September 24th, 2008
05:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Capitol Hill reaction to McCain proposal falls along party lines

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/24/congress.mccain.reaction/art.mccain.media.ap.jpg caption="Reaction to McCain’s statement fell along party lines."](CNN) – Democratic leadership reacted to John McCain’s Wednesday announcement that he wants to return to Capitol Hill to work on the economic bailout plan and postpone the first debate by saying “presidential politics” should stay out of the negotiations.

Democrats on the Hill told CNN’s Jessica Yellin that after days of negotiations, they are close to coming to a consensus. If McCain comes back to Washington in the final stretch, they said they fear the Republican nominee may take credit for the deal.

Related: Democrats call McCain move a "stunt"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said with the economy in turmoil, now is the perfect time for the candidates to discuss the issues on the national stage.

“It would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy,” Reid said in a statement. “If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership, not a campaign photo op.”

After his announcement, McCain called Reid to discuss his plans, and the Senate Majority Leader responded by reading his publicly issued statement. A spokesman for Reid called McCain’s decision “only an attempt to divert attention from his failed campaign."

He also called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who told him that Congress had been making progress on the bill.

The McCain camp blasted Reid's reaction. “While Senator McCain has suspended campaigning in order to return to Washington and lend his assistance to the negotiations now underway on Capitol Hill, Senator Reid has put out a statement informing McCain that his presence would ‘not be helpful,'" said McCain-Palin spokesman Brian Rogers. "In fact, this is quite a reversal from yesterday, when Senator Reid told reporters ‘We need the Republican nominee for president to let us know where he stands and what we should do.’

“Unfortunately, Senator Reid is putting partisan politics ahead of the business of the American people. But there should be no mistake: 24 hours ago Reid and his Democratic colleagues on the Hill couldn't have been more desperate for Senator McCain's help in resolving this crisis. Now they've got it.”

On the Senate floor, Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, called the debate “one of the most important events” and said that is has to go on to give voters the opportunity to measure the candidates. Durbin criticized McCain for saying the fundamentals of the economy were “strong,” but then dropping everything to work on negotiations a week later. He said McCain is coming back to Washington for politically-motivated reasons.

“With polls showing his campaign is at its weakest, Senator McCain's decision may have less to do with the drop in the Dow Jones average and more to do with a decline in the Gallup poll,” Durbin said in a statement.

House Minority Leader John Boehner praised McCain’s decision to head back to Washington and suspend his campaign, saying they all “must work together to find a solution.”

“I strongly support Sen. McCain’s proposal for a bipartisan leadership meeting of both Houses of Congress, including Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama,” the Republican congressman said in a statement. “Given that it is only a few months before a new President takes the oath of office, it is vital that the next President play an active role in crafting this critical plan.”

House Republican Whip Roy Blunt also sided with McCain, calling the Republican nominee a “guy who would rather be part of the solution than runaway from the fight.”

“Given the ramifications of what our nation is facing, it is incumbent on members of both parties to come together and find a bipartisan solution for the good of the country,” Blunt said in a statement. “I hope our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join us in this serious effort.”

But House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer said McCain “sounds like a man in a 100 yard race who is 50 yards out, 25 yards behind and wants to suspend the race.”


Filed under: Congress • John McCain
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Rob

    no bailout- and please the only credit you can give Mc Cain is his credit card

    September 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. the other jd

    Actually don't see what the problem is. There are two McCains. The deregulator and the populist. Let the deregulator go to DC and clean up the mess he made, and let the populist go to the debate.

    September 24, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Test

    Exactly! Since this is purely a political move.

    What do Senators and Congressman in DC need McCain for during the 90 minute debate at 9pm on Friday?

    September 24, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Obama is the REAL Change

    This is the REAL reason why McCain wants to cancel the DEBATE with Obama on FRIDAY. It has nothing to do with HIM needed inn Washington or his fake concern about the people who will suffer from the economy crisis.………….He wants Obama to DEBATE with him on the VP Debate NIGHT………HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN…HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN……..HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN…..…HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN………..HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN….…HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN……….HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN…HE IS TRYING TO BLOCK PALIN DEBATE WITH BIDEN…………………..

    September 24, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. inuk of the north

    If Chris Dodd has been the chairman of the Banking Committee for two years why wasn't this financial meltdown on his radar screen?

    And now he's supposedly part of the solution?

    Chris Dodd – where were you when we needed you?

    Pelosi – same question.

    Reid – you too.

    September 24, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    The intellectually bankrupt Republican party will do anything to distract the nation from the fact that a vote for McBush is 4 more years of the same failed policies of the last 8 years!

    September 24, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Watching Closely

    Not just a stunt, it's a McStunt!

    September 24, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. mark

    Mccain Suspends Campaign and he wants to delay the DEBATE because he is OVERWORKED and in PANIC.
    He cannot handle two different situationS...mccain = WEAK.

    OBAMA -08- BIDEN

    September 24, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. A. Bellak

    It's simply a political stunt.

    September 24, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. bridgette

    These politicians are to divided. I know privately they are saying this guy is nuts. I am just sickened by this.

    September 24, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. McCain can care less about women

    John McCain is out there all alone and looks like a small, small old man.

    September 24, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. Morningstar

    Whenever a politician says:"let put politics aside" this is the time when politics dominate!

    September 24, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. nick

    THIS IS A RIDICULOUS STUNT

    September 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Harold from Canada

    Only one word for McCain – CHICKEN

    September 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. mike from CA

    Just like McCain to all of a sudden support a measure when it is seen as important to him.

    September 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Ex-Republican for Obama

    McCain is UNABLE to multi-task. He wasn't there the day it happened, hasn't been for a while. If he meant it as sincere, he would have been there SATURDAY....now he is going to go and hold up the process, thinking he can add ANY intelligence to the conversation with his utter lack of ability to walk and chew gum at the same time?

    McCain, you are a dispicable little thing that deserves to be in a home, a retirement home.

    September 24, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Ty, OKC

    What a COWARD!!!! No way to spin this! Wow! what a COWARD Maccain is!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08, 12!!

    September 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. Brian

    We don't need democracy.....
    Suspend the election indefinitely....
    Make Bush a KING!

    September 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Barney

    He's just trying to get the VP debates rescheduled. Any of you that think otherwise are idiots.

    September 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Dan, TX

    There are 98 Senators, the ones invovled in the negotiations. Is McCain saying his Republican colleagues aren't competent to do this so he needs to swoop in to save the day? HA!

    September 24, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Mom for Obama

    I can just see the McCain "squad" sitting around trying to find a way to turn this crisis into a political game changer for them. Sleezy and no surprise to me that McCain pulled this stunt. McCain First.

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    They don't need McCains snipit comments and political flip-flop to push more of Bush down our throats. John stay on the campaign so America can see the true turncoat that you are.

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. S. Boatman

    Mccain Wants To Show Up At The End Of The Negotiations So He Can Take The Credit For It! Then He Will Proclaim. . . . Look I Solved The Crisis!

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Tina

    The Debates should go on as scheduled. I think that MCCAIN and PALIN are scared and it is showing there weakness. Why all of a sudden do they want to stop NOW? I am a strong supporter of Obama/Biden.

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Alice

    Grrrr . . . McCain's stunt is causing Congerss to take partisan sides when that is the last thing we need.

    Come on, John. Announce your position, prepare for your debate and let the Banking Committee do its job.

    Your just making things harder for regular folks like me.

    September 24, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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