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. Barabus

    Another hail mary fling from a desparate candidate who lacks critical decision-making skills. Do we want this man's finger on the big red button?

    I don't think so.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. jaye

    P.S. I love Laura Bush. She is pro-choice, and she will not lie.
    McCain and Palin say they're Christians, yet they lie and are sneaky and secretive. I shame both of them.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. JWS from NC

    Senator Obama,

    Suggest that the debate continue as planned!! This is clearly a devious political move by the McCain. He must not be prepared and is using the credit crisis to hide it.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. WeLuvObama

    No. Keep the debates scheduled as planned. McCain is not fooling anybody. He had 8 years to work on this mess and he did nothing, absoutely nothing. Obama don't fall this – I smell a rat.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. John

    Keep campaigning Obama, are they suspending voting Nov. 4th? NO, therefore we need to pick a President!!

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. DV

    Wow! McCain trying to take control of the news cycle again by making up his own rules!

    Yesterday he didn't know if he'd bother traveling to D.C. to vote, and today he's ready to grind everything to a halt, and delay the debates.

    Oh McCain, you're making things so transparent we can see right through you.

    David

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. thomas

    It's over, McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. GLD321

    Sounds like someone is not prepared McLame

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. J from NY

    OK! OK!

    So Obama sends the request, Mc Cain goes for it and then goes a step further. It is as if he is saying I will not be outdone. The debate would be stronger for Obama. So look what happens now.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. dave in TX

    sounds to me like ol McCain doesn't want to look bad. I don't b;ame him for not wanting to be on stage trying to explain why he was for the deregulation that caused this mess. or have to explain why he said the fundamentals of the economy are sound.

    Run McSame Run. but you cant escape your record.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. KW

    Good that they are coming together for the joint statement. But what's the matter with McCain? Can't he handle 2 stressful situations at once? That's not very presidential. Boy he loses even more of my respect–and I thought it was already pretty low. He can work on the issues regarding the financial situation with Congress AND fly down Friday night and do the debate. Is he afraid of not having all his answers memorized in time?

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. sick and tired

    I'm tired. This whole week has made me just want to move out of this government controlled country.

    This debate is needed!!!!!!!! As well as a well thought out decision on this finanacial mess. They don't need to delay or suspend anything. If they can't do both then they shouldn't run for the president. I'm tired of listening to this washington idiots not know what to do. It's just a game to them.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Bonnie

    Thought McCain said the fundamentals of our economy are sound!

    I do not think the debate should be canceled. McCain sees how far and how fast that he is sinking in the polls and he sure isn't prepared for the debate so therefore he wants to cancel. Who does he think he is kidding........

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Rick

    What has bothered me most about this election and others has not been the caliber of the candidates, but the overall stupidity and ignorance of what I perceive to the average american voter. What is most troubling to me is that people do not recognize a stunt when they see one, regardless of how obvious it is. Let us do the math, shall we. Earlier today, it was reported that Obama once again had a lead in the polls, and was favored considerably as being better able to handle the economic crisis. Then, this afternoon, McCain suspends his campaign, seeks to postpone the first debate, all in the name of fixing the economy. The economy has been in a downward spiral for a while now, yet today, THE DAY HE SEES HE IS LAGGING IN THE POLLS WITH REGARD TO THE ECONOMY, today is when he decides "Something must be done!" Should've picked Romney.

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

    what the heck is John Mccain going to accomplish anyway?

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Sue, NY

    McCain is so lame now...I don't believe that he did this for anyone but himself and his campaign.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. johnosahon

    good stunt, but FAIL

    i can se right through this, your campaign is dying so pull out a stunt.

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

    There is a weasel in the hen house....

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. shan

    absolutely not! what? can't mccain multi-task? this is ridiculous. if mccain becomes president is he going to postpone one agenda for another?

    how convenient to ask for a delay in the presidential debates. unexceptable!

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Pam

    McCain has had decades to work on the economy and look where it's gotten us.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. TAYO, NY

    THIS IS CLEARLY ANOTHER McCAIN JIMMICK.

    I BELIEVE HAVING A DEBATE ON FRIDAY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHATS GOING IN CAPITAL HILL.

    AGAIN, IS HE TRYING TO SHOW HIS LEADERSHIP OR TRYING TO AVOID THE DEBATE. CERTAINLY HE WILL LATER SAID HE PUT HIS COUNTRY FIRST, AGAIN!

    WHY DID'NT HE SUSPEND HIS CAMPAIGN BEFORE NOW? HE THING MEETING WITH THE WORLD LEADERS IN NYC IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ECONOMIC CRISIS OR WHY IS HE SUSPENDING HIS CAMPAIGN AT THE EVE OF THE FIRST DEBATE.

    I DON'T BUY THIS AND I THINK OBAMA SHOULD NOT SUPPORT THIS. BOTH CAN RETURN TO CAPITOL HILL ON SATURDAY AFTER THE DEBATE.

    THAT IS IT.

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

    This is the pander of all panders! The only thing that has changed this past week is McCain's poll numbers.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. sue

    he does not care about the economy...he cares about his campaign-this is not suspending his campaign-this is all about campaign.
    Will the public buy it?
    Lets see how gullible they are?

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Susan SK

    Its total gamesmanship by McCain! There's no reason he can't debate on Friday. First Palin. Now this? Enough with his seat of the pants style! He wants to hold the debates hostage to the financial crisis. I feel sorry for all of the folks on Oxford Mississippi

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Dean A. Genth

    I beg my candidate, Sen. Obama, to not fall for this McCain "theatrics" and stick to the plan for the Debate on Friday night. We need to see how our candidates think on their feet about this serious crisis and how their plans differ. Could it be that McCain doesn't feel prepared to debate Sen. Obama? The experts are dealing with this now let's hear how the candidates shape up during the debate process. Early voting has already begun and the voters deserve more than a "run and hide" maneuver by the McCain camp.

    September 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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