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. xavier

    Obama do not do it. McCain is not ready to debate you and is using an excuse. Its test time and he is not ready. He has been lying on you about your positions and now wants to play nice guy, HELL TO THE NO!!
    Obama put the nail in the coffin!!

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. J TOMBOW

    ANOTHER ATTEMPT BY THE MC CAIN PEOPLE TO SIDESTEP ANSWERING OR SPEAKING TO THE AMERICA PEOPLE. GUESS WHEN YOU TRY TO TURN ON ADIME YOU TEND TO GET DIZZY. WE WILL NOT BE FOOLED BY HIS GREAT CONCERN TO HELP SOLVE A PROBLEM HIS PARTY NOW IS TRYING TO RUN AND HIDE FROM

    September 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Heather, Cleveland, OH

    The Obama campaign contacted the McCain campaign at 8am today to urge them to get together and issue a joint statement regarding the economic crisis. The McCain camp said, "Yea, we'll get back to you."

    I guess suspending his campaign was McCain's answer to the Obama campaign's suggestion. He's trying to pull the rug right out from under Obama and this is a thinly-veiled attempt to politicize this crisis.

    McCain, you're a sleaze ball!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Karen

    McCain is chickened!!!
    He has nothing to say and is afraid to be defeated! Cheers...

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. angie - F young democrat dallas -28

    YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. steven

    Obama should not stop his campaign because we already have congress and the rest of the senate talking. Plus, we should have the debate because it is important to know what their plans are to solve this ecomony.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. lol

    CLEAR STUNT!!! BUT IT WILL WORK

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. Jeb

    Did the economy eat your homework, John?
    Just do your best at the debate and get it over with. No need to postpone.
    You and Palin are terrified to face Obama and the press.
    Oh, and nice move to push your way into the headlines while pretending to care about Americas wealth.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. SS

    If the McCain-Palin ticket wins because of their stalling, I honestly believe that the US has taken a turn for the worst.
    The GOP is hiding behind this crisis of the economy. Pathetic!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. TINNO

    Is McCain telling us that there will be no debate until election day if congress were to drag his feet finding a solution to this crisis? I don't see what he or Obama for that matter is going to do in D.C. to fix the issue. He did say he doesn't understand much about economy right? Let's stick to the original plan...Let's play ball. McCain don't fake your way around it...We can see through your political game.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Alison

    this is too freakin' convenient...I smell trouble and I don't like it!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. keff

    So much for "joint statement"

    Mccain announced it himself 5 minutes after agreeing, country first, right?

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. I smell a ROVE (rat) - Norfolk, VA

    Something's up. Is the 'crisis' that bad that we need to delay the campaign?!!?

    If the crisis is that bad that we have to do an all stop on the presidential campaign, then I am taking all my money out of the banks and it's going in my mattress.

    Something is up.... I don't trust McCain that is why, delay or not, he will not get my vote in November.

    Fix the mess VOTE DEMOCRAT in November!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. April

    How convenient that McCain wants to set his campaign efforts aside 2 days before the scheduled debate. He was the one that wanted town hall meetings-so what does he do-he shows the American people who support him or are not sure that they can wait to hear his stance on the issues in an impartial forum (town hall meetings would not have been fair or impartial). He wants to cancel the debate because he is simply NOT ready-NOT prepared-Scared actually that since Obama is ahead of him in the polls when it comes to the #1 issue-the economy and ever since he showed his true colors about being out of touch with the everyday American people when it comes to the economy. Also, how convenient that he didn't bother to mention that it was Obama's campaign that called him this morning first. McCain is forced to show his cards-he is not ready to debate-he wants to now all of a sudden LOOK like he cares. He never has and never will. He needs more time to prepare. Why couldn't he suspend the campaign until after the debate. At least get one debate in before doing this. The American people want to hear what both Obama and McCain have to say and where they stand. The problem with the economy is not going to be solved this week.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. KWW

    That is right LOT. I agree with you. Stop This Lying to The American People We are not stupid. Go on with the debate take it like a man.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Eric - La Quinta, Ca

    CHICKEN !!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I am understand why Sen. McCain needs to grandstand at this critical time for the american people. I believe he can campaign as well as listen to his adviser and make a decision. He is hiding from us, Sarah Palin is hiding and I think American will need be fooled by this man. There is no need not to have this debate as we need to see what this candidate have to said, and if he need to make up his mind wheter he is replican any more, he need to do so on his time. He is scared, because he knows nothing, and needs a break from flip flopping.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Glenn

    McCain's action, considering he is totally clueless and ignorant of economics and the national economy, is called both "YELLOW" to debate Obama and a cheap political stunt. What a degrading spectacle he is making of himself and the GOP.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Jay Washington, D.C.

    What a coward. I think the crisis is the new poll numers. But fine. Obama, Buffet and Co. will go to Washington and play along. You can run but you can't hide.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Jay Washington, D.C.

    What a coward. I think the crisis is the new poll numers. But fine. Obama, Buffet and Co. will go to Washington and play along. You can run but you can't hide.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. John B. From New Hampshire

    so obama innitiated the conversations... yet the headline reads mccain suspends campaign... HMMMM

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Jason

    It's time for McCain and Palin to stop hiding.

    Now the excuse is the economy... the bailouts have been signed, the deals are done. The time to stop campaigning was 2 weeks ago.
    This is all smoke and mirrors to try to deflect from the fact that the McPalin ship is sinking quickly and the last thing they need is to be exposed during the first debate.

    It won't work. This is the beginning of the end.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Ashley

    He had 26 Years!!!

    Obama-Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Female Voter

    Why suspend the campaign? Don't like what's going on with it?

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. mike

    What a cynical ploy by the McCain campaign, and another self-serving attempt by McCain to paint himself as a "maverick" who cares nothing for the trappings of electoral politics. What brilliant economic policy is the man who admitted to not knowing much about the economy going to invent in the next two days? I hope the public sees this as the desperate attempt to postpone the debate and grab the headlines that it is, and doesn't confuse shady and sensationalist politicking with leadership and independent thinking.

    September 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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