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Obama, McCain agree on economy; Bush to speak; debate in doubt

(UPDATE: President Bush to address the nation at 6 p.m. Pacific on tonight on the financial crisis.)

Or at least the two candidates agree on the need to quickly take action.

The nation's economic woes have been dominating the campaign trail in recent days, but today, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain agreed to put out a joint statement on the economy and the proposed taxpayer bailout of financial firms.

According to Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Obama called the GOP nominee this morning seeking to put out a statement about their "shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal" and urging Congress and the White House to quickly pass a bipartisan plan to deal with the nation's economic crises.

McCain called the Democratic nominee back this afternoon and agreed, so the two campaigns are hammering out an agreement.

Meanwhile, McCain announced that he is halting his campaign and urged the first presidential debate, scheduled Friday, to be postponed because of the dire need to finalize such a plan.

In New York, where McCain is meeting ...

with world leaders in town for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, he announced:

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Sen. Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Sen. Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

The White House welcomed McCain's words. Per spokeswoman Dana Perino:

We welcome Sen. McCain's announcement. We are making progress in negotiations on the financial markets rescue legislation, but we have not finished it yet. Bipartisan support from Sens. McCain and Obama would be helpful in driving to a conclusion.

The financial market crisis is a big problem that requires a big solution, and solving this in a bipartisan way will help prevent economic damage spreading from Wall Street to all Americans.

Obama is expected to release his own statement shortly. But yesterday, he said that if negotiations stalled, he would return to Washington to help craft a resolution.

-- Seema Mehta

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Comments () | Archives (5)

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Do not let McCain ducjk out! Its a ruse...if Obama agrees to McCains feign to avoid stepping into he arena then by goly put Biden and Palin on the dais instead, theres enough folks working on the wall street debacle let wall street take care of wall street I say

McCain needs to defer NAP time and speak to the people.

Hey John! A Commander-in-Chief has to multi-task!

The rest of us sacrifice, work weekends, go without a few hours of sleep and multi-task to juggle all of our priorities.

This stinks to high heaven of a guy scared to face the public. You hide you supposed running mate, and you RUN and DUCK now too?

This is a political ploy by McCain. The heat is too hot in the kitchen and his only way out is to run.

He has a plane and can easily be in DC during the day and make the debates Friday evening.

Every day Americans handle multiple crises situations daily, why can't he? Is this how he is going to behave if elected?!

This is a very cheap trick by John McCain. Real presidents have to know how to deal with a crisis and debate at the same time. Real people don't expect a photo op and a medal when they go do their jobs. And - last I looked, McCain, you don't know anything about the economy yet now, you style yourself the white knight who is going to ride in and save us after all your years as Mr. Deregulator... we are not that stupid. Spare us your antics. You are just afraid to debate and you are trying to grab the spotlight because you are losing. Cheap.

Um.. dare I ask? What foreign policy exposure has Obama experienced? Precious little. Pippa from Africa.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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