Hypothetical: If McCain killed Obama

So, let’s say McCain went off his nut tonight and killed Obama right in the middle of the debate (or the other way around - this isn’t a partisan question). What happens? Obviously, neither would become president. Would it automatically shift to a Biden vs. Palin nomination? I assume this would happen, since many absentee ballots have already been sent out (and mailed in). But what if it happened earlier in the campaign? Would the parties be stuck with the VP candidates, or could they convene some special session and nominate entirely new presidential candidates?

I beleive the parties could just nominate new candidates, as the election really comes down to the Electoral College vote, not each individual vote. This recently came up in a thread about Palin possibly being removed from the Republican ticket.

However, I’m not sure if the same logic applies to the presidential candidates. I’m sure someone will come along to correct me if I have this wrong…

Eh, stupid post removed.

I’m pretty sure it does. When you go into the booth, you’re really casting votes for delegates to the electoral college. These electors are, at least as far as federal law is concerned[sup]1[/sup], free to cast their votes for whomever they want. So if both presidential candidates are “unavailable”, the respective party committees can meet and pick out new candidates, and the electors from each party will cast their votes for the new nominee instead.

[sup]1[/sup]Some states do have “faithless elector” laws, but (a) they’ve never been applied, let alone challenged, so their constitutional status is unclear, and (b) in the situation you’re talking about, where a candidate is replaced before the election, such laws probably don’t apply.