McCain's Campaign is a Train Wreck: Premature Ad Declares He Won Debate

Election '08

After days of saying that John McCain would not attend Friday's presidential debate unless an agreement on a bailout package for the markets was "locked-down," the McCain campaign has gone back on its word.



On Friday, it announced that the Senator would head down to Mississippi even though, as they readily admit, much work remained needed on the bailout agreement.



The whole episode left even conservatives admitting that the McCain campaign looked erratic and a bit foolish with no apparent direction or guiding principle.



"It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology," said Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain earlier in this cycle. "In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The 'steady hand in a storm' argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain."



Shirley added, "My guess is that plasma units are rushing to the McCain campaign as we speak to replace the blood flowing there from the fights among the staff."



Adding to the rocky perception was a McCain campaign web ad released this morning declaring "McCain Wins Debate!" -- put out even before the candidate had announced he was planning to debate.






Aides to Barack Obama were not, generally, surprised by the announcement, though nonetheless pleased. One called the Arizona Republican's gambit -- of leaving the trail to supposedly forge a compromise on the bailout -- a "failure." Other Democrats were equally biting in describing the moment.

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