Chances of debate may be improving

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chances of the first McCain-Obama debate taking place as scheduled may be improving.

Congress is reporting progress toward an agreement with the Bush administration on a bailout plan for the financial industry. John McCain and Barack Obama both went to the White House to talk about it with President Bush and congressional leaders.

McCain's campaign has said he won't take part in tomorrow night's debate in Mississippi unless there's a consensus on the financial bailout. Obama still wants it to take place, and he's scheduled to travel to the debate site tomorrow.

After Republicans and Democrats reported an agreement in principle, a McCain spokesman said, "There's no deal until there's a deal." He said, "We're optimistic but we want to get this thing done." A senior McCain adviser didn't rule out the debate.

Obama has argued that the debate should proceed, saying a president needs to be able to handle more than one issue at a time.

In Mississippi, meanwhile, debate organizers continue to prepare. The state's governor says he expects the debate to go forward. The TV networks are also moving ahead with their plans to air the debate.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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