Reaction To McCain's Call To Delay Debate

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi's moment to shine in the national spotlight isn't looking so bright. On Wednesday, Senator John McCain announced he wanted to delay Friday's debate, so he could return to Washington to deal with the recent financial crisis on Wall Street.

"Considering the state of things, we have a real financial problem in this country,and it needs to be addressed," says George Birdrow, Chairman of Harrison County's Republican Party.

"I think they should push forward with the debate. I think we have more than enough capable senators around the country that can step in and fill those voids," says Vernon Mangum, Coastal Chair of the Barack Obama Campaign.

Though both sides see things from different views, they do agree one of the biggest losers would be the University of Mississippi and the state.

"It's certainly disappointing for them and our state not to have this," says Birdrow.

"Think about the cost and the investment that's already been put in for the University of Mississippi," says Mangum.

The university says the price tag already sits at almost $5 million in preparing for the debate.  But, officials with Ole Miss say it's not just about the university.

"Think about the thousands of people who have traveled here for this, so it's not just the university. It's about lots of people involved in this," says Gloria Kellum, Chancellor of University Relations for Ole Miss.

The mayor of Oxford, Robert Howorth, told a crowd of protestors he's trying to get McCain to reconsider his decision. He says he's not exactly mad, but rather a bit let down.

"Not so much frustrating as potentially very disappointing. Holding out hope, keep working, working on this for a year now," says Howorth.

Back here in South Mississippi, the last minute change leaves both democrats and republicans asking questions.

"If I had made that call at this late date, I'm sure a lot of people would have frowned upon me for doing this," says Mangum.

"You never know what sort of thinking goes into to those decisions," says Birdrow.

It's a decision that has left everything, for now, up for debate.