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. McCain Supporter

    this is nothing but a political ploy, im voting for him because of foreign policy. McCain isnt doing this to work on the economy he is trying to convice voters that he cares.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Jozee

    Just like McCain to throw patriotism in there to show what a great American hero he is. Too bad he didn't show up to vote on the GI bill to protect our current heros in combat.

    On first impusle, I would say, yes, lets get this crisis hammered out, I still don't trust McCain and his Rethuglican cronies to actually put country first. If Wall Street wasn't in Washington's back pocket, we wouldn't have a an economic crisis.

    Somehow this economic hemorrhaging must stop but McCain isn't equipped to handle it. Obama has shown great judgement so far.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

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

    I can understand this approach...but surely the two have time to debate each other for an evening...they have responsibilities in the senate but their other official job is presenting themselves to the american people for judgement for the coming election.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Brian

    I'm john Mc Same and I want to look presidential to hide the fact I chose a VP candidate that it's qualified to be a mayor of a major city much less Vice President!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Jeff in SF

    Scared to debate?
    McCain has already done his work on the credit meltdown, by pushing deregulation and predatory banking practices over the past 25 years.

    He might as well suspend his campaign, why not, but he shouldn't pretend he has anything to contribute to cleaning up the mess he helped create.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Glen

    I see that McCain is running scared. No need to suspend the debates everything about the bailout can be discussed for all of America to see.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Hmm....

    An honest notion at a critical time, or a cheap political ploy?
    Time to focus on a crisis, or time to prepare for the debate?

    I guess we will have to make up our own minds about this.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. RR in AZ

    This will be interesting!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Bob

    Maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age, but this sure smells like a political move to me. McCain gets to act like a leader by proposing this move and gets to put off (or maybe avoid?) a debate that he may not be prepared for. Sounds like another act of desperation.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Sandy - PA

    Suspending what campaign? His campaign of lies? He may suspend his campaign, but I guarantee we'll still see TV ads from all the 527's. Not buying it, McCain! You're losing, and this maneuver is not going to help you.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Susan Goudy

    John Macain DOES NOT NEED TO POSTPONE THE DEBATE!!!!!! JUST ANOTHER WAY OF TRYING TO GET AROUND SHOWING PEOPLE WHAT HE DOESN'T KNOW!!!!!! tHE CONGRESS IS PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF HANDLING IT AND KEEPING HIM INFORMED IF NEED BE.....HOW STUPID CAN YOU GET.....ANYTHING TO GET HIM OR HIS SARA PAIN OUT OF OPENING THEIR MOUTHS UP TO SHOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW!
    sUSAN

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

    I applaud both the campaigns and all the Senators involved for focusing on this issue.

    The proposed bail out is not something to be taken lightly. The next President, be it Obama or McCain, is going to have a major financial issue to deal with.

    Hopefully this bi-partisan effort achieves a workable framework for salvaging the economy.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Scott of Utah

    What politics. If Obama says yes, it looks like he is following McCain's lead. If he says no then (maybe) it looks like he doesn't care about the financial crisis.

    Delay the debate for how long? The vice presidential is next week right? I bet you want to delay that one too.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Steve, PA

    This is a gimmick, republicans and democrats are already working on this crisis. What is he trying accomplish? He thinks that we are really reall y really dumb. Are serious?

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. Obama will win

    Absolutely ridiculous!!!
    I can not believe that McCain can think people are so stupid! He had already spoken to Obama this morning and knows that post poning the debate will do NOTHING to help the economic condition of this country.He knows that he is losing and will attempt ant distraction at this point!SICK,SICK,SICK

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Travis

    McCain = tanking faster than the economy.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. no trickle down...

    What a sly Devil McCain his. What a dirty trick!

    He's just trying to stop the momentum that Obama has gained over the economy. This won't negate the fact that the Bush/McCain policies got the US into this mess.

    McCain is running scared, and trying to changes the rules in the run up to the election.

    More disgusting tactics – disguised as sincere concern for the issues!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. CR in WI

    No Delay-
    No to Bailout of Wall St.

    Does this have anything to do with his non-preparation for the debate? Recall he intends to squeeze it in . . .

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Joel Jackson

    "Now is the time to draw attention away from my floundering campaign and try to sort out this mess I've caused by espousing deregulation for the last 20 years."

    Similar to McCain's false attack ads, this is move is a calculated and completely politically motivated circus act. The last gasps of a mortally wounded campaign...

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Joseph in Dallas, TX

    LMAO....Are you serious?

    WOW...they need time to re-focus and deal with all of the lies they've told! Where there's smoke there's FIRE!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. JOfromATLforObamaBiden

    THIS GUY IS SO FULL OF IT..HE IS TRYING TO AVOID ANSWERING ANY QUESTIONS. HIM AND PALIN ARE HIDDING FROM THE MEDIA AND EVERYONE ELSE..THEY DO NOT WANT TO BE PUT ON THE SPOT...I CAN'T SEE HOW ANYONE WILL VOTE FOR THEM. DOES HE REALLY BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHATS GOIN ON.

    WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DEBATE FOR THE LONGEST..WHAT IS HE GOING TO BE WORKING ON? GI VE ME A BREAK

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Yupik1

    Just an excuse to not debate Obama...What a chickenhawk! He should suspend his campaign permanently.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Don from Maine

    Finally something both candidates can agree on. It is time to put politics aside and work on solving this crisis. The bottom line is that regardless of whether one is Republican, Democrat or Independent we are all Americans first. While I would have liked to see McCain put his foot in his mouth at the debates There will be plenty of time for that later. In the meantime we can watch Sarah Palin for comic releif.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Chris from Kentucky

    He is in panic. Leaders should stay calm during crisis. Everything should proceed as planned.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. NUNNYA

    THE FINAL NAIL IN HIS POLITICAL COFFIN. WHAT A MORON.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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