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. Mike Kaplan

    What a load of bull.

    John McCain likes to just "suspend campaigning" when things are going poorly, for transparently stupid reasons pretending to be noble reasons.

    During the hurricane, they suspended their convention, as if hurricane relief depends on old John McCain handing out canned goods. What a lot of nonsense. The real reason was that they knew their convention would suffer in comparison to the Democrats.

    Now, the economic crisis is their excuse, as if John McCain, who has admitted he knows almost nothing about economics, is crucial to a solution. In fact, it's just because they are again facing a slide in the polls, and this is just a trick to try to change the conversation.

    Pathetic!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Nora Rothwell

    I am shocked that McCain is putting off the debate...this is unbelievable!!! Methinks there is something rotten in the White House!!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Danny in Chicago

    Oh no you don't!

    The debate should go as scheduled! McCain doesn't do ANYTHING except for political reasons. He is seeing that he is going down in the tank, so he doesn't want to have to face this tidal wave. Don't let him off this people!

    TH

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Bryan

    What a coward. He doesn't want to debate because he wants to hedge the recent Obama momentum. Shameful.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Jordan

    I am about tired of everyone making Sarah Palin a serious victim lol there will be more votes on her part because she is a white woman. I think Obama's chances begin to slim why because this country still has a racial problem. It has gotten better however Obama wont get votes due to him being partially black but viewed only as a black man. The whole women issue is really far fetched considering her race.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Bitter in Texas

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh! when you know nothing about the economy and the rest of the Rethugs say this bailout is nothing but Socialism...it's best to "Duck and Run"...find some Rethubg that can give you and idea on how to preach the "Party Line". And to think I was a Republican for almost 30 years....Goldwater to George H...there is Hope for anyone willing to pull their head out of the sand.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. WHY!?

    why Mccain has to cancel his debate between two candidates ? Isn't it also a patriotic act to clarify our confusion sooner as voters get informed directly from the candidate's words than from falsifing ads....

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown

    Sounds like a Rove political ploy to me...

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. dave in RI

    good to see Johnny Mac now understands the economy.
    in the words of bugs bunny "What a maroon."

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. katie in texas

    Too bad it isn't just that he gives up! And too bad that it is really just a political ploy. Oh johhny...

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. BOOTSTOMPER

    Give me a break, McCain has no idea what is going on. Even George Will wrote that McCain has the wrong temperament to be president saying he has a knee jerk reaction for everything. And Palin is just a flat out idiot.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. PRO - REPUBLICAN

    HI

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. David

    This truelly is Silly Seacon_
    First He wants ti fire the wrong person
    Then he copies Obama's Stance
    After claiming the fundamentals are strong
    He wont which he'll vote (neither does Obama) which is smart
    Because You shouldnt say the 1st thing that pops in your head.

    Neither Obama or McCain can do anything about this crisis until they are in the office..Suspending campaign is just a way of trying to break the upward momentum of the Obama/Biden Ticket

    What happaned to John McCain? and i say this in all sincerity. I dont get it! In the most crucial elections since anyone can remember these Games are very discouraging

    Neither Obama of McCain have the Experience to be President-Unless you have been one b/4 You Just Dont!

    This is about Judgement WHO HAS DEMONSTRATED THE RIGHT TYPE OF JUDGEMENT THAT AMERICA & THE WORLD NEEDS RIGHT NOW..

    IT IS ALSO BECOMING MORE & MORE CLEAR THAT TEMPERAMENT IS KEY.
    .WE NEED A PRESIDENT THAT UNITES, INSPIRES, EXAMPLIFIES VALUES & DOES NOT PANDER TO THE WHIM OF A PARTICULAR SET

    AMERICA IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Stew

    John McShame should suspend his campaign for the remainder of the year, but the good thing we don't get to hear anymore of Palin's and John McShame lies!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. RealityKing

    Harry Reid and Obama.., "don't know what to do"

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Joseph

    The very announcement is political...it doesn't mean he can do anything for the economy.. only look like he knows what he's doing.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Chris in Florida

    Call me cynical, but how much of this is putting "Country First" and how much of this is trying to stall the debates?

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Melanie

    I think Obama ought to get some mileage out of McCain's "inability to focus on more than one crisis at a time." I mean, isn't that in the job description? Presidents MUST be able to handle multiple crises - whenever they may occur. So, McCain is already demonstrating his lack of ability.

    Thanks, John.

    The Republican National Convention was NOT canceled during the Hurricane. No Need to Cancel the Debates.
    How uncouth of McCain. Shame on You!

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Bulldog

    This smells just like the Bush administration using the Iraq War to help out domestic politics.

    EXCLUSIVE: Maliki Suggests Bush Pushed To Extend U.S. Presence In Iraq To Help McCain»

    at ThinkProgress.org

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Danny in Chicago

    Oh no you don't!

    The debate should go as scheduled! McCain doesn't do ANYTHING except for political reasons. He is seeing that he is going down in the tank, so he doesn't want to have to face this tidal wave. Don't let him off this people!

    THE DEBATES SHOULD GO AS SCHEDULED!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. bibi

    Typical. Obama came up with the proposal and Mac Cain tries to take credit for it.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Carey

    So, McChicken couldn't wait to issue the statement? He had to play "Politics First". And why post pone the debates? Its only two more days. How about instead of Foreign Policy, we debate the issue at hand. The Economy!!

    You are afraid because the polls have an Obama uptick and your campaign is losing ground big time. What a wimp.

    We can't have McCain as President because it is obvious he can't multi-task. We need real leadership. We have two wars and tanking economy and he was to suspend his campaign. Wow!!

    That's why Barack Obama is ready to lead. TODAY!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. Danny dee Hu

    What a complete joke, just because he is down 9 point in the polls and knows nothing about the economy. He decides to pull a stunt like this. What an old sore loser. Take it from an ex-Chinese national, i know how corrupt government can be.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Ingrid

    I think it is just another stall tactic and a desperate attempt by Senator McCain to keep from falling farther behind in the polls. Would he be doing this if he were up by say 5-6 points? I wonder? Yes, the economy is number issue, but I think he should still debate. He may not be prepared, but it will be good to see how they both perform under pressure and yes mavbe lack of preparation. This may be like the 3 am call? Are they ready!!! Why not discuss on the economy instead of foreign policy? I know we like to here what they each have to say on this pressing issue. IB.....Atanta

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Gamesmanship

    Unbelieveble.

    He is basically telling us that he is unable to multi-task. A key characteristic that any President needs.

    It was Obama's campaign that first contacted him about coming together to issue a joint statement regarding this issue.

    He is unprepared for the debat,e he knows it, and he is using this crisis as a way to back out.

    It's pure gamesmanship.

    I am absolutely stunned that there are any rational human beings out there still planning to vote for him.

    September 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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