McCain's Dithering Meant to Lower Debate Expectations?

Is there a method to the so-called maverick's madness?
There's a new theory of why John McCain has been "suspending" his campaign to focus on the Wall Street bailout. According to Teagan Goddard's Political Wire, McCain is trying to prepare the nation for a dismal debate performance with Barack Obama -- because everybody knows who is the better debater.

Goddard writes that McCain has told the AP that Obama is expected to be a better wordsmith. Thus his focus on saving America from Wall Street means he won't be in great shape for the first great debate.

McCain told AP, "Have no doubt about the capabilities of Sen. Obama to a debate. He's very, very good. He was able to defeat Sen. Hillary Clinton, who, as we all know, is very accomplished. He was able to, with his eloquence, inspire a great number of Americans. These will be tough debates."

Sounds like the pre-debate spin is off and running.

Still, it's unclear what will be more unlikely in coming days: a real presidential debate, or a surreal bailout of the nation's greediest institutions at taxpayer expense.
Steven Rosenfeld is a senior fellow at and co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election, with Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman (The New Press, 2006).
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