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. Shari, NY

    Foreign policy is supposed to be McCain's strong point. If he bails out of this it will seem to me that he wants out of this race. Period!

    September 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Anne E.

    McCain's dramatics and theatrics are nauseating. It looks to me as though he's intentionally trying to steal ANY thunder or ANY form of spotlight, no matter how, when or where he's able.
    Give it up, we don't need you. Just phone in your concession now, because this bus is only going further down the cliff than anyone has suspected so far!

    September 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. DEBATES

    Tonight's Presidential Debate is going to be Great. I can hardly wait.

    BUT the MOST ANTICIPATED...........DEBATE...........Will be NEXT THURSDAY.................THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBAT.................

    THIS IS GOING TO BE COMICIAL. I HOPE THE McCAIN CAMP BRINGS LOTS OF ICE FOR SARAH.......................... BECAUSE SHE WILL BE FEELING THE HEAT FROM JOE BIDEN.

    GIVE IT TO HER HARD JOE.

    SAMPLE VP DEBATE QUESTIONS:

    BIDEN – WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE IRAQ WAR AND IN YOUR OPINION SHOULD THERE BE A SCHEDULED WITHDRAWAL?

    PALIN – I LOVE YOUR HAIR, WHOSE'S YOUR STYLIST?

    BIDEN – HOW CAN THE ECONOMIC CRISIS ON WALL STREET BE SOLVED?

    PALIN – HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW LINE OF BABY CLOTHES AT WALMART?

    BIDEN – IF ELECTED WHAT IS ONE OF MAJOR CHANGES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IMPLEMENTED CONCERNING HEALTHCARE?

    PALIN – HAVE YOU HEARD THAT COVERGIRL HAS A NEW SHADE OF RAVISH RED LIPSTICK?

    BIDEN – HOW WILL YOU IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO THE CURRENT ECOMONY SO THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN DOES NOT FEEL ANY UNDUE BURDENS?

    PALIN – GEE, YOU LOOK HOT, CAN I HAVE A HUG?

    September 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Toni

    The show must go on

    and i hope that the economy, as Sen. Obama has said, is a focus as well

    I would like to see what he has to say, as i know it will be good.

    Go Obama

    September 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. sky

    as to McCain asking Barack to do 10 town hall meetings....give me a break....it is the one and only format that McCain is comfortable in. He doesnt like intelligent questions to be given to him with a specific time limit to answer within....he does very poorly at a regular debate....so he proposed the only format he might can carry his own weight......a good president has to be able to shine in EVERY format....not just one.

    September 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. tnjimmyjam

    Micro-Management?? Leaders should outline objectives and their expectations to the subject matter experts on the working committee and then move on to the next task. These subject matter experts should be able to then hammer out a plan that meets those objectives. These subject matter experts represent relatively equal voices on relatively level platforms. Let the SME work and present leadership with the plan.
    Leaders are provided the opportunity to MANAGE situations. If you have to drop all other activities to MANAGE/WORK one element of your many responsibilities you call into question the competency of the working staff.
    To stop in and check on progress is appropriate if issues arise. Ceasing all operations is not.

    September 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Truly American

    McCain should debate. He should show Hussein the door. I admire his willingness to do something instead of talk. Maybe they both can attend the meetings in DC and phone in the debate.. They can both Multi-task right? The dems are the biggest spinners.. They have spun so much their brains are mush..

    September 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Aaron

    I always thought McCain as a hero because of media, even though he didn't win anything. Now I know that he is no hero. He is too afraid to face Obama.

    September 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Brad

    I thought McCain liked debates. He kept asking for them. I guess now we caught his bluff. The first one comes and he's too chicken to show up.

    September 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Politically Speaking

    So if McCain debates tonight, what has he done any different than Obama in regard to the Bailout issues at the capital? The only difference is that he was grandstanding while Obama simply handled his business.

    September 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Critical Thinking

    Some are saying "well McCaina asked for town hall meetings" – so are we to change the format to everything because it makes McCain more comfortable? I am sure you can find a number of past presidential candidate who would have preferred a town hall or "let's sit in a circle and discuss" format but they did what they had to do perform in the standard debate format.

    If McCain was to be president, will he give the state of the union address from his livingroom because it's comfy?

    September 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. Maggie from Virginia

    McCain needs to fire this campaign manager as well. He's worse than the last one that got the boot.

    September 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. MEP

    A town hall meeting!!! With McCain not there????McCain will look like the meddling, posturing fool he is., no matter what he does now. I am glad to hear that the good people of Mississippi who have invested time and money in this debate will not be disappointed.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Critical Thinking

    That should be "McCain" not "McCaina" 🙂

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. The View from here

    It will be just fine if McBush doesn't show up for the "debate".

    I'm sure Senator Obama can use the time wisely by taking questions from the audiance.

    Besides they will love being able to ask him every question they have in their heads and he will have time to give them a straight up answer.

    It'll be great.

    McNut has nothing in his head anyway that isn't a lie or a big drama, so it will be just fine if he isn't there.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Dexter

    Cancel the debate because of a crisis, McCain?

    What's next? Cancel the election?

    There is nothing more important than the democratic process. Not the economy, not terrorism, not war.

    McCain, poll numbers first.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Shari, NY

    How can one compare town hall meetings with debates, pray tell?

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Maryland

    What exectly is John McCain going to do in washington? He is not on the banking commitee . It is sad to see John McCain acting like this is something new. Many american have been feeling this bad economy for a very long time, Just last week he said " the fundemental of the economy was strong" then he changed and said "The fundemental of american people was strong" He must really believe american people are stupid.

    John McCan has 13 cars and 9 homes. what does he know about crises. He is only concerns about loosing some of millions of dollars he has in stocks and bonds.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Joe PA

    I hope McCain doesn't show up. Obama can have the eyes and ears of the entire nation to himself. He can lay out everything he is going to do AGAIN since people want to act like he hasn't said it before. He can answer questions from people who are pretty much a red state and turn them a beautiful shade of blue.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Rebel against all others

    New McCain voter’s mentality

    Obama has my vote. Although my family believes I’ll punch McCain as I smile and tell them I will. While I'm in the booth all alone I will punch Obama, because I believe in his vision for American and main street.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Brian

    To Noah,

    McCain is not needed in Washington at this point at all(except to cast his vote when the time comes). And so far his presence (along with a few others)only seemed to hamper the negotiations. He IS NOT on the banking commitee that will have final approval on the bailout plan nor was he ever asked to come to Washington but he did get his photo op with Bush didn't he? Heck, Obama was only there because Bush personally asked him to come.

    Bottom line, the debate is this evening so there should be no real reason keeping him from this. Or to quote David Letterman, "Or is it?" Seriously, why can't McCain do the debate tonight, is that past his usual bedtime or something? There is more to this story than we've been told, I'm sure of it.

    September 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Palin 2012

    Real Real Change,
    please, give me a break.
    The only thing McCain is doing is photo ops and not working with either party... He dont even know what is going on. he could just have send his advisor's to do the same if not better job...

    But if playing dirty politics with the American people and our future is fine with you, please go ahead and vote for him..

    September 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. ANGIE

    Mccain is holding the debates HOSTAGE blackmailing congress in to the bill! like my 6 year old throwing a fit when he doesnt get his way
    AND SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY SUPPORT THIS MAN my husband lifelong republican is ashamed of that party and is voting for obama/biden

    September 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Billy

    I really only want to hear Obama anyway.

    September 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. FredV

    McCain will skip the debate so that it can be rescheduled for the night of the Palin / Biden debate. She's clearly in way over her head, & the McCain campaign's only chance is to continue to hide her.

    At the beginning of this decade, McCain was the politician that I respected most. I still respect his courage and service to our country, but what has he turned into? It's like he sold his soul to Karl Rove to get elected. His slogan should be "Election First."

    September 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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