Obama, for his part, is on TV now. He's lead off saying nothing about the debates, rather making it sound like he initiated some sort of grand "joint statement" with McCain and that McCain burned him by making the debate announcement. Regarding the debate, during the question-and-answer session, Obama said "It's my belief that this is exactly the time that the American people need to hear" from the parties involved. If the Democrats are going to stick the debates, that's the point they'll need to hammer home: John McCain doesn't want to have this debate right now. John McCain is totally panicking.
I think this debate issue breaks for McCain right now. Obama is saying a lot about keeping politics out of this, but still pressing for the debate. McCain has stopped campaigning (which, yes, is its own form of politics) to "put country first." But those voters sitting on the fence might see it this way: These two men are elected representatives and they are still U.S. Senators. Their job is, technically, to be present on Capitol Hill to figure this bill out -- not practicing for debates. And, like it or not, Obama is a young politician without much of a political record. The Republicans have already made an issue of his habit of voting "present" when he was at the state level. On the national level, he claims to have "worked with" and "talked with" a lot of people to get things done, but his name isn't actually attached to any important legislation.
Again, I'm fully aware that McCain is weak on the economy. I'm also inclined to agree with Obama's assessment that the next president will have to be able to juggle more than one crisis at a time. I just think John Q. Public might be inclined to buy McCain's storyline on this one. I'm sure you all have opinions. Let them rip.