By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Residents agree presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain should get to work on a potential solution to the country’s recent economic meltdown.
Citizens are divided on whether Sen. McCain should have suspended his campaign to do it.
“I think it’s about time for them to both step up … so they can straighten out everybody’s problems,” said Paris Turner, a Clovis laborer who is leaning toward voting for Obama.
McCain, R-Ariz., announced Wednesday morning he would suspend his campaign after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York, and fly to Washington, D.C. to focus on a solution.
He has asked Sen. Obama, D-Ill., to join him in suspending the campaign and has proposed Friday’s debate be suspended until Oct. 2 in St. Louis — thus also delaying the vice presidential debate already scheduled there.
Obama said Wednesday he would go to Washington if it would help, but still planned for a Friday debate.
Retired civil service employee Max Pastor of Portales thinks the candidates should “absolutely” delay the debates and get back to Washington.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Pastor said. “I think they should be looking at this really close.
“I don’t think they should bail them out, personally, and I’ve e-mailed (state Democratic Sen. Jeff) Bingaman to tell them not to (approve a) bail out.”
Pastor didn’t say who he plans to vote for, but said he’s just about decided.
Ben Stone, a Clovis photographer, is just as opposed to a potential $700 billion bailout. He said McCain’s move might not be the best campaign idea. He said citizens shouldn’t be asked to bail out banks and borrowers for bad decisions.
“I don’t think it’s right,” Stone said. “I had to pay for my home. It cost plenty, and interest rates were higher than they are today. Nobody had to bail me out.
“These people overspent. They’re taking a chance.”
Curry County Republican Party Chairman Rube Render echoed Stone’s sentiments.
“I think it demonstrates McCain’s sense of duty. In doing this, he is doing something he thinks is bigger than the campaign. It’s a financial crisis and I’m not sure everybody understands the full extent of what can happen here.”
Render said he didn’t see any way the debates could go on as scheduled, because he thinks work will definitely take place through Friday and there just wouldn’t be adequate preparation for the type of debate voters need.
Dolores Penrod, a Democrat who is “definitely” supporting Obama, called McCain’s suspension a political ploy.
“I thought that Congress was trying very hard to be bipartisan and to make this an economic issue and not a political issue,” Penrod said. “I think that John McCain’s decision to go to Washington has now made it a political issue, and that’s too bad.”
Penrod added that senators running for office have gone back to vote on issues in the past without grand announcements, and didn’t see the reason to make one now.
Obama and McCain are among the most absent in the Senate when it comes to votes in 2008. McCain is first, with 412 of 643 votes missed and no votes cast since April 8. Obama is third, with 295 missed votes with no votes cast since July 9. Second on the absentee list is South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson, who suffered a brain hemorrhage shortly after re-election in 2006.