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. Time to be heard American

    Don't do it Barack! This is just another scare/rush tactic from the Republican party to trick Americans into giving in to their selfish initiatives! Stop using our money to bail out Millionaires and rush our votes!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Lisa G of PA

    He is only trying to break the momentum, which is now clearly Sen. Obama's favor. They are nearly tied in many states where McCain was favored to win, like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. Let the debates begin!

    The Congress can work on the crisis McCain helped to create through deregulation. Don't give him a platform to pretend he's for regulation now.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Paul

    This is ridiculous. McCain can't deal with two issues at once.? Fine move the debate to Washington but don't claim that a few hours spent on the debate will be a bad thing.

    What if there are two crisis during a McCain presidency? Do we put one on hold?

    This seems to be an effort to stir up fear that the entire economy is going to collapse without a rush to legislate.

    This is wrong...just plain wrong.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Vinson

    Great idea, but if Barack had initiated this instead of McCain, all the detractors would be calling him a coward.

    Bad double standard we have in this country. Gee, I wonder why......

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. David

    Good for Sen Obama for taking the intiative on this; and, good for Sen McCain for his want to work together with Sen Obama for the good of the nation. Putting politics aside is the appropriate thing for both to do under present circumstances.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Anna

    YOU CANT POSSIBLY BE SERIOUS. Fine, if you want to go to Washington and work things out, fine. But don't leave the american people hanging in the balance. We want to be INVOLVED and INFORMED (something the Mccain campaign clearly knows nothing about).

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Lies Before Country = Anna Nicole Smith (Lie-a-day Palin) & E. Pierce Marshall (Inane McCain)

    Mccain is a wimp. Any other excuses, old man? You are no patriot, you big fake!

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. JOHN McSAME IS DUCKING THE DEBATES

    JOHN McSAME IS DUCKING THE DEBATES!!!

    OLD MAN YELL @ CLOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Keith

    Lemme get this straight. McCain, a guy who admits he knows squat about economics is suddenly indispensible and can't address a forum that millions would have watched? After insisting that economics NOT be the first debate topic??? Obama should debate an empty chair, it would be as intelligent.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Gerald in Georgia

    what will he want to do next????? Postpone the election???? Dude we are only six weeks away from the Presidential Election!!!!!
    ANYTHING TO SLOW THE OBAMA SURGE!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Democraticyear2008

    I do not trust Mccain he is buying time to learn more about economy, as it stands now he has nothing to bring to the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Lee-- Dallas, TX

    So McCain do you mean to tell me you can't do more than one thing at a time? You can't run your campaign, debate and focus on solutions for our economy while you are a candidate for President?

    Then why should we, the American people trust you to handle the business of this nation. Good leaders are able to handle several things at a time and for you to ask that the debate be move back with a little over a month to Election Day is CRAZY.

    Sounds like you're playing politics with this financial crisis. I don't think you can be President if you can't handle several great tasks at a time.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Random Dude

    Bet my bottom dollar that McMoron is upto something nasty
    I bet he is just buying time

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. heather, new york

    has he finally lost his mind? what is his expertise that he's needed in DC to help out with this? there are professionals in place to do this. He's just running from the debate. he's afraid to face off with obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Darin

    Really....This is one of the more desperate acts I've wtinessed in an election. Tell ya what....Make the debate a "Economic Policy" discussion. An open forum. Just a plain old political move by a wounded candidate.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Morgan

    Oh McCain is good! He realized he has a on the fly debate prep that isn't working so he's using the crisis to move back the debate. That's a good cover Senator. How about you keep the debate and work out the crisis at the same time? You wanna push back the elction too?

    Congress is working hard to put something together and the world does not have to stop to do it. This is a huge problem that really should take a lot of time to fix. People need to stop rushing it and get it wrong. Haste makes waste. We've had 8 years of a president making horrible decisions on the fly. We can't afford more of the same.

    Keep the debate and don't force the solution or "your way or the highway" approach.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Not Today

    Could it possibly have something to do with his level of "preparedness?" Yeah, I'm thinking it does. But, because he's been a p.o.w. he's supposed to already know everything and have every answer for the woes of the country. At least wasn't that the argument of all of the speakers at the RNC...?

    Wait... Now that I think about it, he's made the statement at every campaign stop "...and I know how to fix it..." I guess that I should be glad that McCain is pausing to go back to Washington to fix this for us. Yessss!!!!!

    In all seriousness, please.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. Bruce

    “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.”

    I thought he was against big government that is what he says in the ad he is running in PA. WHile I agree with what he is doing and hope Obama does the same, Mc Can is again changing his position, or so it woudl seem...just like he want dereg and now is for reg..

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. mtc

    way to duck the debate, mccain. instead of debating the issues you tuck them under a blanket of "bi-partisan" solution – even HE knows he was about to get his clock cleaned.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. leslie song

    More phony gimmicks from McCain. Since he had much to do with the mess we are in – writing tons of the deregulation bills, he OUGHT to go try to fix it – but as usual he is grandstanding and trying to turn his duty into a press opportunity and I am sick of the phoniness of it all. Yes, McCain, go do your job, we all have to do our jobs – if we have one – but we don't expect medals for doing them. Frankly, he just does not want to debate right now because he will be skewered by the truth that he has done so much to put us in this terrible mess. But the truth will out no matter what.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Lillie

    an easy way out...McCain isn't ready to debate Sen. Obama! What a shame!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Alan from Athens, GA

    Alright STOP! Collaborate and listen...

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. ednadavid

    We might as well suspend the elections while we are at it – the way the mayoral election was suspended in New York, after the World Trade Center disaster – it may actually lead to Bush being in the White House for another year!! I do not know how many of us Americans can tolerate that – I do not believe that suspending the presidential campaigns will help this situation one way or another and it sure will not make McCain recoup in the polls. We cannot allow this crisis to paralyse due process in this country.

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. michelle

    I want to hear them debate, especially now, if Mccain delay the debate, it just shows him running scare.

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Richard

    Please – How foolish are we supposed to be?

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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