MCCAIN VISITS THE CGI…. I’m afraid I must be a little fuzzy on what it means to “suspend” one’s presidential campaign. As John McCain sees it, the crisis on Wall Street is so serious, he couldn’t possibly recommend a proposal and seek the presidency at the same time, and the idea of taking 90 minutes to debate Barack Obama is just wrong.

McCain can, however, stop by New York to address the Clinton Global Initiative, in part to talk about why he can’t make any political appearances during the economic crisis.

“I cannot carry on a campaign as though this dangerous situation had not occurred, or as though a solution were at hand, which it clearly is not. As of this morning I suspended my political campaign. With so much on the line, for America and the world, the debate that matters most right now is taking place in the United States Capitol — and I intend to join it. Senator Obama is doing the same. America should be proud of the bipartisanship we are seeing.

“It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal to meet the crisis. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. So I am returning to Washington….”

As for the part about Obama, the Democratic nominee said yesterday he would return to D.C. if needed. Soon after, the president called him directly, and asked him to join him, McCain, and congressional leaders at the White House. Obama, of course, agreed.

As for McCain’s CGI pitch, I’m having trouble seeing the point. The dangerous situation began in earnest 11 days ago, and McCain has continued to campaign, just as other candidates for national office have done during previous election-year crises. There’s a debate underway on the Hill, but McCain doesn’t have anything constructive to offer. He insists we’re “running out of time,” but he can’t say why.

And the crisis is so overwhelming, McCain has time to stop by New York to give yet another political speech.

I’m also very interested to know how McCain defines “suspended.” His website is still up, collecting money, and promoting tomorrow night’s debate. His surrogates are still on television this morning. As far as I can tell, none of his aides has been sent home, told to come back after the campaign “suspension” is over.

Strange days.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.