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. Steve/ Houston,TX

    John McCain does not care about you or me. He will say or do anything he can win this election. It has been his lifetime goal to become president. This is just something he wants to add on his list of accomplishments. People don't be fooled by this guy. It's dangerous to believe that he really has our best interests at heart. He does not even understand the economy. What could he really have offered other than taking up air?

    Vote Smart, Vote Obama

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Oz

    I guess staying in a "posh hotel" and dining at one of Washington's most exclusive restaurants while others discuss the bailout plan is a far cry from "phoning it in." That's not "country first," that's cuisine first!

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Janet Jacme

    Well gee, John, THANKS FOR NOTHING!

    I guess all the posturing and bluster and photo-ops were all for naught, eh? Eh, John?

    Way to go, Maverick. You really saved the day...

    Dork

    September 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. LB

    So I guess Palin will need to suspend the campaign this week and not meet Biden. Did McCain plan this with the Republicans so Sarah wouldn't have to look the fool (again).

    September 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. TexicoFrom Mexico

    This is so much Bull, McCain did nothing in Washington, in fact Obama asked him to present something, anything at the table in front of Dubya.he said nothing! This clown who I am ashamed to say is a fellow Veteran is nothing but an opportunist! His stunt was maked to look like he would save the day..only thing is...it backfired! You Repugs need to wake up and smell the coffee.....are you as ignorant as that white trash palin? Hey why are her kids not in school? No school in Alaska? At least Obama's kids are in school and Michelle is with them most of the time!

    September 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Sanjoy Das, KS

    I do NOT trust McLiar.

    McLiar showed clearly what he means when he says "country first".
    When his campaign tanked, he let the US economy go down with it!

    September 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Well... good job, Senator McCain. I guess you showed them House Repubs a thing or two...

    What a mess... what an idiot. OMG, Senator Obama. Please help us stop the madness!

    September 29, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Evan

    Hey John,
    Way to get a deal accomplished, oh wait you probably helped the Republican house not want to vote. And you are no Teddy R, he would probably be disgraced by you. Politically I mean of course

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. America will be free again

    McCain is the greatest leader of LIARS, even Mike Huk told him that was a big mistake...did anyone notice he didnt announce the resumption of his campaign like he did the suspension...because there wasnt any real suspension. He wanted to pospone the debate so as to cancel Sarah's....It was obvious to everbody what he was trying to do. 2 hrs after he supposed "suspension" Mcacain campaign said the vp debate will be posponed too....that was the original plan..but he was caught in the act...I hope he learn from this and at least stop lying

    GO OBIDEN

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Thanks but no thanks McCain

    DOWN WITH MCCAIN! AND THAT PALIN WOMAN!

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Greg

    well let's see if he "suspends" it again since the bill was shot down.

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Former PUMA

    I remember seeing pictures of him home in one of his many houses the night he supposedly suspended his campaign. It was so importand that he wanted to postpone the debate, fly to D.C., yet he was at home that night???????

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Kim

    IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Basic Science

    "Teddy Roosevelt republican..?"

    It's 2008, Senator McCain!!!

    We now have flying machines; interstate higways; automobiles instead of horses; televisions; mobile teleoh-phones; and the INTERNET!

    September 29, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. alvino

    Way to get involved in the bail out you dimwit. You have no influence in the Republican Party and your photo op to try to convince voters you have the ability to lead just backfired. You should step down.

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. ME

    McCain is a hero. Amercia needs a hero right now.

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. KC

    The Republican's squashed the bill!! Ok McCain just how did you help? Geez he can't even showboat and get it right. Once again poor judgement.

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. PhilT

    Not his style to simply "phone it in."

    No, his style is to "get back to ya!".

    McCain voting record:
    Votes: 420 votes missed (64.5%), 231 votes cast

    Check his abysmal record on supporting veterans.

    Pants on fire!

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Audrey Thompson

    thetaxpayer September 29th, 2008 3:30 pm ET

    Obama just doesn’t get it

    I AM SURE YOU MEANT McCgimmick right? He's the one whose forgetful, angry, replusive, liar etc etc....

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    This man will say anything...bush talk....Fear of the debate and not being able to not look like the liar he is about so many statments he has made is why he wanted to avoid the campaign trail..(debate). His strategy backfired though...he just does not understand...strategy, strategy.... Look forward to the rocket scientist debate on Thursday...hope debate camp is going well.

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Jillian, NY

    I guess he did fly back to Washington, DC. This man can't even use the internet. When he leaves the 20th century, he'll be fine. Until then, my vote goes to Barack Obama.

    Hello?

    September 29, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. ines

    There was no suspension to defend – WE ALL KNOW IT. Does McCain really believe this reality he's pretending exists? What meds would you have to be on to believe him?

    Last week was nothing short of a failed FIASCO for the McCain-Palin campaign.

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Irony

    Suspenging your campaign of lies, so you could lie...

    What do you take the US population for, a bunch of idiots?

    The only thing you suspended was your Letterman appearance!

    If your failed attempt at derailing the debates didn't work, what are you going to try next?

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Michael, watching from Canada

    Why does anyone have to defend their action?

    Because they know they have made a mistake and will try to preempt anyone from highlighting the mistake that was made.

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. less media more issues

    He couldn't have phoned it in because according to reports, he had nothing to say.

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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