Obama: "This is exactly the time" for a debate

At a press conference, Barack Obama dismisses John McCain's idea to postpone Friday's debate.

Published September 24, 2008 8:52PM (EDT)

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Barack Obama responded to John McCain's announcement that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington to help with negotiations for a Wall Street bailout. The key question was whether Obama would follow suit and suspend his campaign or perhaps just join with McCain in asking for a postponement of the first debate between the two men, currently scheduled for Friday.

It took a little while, but Obama made it clear that he plans to continue, and thinks the debate should go on.

"With respect to the debates, it's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess. And I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once," Obama said. A hint of a smile crossed his face after he delivered that line. He then added, "I think there's no reason why we can't be constructive in helping to solve this problem and also tell the American people what we believe and where we stand ... So in my mind, actually, it's more important than ever that we present ourselves to the American people and try to describe where we want to take the country and where we want to take the economy."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.