September 29th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain defends campaign suspension

Sen. John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign Monday.
Sen. John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign Monday.

(CNN) – John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign last week to be on hand as Congress hammered out the details of the financial bailout plan that failed in a House vote Monday afternoon, telling an Ohio crowd that he left the campaign trail because he did not want to “simply phone it in.”

“I know that many of you have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.’ I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I believe our leaders belong ‘in the arena’ when our country faces a challenge,” said the Republican nominee. “I’ve never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I’m not going to stop now."

Over the weekend, both McCain and major supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham used similar language in describing the reason for his choice. “John didn’t phone this one in,” Graham told Fox News. “You can’t phone something like this in. Thank God John came back.”

Democrats responded by pointing to comments from top McCain advisor Mark Salter, who said that McCain had decided to spend his time at home or at his campaign headquarters instead of visiting Capitol Hill during marathon negotiations over the bailout bill over the weekend because “he’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can. …He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone,” said Salter.

McCain also told the crowd Monday that he “went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington," and that that Barack Obama had been “watching from the sidelines” as the country faces a growing financial crisis.

“At first he didn’t want to get involved. Then he was ‘monitoring the situation,’” said the Arizona senator. “And watching from the sidelines is exactly what got us into this mess. It was the lack of accountability and oversight that put your working families tax dollars on the line,” he said, repeating his charge that Obama had supported tax increases on the middle class.

“A vote for Barack Obama will leave this country at risk during one of the most severe challenges to America’s economy since the Great Depression. You see, when it comes to growing the economy and protecting you from the corruption of Wall Street and Washington, Senator Obama just doesn’t get it.”

The Obama campaign responded with another statement that again made an issue of McCain’s demeanor. "Senator McCain’s angry diatribe today won’t make up for his erratic response to the greatest financial crisis of our time. John McCain knows that the budget he's talking about didn’t end up raising taxes on a single American,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.


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soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. mark from NY

    i don't trust mccain anymore

    September 29, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Abby

    The spirit of cooperation left the room when you got there, John! Its your fault. Stop the me me me!!!

    September 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. 35 Southbound

    Anyone else getting ready to build their Hooverville?

    September 29, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. California Gold

    McCain is so full of himself.

    He is also full of it.

    September 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Joeker

    McCain suspended his campaign??? When???

    September 29, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. NY loves Obama

    Oh, I see. Is that why you did not return to Washington after the debate and posed for a photo-op of you phoning in? Keep lying, McGimmick.

    September 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Let's face it....the suspension was a political gimmick....and one that failed on every level. Where's the bailout legislation he vowed to hammer out? Dead – killed by his own party. He couldn't even deliver his OWN party, let alone reach across the aisle.

    September 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Greg, NY

    First of all, he didn't really suspend anything. He was still running ads, he still had all of his offices open, he was still receiving donations.

    Second of all, he wasn't able to rally the Republicans to vote yes on the bill, so his 'suspension' actually failed.

    September 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Amy

    As if we believe one word out of the mouths of the Republican spin team!
    We know why he suspended his campaign-it was pandering at it's worst!

    No more drama. No more pandering. No more lies. No more McCain!

    September 29, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. USA

    --mcbush u hate america and americans.......

    September 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Micheal shoemac

    It was a political gimmick

    September 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Mccain is a liar

    He just sat there with a half smile on his face and did nothing, he said practically NOTHING, it was one big photo op, how stupid does he think we are?

    September 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Concerned Voter

    Whatever McNugget, you know this was a bone-head move so just eat crow!!!!

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

    At work, I am forced to multi-task and I'm told, the best multi-task. Bottomline, remember Moulin Rouge' the show must go on'... it doesnt matter who dropped dead and what is spinning around,,, you've got an audience and the 'show must go on'...

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

    Actions speak louder than words McCain. Your not "that kind of guy" but your actions say you are. You are the guy who wants to "reach across the aisle"...even though that was Baracks thing for months before we even heard from you and even though you couldnt even bare to look at Obama during the debate. Actions speak louder than words McCain. you are "Mr. Foreign policy" but you cant even remember what countries still exist and what ones dont....or if Spain is our friend.....saying so doesnt make it so John.

    September 29, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. thetaxpayer

    Obama just doesn’t get it

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. mk

    Please explain why McCain had to suspend his campaign to fly to DC for less than 24 hours?
    Please explain why McCain had to toss out the "I may not debate" for a trip to DC that lasted less than 24 hours.
    Please explain why McCain's all important visit did nothing?
    Please explain how this man can stand up in front of the American people with a straight face and pretend he gives a S*** about anybody or anything except winning the presidency.
    He is a farce. His party and their president have destroyed the economy, and our standing in the world. Now they have the nerve to try to blame someone else for 6 plus years of failed Bush policies?
    If people aren't outraged by this then we are truly doomed.

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. John in Ohio

    “I know that many of you have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.’

    Except that he is.

    John McCain: 407 votes missed (63.8%), 231 votes cast
    Barack Obama: 290 votes missed (45.5%), 348 votes cast
    Hillary Clinton: 206 votes missed (32.3%), 432 votes cast
    J. Biden: 193 votes missed (30.3%), 445 votes cast

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Obama all the way....

    Yeah John, obviously riding in on your white horse did the trick-YOUR MORON REBUPS VOTED THE BILL DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Idiot.

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. faye, NV

    McCain you been in the arena how many years and still voted with Bush over 90% of the time. Therefore, going to Washington did no good on his part.

    No when you can tell if McCain is lying, whenever he opens his mouth.

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. jim

    He is an idiot

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    A lot of good your suspension did to help the bill! So glad you were there and couldn't even YOUR OWN PARTY TO VOTE FOR THIS THING!

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Donna

    YAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. proud army and navy mom

    I think the Repugs are doing this crap on purpose. I don't like the bailout, but I would like the alternatives even less.

    I think the repugs know that they are going to lose the elections for the Senate, House and presidency, and they just don't care if the economy goes to hell or not. They are cutting off their nose to spite there faces and it is not pretty or amusing. They are despicable.

    September 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Mike in Columbus

    The Spin Artists release their latest hit!

    September 29, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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