, America should wake up! He and Sarah Palin are sideshow freaks, they have no respect for hardworking American people. I am soooooo sick of this year's election! Can we please just vote TODAY! I'm sending Obama a donation TODAY!

    September 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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