LIGHTNING ROUND: SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF.

  • Apparently John McCain doesn't believe multitasking is a particularly strong skill for a president to have, as he calls off Friday's foreign-policy debate, "suspends" his campaign, and invites Barack Obama to return to Washington with him to "come together to solve this problem." Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has indicated that it expects the debate to proceed as scheduled. Obama himself said, "Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time. It’s not necessary for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else." And finally, faster than a Wikipedia update, demandthedebate2008.com is live and taking your signatures.
  • The groundwork for positioning McCain as the indispensable man was laid yesterday, when George Stephanopoulos reported that if McCain didn't vote for the $700 billion bailout, congressional Republicans would reject the measure. Yet one wonders why it took McCain 10 days to insist on this bold action and why this legislatin' machine hasn't cast a vote in the Senate since April.
  • Conservatives have an idea: Let Sarah Palin debate in McCain's stead. Seriously. Methinks the McCain campaign won't let her come out to play. Meanwhile, that scary NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that showed Obama cracking 50 percent and beating McCain by nine points -- the one the campaign insists is faulty -- finds that 49 percent of Americans say Palin is unqualified to be president.
  • Can a president with a 19 percent approval rating use the bully pulpit to push his agenda? I guess we'll find out tonight when W goes on the air to implore his fellow Americans to support, without further delay, socialism for the rich.
  • Pew might have the latest definitive word on polling cell phone-only voters. Their analysis, confirming the work of others, suggests a couple more points for Barack Obama, as the cell-only crowd tends to favor the Democratic candidate by at least 55 percent.
  • Sarah Palin might have had some interesting religious affiliations in the past, but here at TAPPED we like to talk serious public policy. In that spirit, let's discuss Rep. John LaBruzzo's (R-LA) desire to study a "plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied" and "tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children."
  • Surrogates John McCain doesn't need: Condoleezza Rice who observes that the "fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong" and Laura Bush who opines that "of course" Sarah Palin doesn't have enough foreign-policy experience.
  • Ballot malfunction shenanigans, West Palm Beach County edition: "With 41 days to go before the presidential election, election officials and political operatives in this heavily populated Florida county -- famous for overvotes, undervotes, butterfly ballots and hanging chads -- are worried about a repeat performance of the chaos that clouded the outcome of the 2000 presidential race."

--Mori Dinauer