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. bd

    Can anyone say "Grandstanding"? Give me a break!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Eve

    Suspend his presidential campaign and debate? Why not just forfeit altogether? Acknowledge that his Party has messed up big time and nothing can be done to fix this short term. Hell no, people. We absolutely need MORE debating right now. Let US ask the questions and get straight answers.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Foreign observer

    Looks like McCain is doing some Show business. There is a Republican President to deal with the crisis. No need for McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. W.

    How many mulligans before this man puts the ball in the hole? This is another in a line of desperate maneuvers.

    Here's hoping that Congress says NO to the Financial PATRIOT Act. Millions of Republicans, Democrats and Independents are against this full and unlawful bailout.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Michigan Voter

    absolutely not! what a crock. Scared for the debate are we?

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. RZjr

    Well, if it was Obama's idea, it would only be because of his inexperience with foreign policy and worried about the impression he would make in Friday's debate.

    or...

    It would be just like McCain to ROCK THE VOTE!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. White and Black support for Obama

    Obama has to make the first moves. Good leadership makes the first move.
    That is our leader, Obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Jacques Hampstead

    I'm a lifelong Republican, but this is the last straw. Canceling one debate on Friday to fly back to Washington is going to help mitigate the crisis? What is McCain going to do? Rewrite the bailout legislation? He's just not ready to debate and needs an extension. This is the kind of thing I used to do when I was in college and needed more time to write a paper. The duplicity has reached new heights, and I may now need to hold my nose and vote Democrat for the first time in my life.

    Jacques Hampstead

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Chest

    Mr. Obama, PLEASE DON'T FALL FOR THIS, as President, there will be many issues, job, commettees, and world issuese you will have to deal with at the same time. I sure you can debate, on Friday night, get to Washington by Saturaday and still do your duities are a Senator.

    By the way he only call you Senator, when he up to something and other time you just Obama

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. McCain- Using Every Trick in The Book

    McCain is afraid to face Obama in a debate. If I was a moron, I wouldn't want to debate Obama either. He is hoping that the mystery that is Palin will carry him to victory. I would not bet on it.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. JP

    This is BS!!! What does doing your day job have to do with a Friday night debate? McCain has been slipping in the polls, and he's trying to curtail Obama's momentum.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. boriskat

    Look, I get that they want to help the economy, but maybe, just MAYBE McCain should have thought of this back when his pal Phil Gramm was deregulating the crap out of the economy. This is so ridiculous.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. John

    what a coward

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. phil s.

    very admirable for mccain to do such a thing – regardless of motive. but, at least for me, it still does not sway my opinion of his debilitating economic philosophy that has led us to this crisis in the first place. see, if politicians can just sway back and forth between what issues and policies to advocate on their platform according to what is "right" at any given moment, heck then even I can be president. all I would need to do, as mccain is doing, is reinvent myself every step of the way so I can garner whatever support I can get.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. D&D

    So it was Obama's idea, but McCain is making it look like it's his...

    I don't know for you guys but there is something not very clear about McCain's intentions!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. TAYO, NY

    AGAIN, McCAIN AT ONE OF HIS POLITICAL JIMMICKS AT WORK.

    THERE MOST BE PERSONAL REASON FOR THIS!

    NOT JUST A MATTER OF PUTTING COUNTRY FIRST.

    I BET IT.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. WHAT!?!?

    I cannot believe McCain is taking this step! Cancel the debate? How about DEBATING THIS IN FRONT of the public? I want to hear what each of them have to say!!!Does he think the country will just stop unless he runs back to Washington to fix everything for us? That's it, he's officially a nut job in my book.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. ANDRE IN BOCA RATON, FL

    THIS IS THE TIME THAT MCBUSH TRIES TO DECEIVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY PRETENDING TO HELP SOLVE HIS PARTY'S WRONGDOINGS.
    I AGREE THAT THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WE ARE IN NOW IS EVERYONE'S FOREMOST PROBLEM... BUT THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN PUT HIS REPUBLICRAP VIEWS BEFORE OUR COUNTRY'S HEALTH. TO ME HE SHOULD REALLY CHANGE THAT "COUNTRY FIRST" B.S. ON HIS POSTERS TO "PARTY FIRST" OR "CEOs AND SHAREHOLDERS FIRST."

    GIVE ME A BREAK HE IS GOING UP TO CAPITOL HILL AND TRY TO GIVE SECT. PAULSON THAT BLANK CHECK HIS IDOL W. BUSH WANTS IN ORDER TO LEAVE AMERICA WITH A GREATER DEBT IN CHINA, AND GIVE BIG OIL AND BIG COMPANIES MORE MONEY... AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR SOCIAL SERVICES.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. The Conservative

    Oh my God! The old man is done. Why does he need to be physically in Washington. The campaign is too hot for him! He needs to cool off. The GOP is up to no good.

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

    McCain has been nothing but a complete jerk during this entire campaign, now, he wants to work with Obama? Neither of them are in the white house and what can they do?
    This is just a campaign ploy on McCain's part.

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

    Is John McCain afraid to debate Obama? Seems like it.

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

    FREE SARAH PALIN! Brown said it BEST!!!

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

    HMMM DID NOT SEE THIS COMING BUT IF I COULD DODGE A POTENTIAL DAMAGING PERFORMANCE BUT NOT ATTENDING MEDIA EVENTS (ALA PALIN) THEN I WOULD ALSO. BUT THE TRUE TEST OF HIS WILL IS IF HE WILL PULL HIS NEGATIVE ADS WHILE SUSPENDING HIS CAMPAIN OR IS THIS JUST A CHANCE TO GET OUT THE DEBATES.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Alternative

    Yeah, lets' postpone the debate so we can hurry and create a long-term solution for a huge mess in as short as time as possible. Hit the panic button! Are you kidding me? Mr McCain this financial issue is, or should, going to take a lot longer to fully digest and solve than 8 weeks. What, you want to postpone the election as well? I mean, I appreciate the effort, but I highly doubt two guys missing from the table will have much impact. Especially when YOU'RE the one who favored deregulation which helped lead to this mess.

    Or how about all you politicians take a look at Economist Wesberry's plan. Google it. It's a great idea the media isn't reporting on. Extend insurance but extend no loans. This would help unfreeze the market and cost around 40 billion instead of 700 billion. I don't like it, but 40 is less than 700.

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

    This is ridiculous! McCain at his own admission knows nothing of Economic yet he is suspending his campaign to solve the crisis. Maybe it would be best if he just suspended his Campaign.

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