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Obama Wants Debate to Proceed

Disagrees with McCain, says this is 'exactly the time' American people need to hear from future president. 9/24/2008 09:39:00 AM Eastern

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wants the Friday televised debate to go forward and plans to be there, he said in a press conference Wednesday. The commission that sets up the debates reportedly is proceeding with plans for the Oxford, Miss., event.

Barack Obama

Obama's opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said earlier he wanted to delay the debate in light of the financial crisis.

But Obama said it was his belief that this was "exactly the time" when the American people need to hear from the person who, in 40 days or so, would be the one "trying to deal with this mess."

"Part of the president's job is to do more than one thing at once," he said, “and tell the American people where we stand and where we plan to take the country.”

“I believe we should have the debate,” he said, to talk about the financial situation and how it relates to national security and the war in Iraq. “If it turns out that we need to be in Washington," he added, “we both have big planes.”

The McCain campaign reportedly proposed that both candidates pull their campaign ads for the moment, as well, to concentrate on the financial crisis. Obama said it was important to communicate to the American people at the same time. “I think it is possible to do both.”

Obama said he reached out to McCain this morning and McCain raised the issue of delaying the debate, but Obama instead said he wanted to work on putting out a joint statement first about the crisis.

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