Debate’s On! People on the Street in Oxford Doubtless Relieved!

On today’s American Morning, CNN’s Susanne Malveaux conducted the obvious ultimate person-on-the-street story, reported from the current Ground Zero of the American Political Media: Oxford, Mississippi. What do you think, she asked various species of POS, about the potential of John McCain not showing up to debate tonight?

“The consensus in the hometown of Ole Miss: sheer disbelief,” Malveaux declared, a note of melodrama in her voice. Here’s the evidence of that disbelief, courtesy of various Ole Miss street-people:

“We were just horrified.”

“It was a shock. It was like getting kicked in the stomach to find out that McCain doesn’t want to show.”

“He did hurt my feelings yesterday.”

And, finally, the adorably sassy Anne Morgan, a 9-year-old from Oxford, predicting the political fallout of a missed debate for Candidate McCain: “He’s gonna lose the state’s votes—half of ‘em, anyway.”

Well. Morgan will be relieved to know that McCain’s campaign just announced: the GOP nominee is Oxford-bound! The debate’s on! Students, street people, and visiting media of Ole Miss, rejoice!

Update: The NRO’s Rich Lowry, via Michael Calderone, reports that:

One side effect of McCain’s debate gambit is, I’m told, that everyone at Ole Miss now hates him. It will make for a very hostile audience tonight among those students and faculty attending. He might have to apologize for creating the uncertainty or make some explanation up front, which is never ideal.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.