September 24th, 2008
03:02 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain to 'suspend campaign,' calls for first debate to be delayed

McCain is calling for the debate to be suspended.
McCain is calling for the debate to be suspended.

(CNN) - John McCain announced Wednesday he is suspending his campaign on Thursday morning and returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis. He also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the first faceoff until Congress has completed work on a bailout package.

Watch: McCain's announcement

“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me,” he said in New York.

“I am calling on the President to convene a leadership meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem,” he said.

Obama's campaign said that the Democratic nominee had called McCain at 8:30 Wednesday morning to ask him if he would "join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal." They also said that McCain returned the call at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement, and that the two campaigns are currently "working together on the details."

In his statement, McCain said he was directing his campaign “to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

“Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.”

The McCain campaign said the Republican nominee's scheduled appearance on David Letterman's show Wednesday evening had been canceled.

The White House praised McCain's statement. "We welcome Sen. McCain's announcement," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "We are making progress in negotiations on the financial markets rescue legislation, but we have not finished it yet. Bipartisan support from Sens. McCain and Obama would be helpful in driving to a conclusion. The financial market crisis is a big problem that requires a big solution, and solving this in a bipartisan way will help prevent economic damage spreading from Wall Street to all Americans."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (1,284 Responses)
  1. View from up north

    He's not ready for the debate. This is a sham.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Rumpusgoopus

    Another sickening political ploy from McCain. How can American stand for this?

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. nitesh

    election over...game set match mccain..
    i dont think obama can top tht!!!
    Nitesh

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Celeste

    You have got to be kidding me. We are finally going to see them answer some tough questions and now McCain is using the economy to weasel out of the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. BevAnn

    First, the American people will recognize this as a political gimmick. Second, the debates are a critical part of my decision-making and it needs to stay on schedule. McCain isn't going to solve the problems of the economy this week and I'm not even sure he can effectively contribute right now. He should stick to his current job – campaign and debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Politics as usual

    Twenty bucks says we see a commercial in two weeks saying "John McCain stopped his campaign to save America. Country First."

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Jason

    What is McCain going to work on? He has admitted that he doesn't know much about the economy and according to him, our economy is "fundamentally strong". What a political move....

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Manny

    You got to be kidding me right?

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. mmd

    Mccain got knowledge of the videos being shown on the Huffington Post of palin being prayed over by the Kenya witchhunter while the congregation speaks in tongue.

    Jesus, what in the hell is this woman about. God save us from her and mccain..

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Nick, CA

    I appreciate the initiative, but it's just a political ploy.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Johnny Gentle

    I fail to see how a 7PM debate interferes with doing some work in Aashington to address the financial crisis.

    If you can't handle two things at once, then you must not be fit to be the President of the good old USA...

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Lorna, NY

    OK. What is he pulling?

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. drew

    This is the worst excuse I've heard so far. Instead of saying "I'm unprepared for the debate," he's blaming the economy. Can we fix it in 3 days? Should we push back the election until we resolve it?

    Just ludicrous

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. 9999

    H O N O R-–C O U N T R Y---F I R S T

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Mike T. Vaughn

    He said the economy was strong, so why is he suspending his campaign. Sounds like he needs to rest up .Just like he takes off on the weekend from campaging.............what doe he plan to do??????? Count his houses????? Count his cars..........what can he possibly offer...........since he help that No Idiot President Bush cause this mess we are in

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. kay

    where is mccain running off to, trying to score some political points i guess. we still have a president let him deal with this crisis.... john bush

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. GB

    Oh boy, he is always looking for something to distract the American people that he belongs to the party who messed up the economy in the first place, and now he wnts to fix it?

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Ken

    Now it turns out that it was Obama's idea to have a bipartisan effort to fix this issue! Even though Obama did not suggest to suspend any campaigning he wanted to work together and McCain took credit!

    This is absurd!!

    Obama 08

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Maggie from Virginia

    McCain you are done!!

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Derrick - Houston

    Oh, all of a sudden McCain wants to go VOTE on something? He hasn't shown up for work in ages, and NOW he wants to be a Senator? He can't show up for a two-hour debate? PLEASE!

    What a coward!

    Senator, YOU CAN'T STOP THE WORLD JUST BECAUSE IT'S INCONVENIENT!

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. watching

    OBAMA – send Biden with your input and ask that McCain send his VP candidate

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Stephen

    COMPLEXITIES COME WITH THE JOB, RIGHT????

    I don't understand why John McCain needs to suspend his campaign and delay the first scheduled debate. Can't he multi-task? I'm sure that the President of the United States, whoever gets elected, has to be able to handle more than one major crisis at a time.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    Since Sarah Palin is a Governor, I suppose she can keep tooling around lying about that bridge. How convenient.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Mike

    Clearly this is a publicity stunt to try to convince americans he is concerned about economic interests on the heals of his dip in the polls.

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. lol

    you've got to be kidding me!!! this is a load of crap! Anything to try to stop the Obama/Biden momentum...

    September 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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