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. Hallie Bershow

    This is absolutely duck and cover. McCain knows he's going to look bad in the debate because the economy is going to come up and he is trying to find a way out.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. STANLEY NANKIN

    WHILE THIS CRISIS IS FOR REAL. THE BUSINESS OF SUSPENDING THE CAMPAIGN IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHOM CAN OUT FIRST WHOM. JUST YESTERDAY THE CRISIS WAS JUST AS REAL AS TODAY BUT YET AGAIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SAW FIT TO GET A PHOTO SESSION FOR V.P. NOMINEE SARAH PALIN TO SHOW AMERICA THAT SHE IS VP READY TO RUN THE COUNTRY WHAT A BUNCH OF BUNK !

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Tara, Seattle

    Wow! So we may end up having an election with NO DEBATES! Nice work McCain. Do you think we are stupid?

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Richard

    Mclame is already scare

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Pedro Penduko

    I guess he's running scared now. What a brilliant but yellow idea. If Obama agrees, McCain gets more time to prepare. I Obama refuses, he'll look like he doesn't care about the current crises. What a creep!

    Truth be told, a true president can do all these things at the same time. It just goes to show what type of man McCain is, what type of campaign he's been running, and what type of president he'll be (heaven forbid).

    Its all smoke and mirrors.

    Let the debate go as scheduled.......chicken.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Kim

    Are you kidding me?!

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Boopme

    Is this the same person, that recently boasted he knew nothing about the Economy? Now he's rushing in as a Saviour to fix it. I doubt anybody called him in as a consultant. He acts like this bubble just burst and no one had a clue it was coming. Obama did, two years ago, but they brushed him off as inexperienced . So McCain all of a sudden has some sort of vision to help the Economy...give me a break. I wonder if he will take all of his top advisors, Phil Grahmm and the rest of the good ole' boys to undo what they helped happen. He's avoiding this debate, because he knows he can't remember the question asked without writing it down. Even if he writes it down, he won't be able to give the correct answer the first time. After 4 or 5 tries he might get it right. One more thing, is he going to try and delay the ELECTION too?????

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. OPEN REAL DEBATES

    Will you accept the scripted Presidential 'debate' again?
    Brought to you by your 'good friends' at Wall Street.

    No Paul or Nader Main Street USA,
    nor Cynthia McKinney.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Barack Supporter

    Amazing political move by McCain. This makes him seem like a leader who is taking action...and really puts Obama in a spot. Obama has to follow his lead....he will now be critized either way...two bad options..either follow McCain's lead and look slow to react to crises or don't follow him and risk putting politics and aspirations ahead ot this crisis..... Im an Obama supporter, but this is a major political victory for McCain

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Billy

    A President must be able to multi-task.

    If not appearing in front of the American public so we can learn more about your positions isn't a priority, then you aren't the man for the job.

    DON'T DELAY THE DEBATE–WE NEED TO HEAR THE CANDIDATES POSITIONS!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Violet - Seattle

    STFU! Here we go again. Just like the convenient timing of Hurricane Gustav (during the RNC national convention) McCain tries to fool us into thinking he's for "the people" with this suspending his campaign/possibly the Friday debate stunt. Please don't fall for this. Where was he when hurricane Ike obliterated the town of Galveston? Oh, right, the timing of Ike wasn't good. He claims he wants transparency? He's transparent alright. I see right through his POW/Country First/Sexist/Economy is Strong GARBAGE.

    Don't be fooled- Vote and vote for Barack Obama

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. phillip, monterey ca

    go figure what a ploy he isnt ready for a debate the climate isnt to great for republicans at the moment and palin isnt ready to debate biden either. what a joke 1st he uses sarah palin to try and steal votes (not because she is qualified) then he suspends his camp because the economy is the hotbutton issue in the country mcsame everyday you keep showing the american people that you are just more of the same .

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. James Carville

    Thats like a true reformer!!!!

    COUNTRY FIRST

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. obama for me

    mcCain is only try to release himself of the pressure he is under right now. This is a political move by McCain which Obama must not fall for. There is enough people in congress to deal with this issue.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Alex

    delay debate? the debate is like 9PM... they can work morning, day... there is no reason to cancel the debate, coward!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. brown eyes

    This is not showing leadership this is a way to back out of the debate. Just last week McCain was saying the economy was fundamentally "strong". This guy is getting bad advice. The American people better wake up. If McCain is elected the country will be buried way in the ground.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. Walmart mother in Kennesaw,Ga

    Why does McCain always try to grandstand! Everyone is not that stupid. He is always trying to steer the campaign his way. He is not that clever.

    OBama08/Biden08

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Independent for McCain

    I think this is a great move by McCain.... It shows that he's willing to put the "Country First" ahead of his political gain. Now will Obama do the same? Probably so out of pressure.

    Can't wait to see the Libs say it's because McCain is scared. Let's remember that the first debate is on foreign policy which is McCain's strong point.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Godson

    McScared! "I'm down in the polls!" Run back to Washington!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Jim

    Unblievable, after the Obama campaign reaches out Mcsame tries to take advantage of the situation by buying time for the debate's, this is bull!

    God I hate lieing old...argh...

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Jesse from Berlin

    Give me a break!!! He could have done that last week...
    This is politics at it´s best... I bet we´re not going to vote on Nov. 4 too...
    By the way, does that applies to Palin too?
    talk about being scared...

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. candy

    Don't take the bait, Obama!! You are on a roll now!
    This is just a "stall" tactic to let some air out of Obam'a tires!
    NO WAY, NO HOW – NO MCCAIN/PALIN

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. indy chris

    huh. didn't see that coming. sooooo, given that this crisis will take years to resolve, if not decades, no more campaigns? no more elections?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. G

    Wow!! Finally a True hero talk, some one is behind us to protect us.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. Donkey Party

    In other words, McCain isn't ready to debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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