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Obama rejects McCain call to delay debate

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Barack Obama
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in Clearwater, Fla., this afternoon. Obama rebuffed White House rival John McCain's call Wednesday to postpone the first presidential debate, arguing it was more than important than ever to present their ideas to voters.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Republican John McCain said Wednesday that he wants to postpone Friday's debate to deal with the nation's financial problems, but Democrat Barack Obama said "it's more important than ever" that the country hear from its next president.

      The White House rivals maneuvered to claim the leadership role on the financial crisis that has overshadowed their campaign, leaving the question of whether they will hold their first debate Friday in doubt. 

Obama said he would go ahead with his debate preparations, while McCain said he would stop all advertising, fundraising and other campaign events to return to Washington and work for a bipartisan solution.

      "It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," Obama said in a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "It's going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."