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Sep 25, 2008

To Debate or Not: Obama and McCain React to 'Economic Crisis

John McCain and Barack Obama say presidential politics should have no role in the government's efforts to save the crippled financial system. Yet, each is playing his own politics toward the same goals - showing leadership during crisis, getting credit for any solutions, and ultimately, winning the presidency.
According to the Associated Press, the latest example is: a debate over whether the candidates should debate Friday.

McCain called for his Democratic rival to agree to a postponement until Congress agrees on a $700 billion government plan to rescue banks from enormous debt. "It is difficult to act both quickly and wisely, but that is what is required of us right now. Time is short, and doing nothing is not an option," McCain told the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Thursday.

Obama rebuffed his GOP rival on the debate proposal, saying the next president needs to "deal with more than one thing at once."

Both were heading back to Washington on Thursday, summoned by President Bush to attend a White House meeting with congressional leaders in hopes of securing the legislation to rescue the fragile economy.

The stakes were huge for both presidential contenders. The financial upheaval has become an audition of sorts as each man tries to prove to voters that he would exhibit the best judgment and leadership during a national crisis.

Portraying himself as a bipartisan leader in a time of turmoil, each is carefully navigating the potentially perilous political terrain. Both candidates are trying hard not to appear to be using the situation for political gain - even though politics certainly weighs heavily in every move each makes.

Voters - including the 18 percent an AP Yahoo News poll found - are undecided or still could change their minds - certainly are paying close attention with the election a little more than five weeks away. And the candidates' postures may tell them a lot about how each would act as president.

Polls show the race competitive, with Obama having a slight advantage in a political landscape that dramatically favors Democrats and appears to be further trending toward them in part because of the intense focus on the economy. Obama leads McCain on that issue.

Neither candidate can afford to simply support fast-tracked legislation; they could be seen as insensitive to taxpayers' concerns about the massive bailout and sweeping government intervention. But they also can't be seen as doing nothing by opposing the measure outright; many economists warn that failing to address the crisis in a meaningful way could plunge the economy into further chaos.

McCain also would certainly leave himself open to criticism that he was again siding with Bush if he supported the administration-backed legislation. However, he also could try to put his own stamp on a Republican Party going through somewhat of an identity crisis; congressional Republicans have suggested they are waiting for a signal from McCain on how to vote.

Both tried to strike a balance Wednesday.

In a brief moment of comity, the two issued a joint statement recognizing that the country was facing "a moment of economic crisis" in which "the jobs, savings and prosperity of the American people are at stake." They called the legislation flawed but also said it must not fail.

"Now is a time to come together - Democrats and Republicans - in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people," they said. "This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country."

But political maneuvering was exactly what went on during most of the day.

First, the two senators spoke privately about the possibility of issuing a joint statement.

Minutes later and before the two campaigns had hammered out their agreed-upon comment, McCain beat Obama to the punch as he sought to gain ground on the economy, stunt Obama's momentum and put himself in a position where he can claim he put his words into action - and the country ahead of his campaign.

The Republican went before TV cameras in New York to say that he had spoken to Bush and asked him to convene a leadership meeting in Washington that would include him and Obama. He said he would halt campaign events, advertising and fundraising to return to Capitol Hill to work on the crisis until an agreement on legislation was reached.

What's more, McCain called for Friday's debate to be postponed - and for Obama to curtail campaign activities as well.

Shortly thereafter, Obama held his own news conference to reject McCain's challenge.

The Democrat said he would continue with his debate preparations while consulting with bailout negotiators and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

In a political calculation of his own, Obama repeatedly stressed that he called McCain first with the proposal for a joint statement in support of an economic fix. He said McCain called back several hours later and agreed to the idea of a statement but also said he wanted to postpone the debate and hold joint meetings in Washington. Obama said he suggested they first issue the statement.

Halle Berry Reads Up For “Frankie and Alice”

Taking a break from her motherly duties, Halle Berry was spotted out for a morning workout at her Brentwood gym on Wednesday (September 25).

The Academy Award-winning actress dressed casually in sweats, listening to her iPod as she toted along a few books, including one on treating multiple personal disorders.

The book, titled “Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder,” is actually being used as an aid to learn as much as possible before beginning her new movie, “Frankie and Alice”.

In the upcoming drama, Miss Berry will star as “a young woman with multiple personality disorder who struggles to remain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality.”

Hilary Duff: Retail Therapy on Robertson Blvd

Whenever she walks into a store, the salespeople see dollar signs. And earlier today (September 25), Hilary Duff took her penchant for purchases to Robertson Boulevard.

The “War, Inc.” actress looked cute in a baggy white tank top overtop a black bra with a pair of grey stretch pants and white Nike sneakers as she tried on a barrage of bracelets, belts, and necklaces.

Up next for Miss Duff is a new movie called “Greta,” which also stars Ellen Burstyn and Evan Ross, due out later this year.

In the movie, Hilary plays a waitress who falls in love with Ross’ character, an ambitious cook who works at the same restaurant. As their relationship grows, Greta and her grandparents both discover her boyfriend’s criminal past.

Ashley Tisdale’s Restaurant Run-In

Ready to dive into her daily duties, Ashley Tisdale was looking her usual stylish self as she was spotted leaving her Los Angeles home on Wednesday (September 25).

According to a FOX Pop Tarts report, the Disney starlet had quite the interesting evening during a recent family night out to eat in Valencia, California.

“A bunch of little girls came over and I thought they wanted an autograph, which was totally cool,” Tisdale explained of the situation, continuing to tell that one of the girl’s mothers ended up demanding that she offer up a bite of salad to her fans.

“She wasn’t joking and she wouldn’t go away when I said no,” Ashley continued to tell Pop Tarts’ Hollie McKay. “It was so odd that a grown woman would do that, especially in front of her kids. It was so wrong.

Orlando Bloom: Bringing Back the Fever

Out taking care of his business duties, Orlando Bloom paid a visit to the Ivy Club in London on Thursday afternoon (September 25).

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” hunk was reportedly there to meet over his rumored upcoming performance alongside Keira Knightley in the new version of “Saturday Night Fever,” which has been renamed “The Fever Returns”.

Following the afternoon meeting, Orlando headed out to his awaiting car - hopping in and lighting up a cigarette as he sat next to a script.

According to insider reports, the show will be pretty much the same as the original - although film producers have been said to have changed the location from Brooklyn to the streets of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire.

Eva Longoria Says “Make Me Look Thin”

Accompanied by a few of her gal pals, Eva Longoria was spotted making a lunch stop at The Vienna Cafe in West Hollywood on Thursday afternoon (September 25).

And with all of the baby rumors and weight gain talk sweeping the Web, the “Desperate Housewives” actress jokingly told the paparazzi to make her look thin as she exited her car.

Meanwhile, Eva has also been busy befriending rising young Tampa Bay Rays baseball star Evan Longoria - as he shares a near identical name with the brunette beauty.

Press reports tell that Eva mailed off a bottle of champagne to congratulate Evan for his on-field success. And he returned the favor by giving Eva a Rays t-shirt.

Of her budding friendship, Eva said “It’s good to see that he’s doing the name proud.”

Amy Winehouse Faces Tough Times

Disproving everyone who thought she’d already hit rock bottom, Amy Winehouse was spotted earlier today looking worse than ever as she left her London home.

The troubled “Rehab” songstress has hit a new low, with unkempt hair, smudged makeup, stained shoes, and various scratches all over her legs. She is scheduled to perform at the End of Summer Ball in Berkeley Square, so hopefully she cleans herself up.

Speaking of cleaning up, a recent report tells that Miss Winehouse may owe famed designer Harvey Nichols nearly $50,000 for a bevy of dresses he lent her that she returned without cleaning.

And the worst part is that they were stained with her vomit, as she wore one of the dresses on a wild night out during which she drank until she threw up… all over the dress.

The Daily Mirror reported, “Harvey Nichols loaned Amy (almost $50,000) worth of silk and satin dresses. Unfortunately, while wearing one of the frocks, she went on an all-night bender. She ended up in the loos (British for ‘bathroom), where she was violently sick. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.”

“She eventually couriered them back on Monday, but didn’t wrap them separately. So sick had gone on all the clothes. Even worse, green, furry mold had developed on some gowns, making them unwearable.”

“The store publicists weren’t best pleased. They send stuff out to celebs all the time, but it never gets into such a state. I doubt Amy will be sent any more designer gear for a while and the store has now asked for its (money) back.”

Lindsay Lohan and Sam Ronson: Disneyland Divas

We’re used to seeing them frequent high-profile Hollywood events and swanky parties, but yesterday Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson were spotted indulging their collective inner-child.

The “Mean Girls” actress and her deejay girlfriend opted for an afternoon at Disneyland, thoroughly enjoying the Magic Kingdom, as well as each other’s company.

And it looks like Ronson really caught the youthful spirit of the theme park, sporting a “Nightmare Before Christmas”-inspired Mickey Mouse hat, while LiLo stuck with her red plaid flannel shirt/skinny jeans combo.

Lindsay and Sam’s continuing relationship is a definite source of frustration for Lohan’s father Michael, who recently wrote, “There is a lot more to Samantha then meets the eyes, not that what we see is too pleasing anyway! I mean, what’s with this ... ‘person’??? Look at the way she ‘dresses’? Once more, she uses her middle finger more than she uses words! Personally, I think she is dark, hideous and a disgusting representation of humanity.”

“God will weed her out of Lindsay’s life and at that time, you will finally see Lindsay back in the place where she belongs. Not doing independent films, guest starring on [a] TV show, being a guest judge on a reality TV show or making appearances at Samantha’s DJ gigs. Is this the Lindsay we all knew and loved before Samantha came into her life? No!!! When she got out of Cirque Lodge everything looked good until Samantha came on the ‘scene.”

Britney Spears Brings Back the Black Wig

In the latest installment of Britney Spears’ comeback news, the “Gimme More” songstress was spotted leaving a downtown building after a long day of shooting on what was presumably a video set.

On her way to a waiting SUV, Brit was heavily shielded from the paparazzi by a bevy of bodyguards in an effort to keep her activities on the down-low.

And according to a recent report, the “Piece of Me” diva may be heading across the pond to perform on the UK hit show X Factor.

Simon Cowell told press, “I think Britney Spears is going to perform. We didn’t get her. She’s got a record coming out. We have the number one show in England. It’s the best show for her to perform on.”

He continued, “We’re absolutely thrilled to have her. She’s a hugely talented person… She’s the number one booking in the world at the moment for a show.”

Paris Hilton and Benji Madden Open Up Haven

If it’s a high-profile nightclub event, Paris Hilton and Benji Madden are sure to be there . And at last night’s launch of Haven, they looked to be having a marvelous time.

The “Simple Life” starlet looked sexy in a sheer black tube top with skin-tight black leggings and black zip-up boots as she supported her man during his deejay gig.

An eyewitness revealed, “Paris was particularly touchy-feely all night and was spotted cheering and clapping for Benji during his DJ set. They looked very close.”

In related news, Paris’ sister Nicky may finally be tying the knot with her longtime boyfriend David Katzenberg, per an overheard conversation earlier this month.

The eavesdropper told press, “They are thinking about a December or January wedding. They want it to take place after the Christian and Jewish holidays.”

Joe Jonas Hangs with Christian Audigier

Stepping out for a bit of shopping, Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers posed alongside designer Christian Audigier after shopping in his store on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles on Wednesday (September 24).

The “Camp Rock” hunk sported a matching grey blazer and trousers overtop a red striped shirt with red wingtip shoes, looking a bit bellhop-inspired.

Later on in the afternoon, Joe headed over to the “Dancing with the Stars” set to met up with his brothers for a performance on the show’s three-night premiere finale episode.

“It’s really cool to see them dance to one of our songs because we didn’t know what it would be like for somebody to dance to it,” Joe told Entertainment Tonight. “And to see them choreograph it—it makes you really excited and makes you want to perform a little bit more.”