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. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Given how the House GOP has killed the bailout plan maybe McCain should withdraw all together instead of just suspending his campaign!!!

    September 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Annie

    And McCain returning to Washington yielded what exactly? Seriously – someone needs to explain this to me.

    The bailout has failed in the house and while I may be totally on the fence about this personally – McCain stated he was for it. It is clear however that he is unable to rally those in his own party behind something he supports.

    As President – how could any of us have any confidence that this man can garner the support of his own party – and of democrats on anything he wants to do?

    The whole situation is a farce.

    September 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. David

    Whatever you need to tell yourself McCain, to bad your campaign suspension will likely result in the suspension of American prosperity.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    He gambled and he lost, not only with suspending his campaign, but with choosing clueless airhead Palin as his VP.

    John McCain, the “real maverick” American doesn’t need!

    My name is Xavier and I approve this message.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Brock Landers

    I WILL NOT VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO CANNOT MULTI-TASK.
    MCCAIN IS STUCK IN THE PAST. IN FACT, HE IS THE PAST.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    he still has his $150 million though...

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Sherri

    John youre an idiot!! I hope Indiana turns blue this year.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Mccain is a liar September 29th, 2008 3:29 pm ET

    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
    -----------

    He thinks the American people are extremely stupid.

    He is right.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Annette

    But McCain, you did nothing...you found your way to the phone over the weekend? folks no that this was a political gimmick, this is not about country first, and your campaign was never suspended??? ads were still running...campaign offices were still open? So what kind of suspension was that? McCain you are the king of drama, and your actions over the last week, shows your dangerous impusive behavior, your disrepect at the debates, was childish....No McCain/Palin.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    mccain you are what the old timers used to call "wishie washie", you tend to LIE about everything, you put our country in more jeporady every time you open your mouth, you and your so called running mate are a disgrace to America. i think you can understand this, but in case you don't, we are sick of the both of you.

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Susan

    John McCain did NOT suspend his campaign for one minute - enough said!

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    What is wrong with the republican party? Have they dismissed the sitting president and vice president and the citizens of the United States of America? CNN, when is the president going to do another press conference?

    September 29, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Craig- Easton, PA

    Thank God you came back and and got everyone behind this rescue bill... Oops, guess it didn't work. Hey House Republicans, can you say Herbert Hoover?

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Phil, Ashburn, VA

    Day by day.. McCain is showing how despereate he is and he will do anything to get elected. Stop lying. You did not do anything for the bill. Bill just failed and what did you do??? McShame and Failin.

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Tim

    If McCain is a "Teddy Roosevelt" republican, does that mean he supports national health care like the "bull moose" did back in 1912?

    Must not have been a history major.

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Liz in Huntington Beach, CA

    Ever notice how disengaged people look at McCain events compared to those at Obama's? What does that tell you?

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. ohio

    mccain is dumb now questions asked

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Steve

    McCain is defending a non-event. He claimed to have suspended his campaign, but in reality, he didn't. The ads kept running. His surrogates kept talking, and he, himself, went to talk to Katie Couric (a conversation which was mostly about his campaign), then give a speech. McCain doesn't need to defend suspending his campaign. He needs to defend why he did what he did. He's in a box. If he claims he DID suspend his campaign, he's lying. If he says he didn't know things kept going, even though he'd told his team to stop, it shows he doesn't know what's going on in his campaign team. Neither situation is a good one for John, especially when you add the fact that nothing he's done has contributed to the negotiations for a bailout.

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. 08 for Obama

    Hey 35 southbound, why don't we call them Bushtowns instead of hoovervilles?

    September 29, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Gladys,

    I am sorry but i do not trust this man one bit. He is so full of it and acting like he really care for the American people. Now he acts like he is against the present administration but have a lot the people that work for Bush. Mccain wants to be the president at all cost. Mr. Mccain be careful for what you wish for.

    September 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Veteran in Kansas

    McCain does not even understand that the great "deregulator" has a lot of responsibility in the crisis we find ourselves in today.

    September 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. daffy

    waddle waddle quack quack

    September 29, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Frank,MO

    What a bull .. McCain played Drama Queen and did not even return to the Hill after the debate – he said he could do everthing over the phone. Does he think the voters are stupid ?

    September 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Jim LInsey

    Who is kidding who here...McCain is not even on the committee overseeing the bailout of Wallstreet. I am sure both Presidential candidates made a lot of calls over the weekend. Just shows you the strong "right wing" effect in the US. They certainly won't loose their jobs! Too bad...but come Nov 4th...it will be time for paybacks!

    September 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Wes

    Another thought since McCain mentions the Great Depression. Which party was in power in 1929? The parallels of wanton greed and excess under a republican administration are more than coincidental. What party got the country out of the Depression? If you don't know the answer, google it.

    September 29, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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