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. scott

    LET THE DEBATES BEGIN.......

    September 24, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Barbara Hernandez

    This certainly smells of a major political stunt to me coming from someone who not that long ago mentioned that his knowledge of economic issues needed improvement. McCain has been in Washington how many years????????? PLEASE!!!! Is the debate being postponed because this will allow more preparation for debating on the part of McCain and more likely Palin. I do believe our President will need to be able to deal with more than one major issue at a time.

    Hello????

    September 24, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Lois in CA

    Well, no duh. Like the Republicans want the old guy, McVain, up against Obama.

    September 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Daniel va

    McCain gimmick even the same with Palin....

    September 24, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Obama: "I think that it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once."

    And if someone cannot multitask, then that person has no business being President of the United States.

    Let me make sure I understand. McCrypt has been in Congress for 26 years and in the power party for 6 of the last 8 years, and now you need to rush back to D.C. and cannot afford to give up one night?

    Of course, it is very telling when a candidate shows that he can only handle one issue at a time.

    Memo to McCrypt: There are no “rest stops” or “time outs” in life, especially in the life of the President of the United States!.

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

    Mccain Is A Greasy Weasel! He Will Go Back To The Hill, Take Credit For Everything, And Try To Make Obama Look Bad At The Same Time! Mccain Is In Full Panick Mode!

    September 24, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Jonas

    This is OUR democracy! Both candidates owe us this debate! We are only asking for only a few hours of their time on Friday night. A few hours between campaign events and fundraisers. Refusing the American people an honest debate and access to the candidates is UNAMERICAN.

    Furthermore, this is not a one or the other choice. Sen. McCain can go to Washington (though his presence is NOT needed there to solve this crisis), continue campaigning AND still go to the debate Friday night. The American people should DEMAND no less.

    September 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Rebecca

    McSame is a joke. I'm losing what little respect I had for him with this latest photo op stunt. I understand why he's scared to debate Obama, but the American people deserve hear from the candidates that will soon be leading this country, and dealing with this mess.

    September 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  9. S. Boatman

    A PRESIDENT MUST BE ABLE TO MULTI TASK!

    September 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Ron

    Nice try McLame. Every body sees through your cheap political grand standing shallow stunt. oh except Wolf Blitzer. He calls your shell game a 'bombshell' LOL.

    September 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. sandra

    This is definitely a McCain stunt. Did he make this decision on his own? Does he think all of the American people are stupid? You can fool some of the people some of the time, but the more you speak the less victims you have. This definitely looks like McCain is running scared. He admitted early on in the campaign that he did not know much about economics and it is becoming more and more apparent. When the candidate goes to the White House, he will have to multitask. Who do you want to answer your red phone???????

    September 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. Lance Haun

    Yeah, we wouldn't want the future president of this country involved in the bailout deal. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!

    September 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. S. Boatman

    THIS IS THE BIGGEST POLITICAL STUNT SO FAR THIS YEAR!

    September 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Jonas

    This is OUR democracy! Both candidates owe us this debate! We are only asking for only a few hours of their time between campaign events and fundraisers. Refusing the American people an honest debate and access to the candidates is UNAMERICAN!!!!!

    Furthermore, this is not a one or the other choice. Sen. McCain can go to Washington (though his presence is NOT needed there to solve this crisis), continue campaigning AND still go to the debate Friday night. The American people should DEMAND no less.

    p.s. if you have time to go on Letterman tonight you have time for what might be the most watched and most important Presidential debate in our history

    September 24, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. TexicoFrom Mexico

    This is a stunt pure and simple...even an 3rd grader or Vote08 knows that......or I hope they do.

    More spin and lies from the McCsame camp. The poster on here who goes by the handle of Vote08 is a conservative blogger who has time and again refused to debate the issues. He calls Obama an empty suit with no ideas. That all he has done is written two books. Well I got news for Vote08, I will gladly debate you but you keep running and hiding behind the lies that you consume yourself with. Do you really think that Obama and McCain would not be a distraction in Washington right now? One big photo OP? Come on, I want my President to be smart and be able to mulit task in this day and age…oh wait thats something neither McCain nor you know how to do very well!

    All this talk about Suspending this campaign is because he is down in the polls taking a time out…trying to regroup. He knows he will get slammed in these debates…wake up America!

    Veterans for Obama

    September 24, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. KC

    Please anyone saying that McCain and Obama should be in Washington to "help" with this issue, just plain does not know how congress works. You see there is a committe that is working and debating the legislation, once it is agreed upon then they present it to congress for a vote. McCain and Obama are not on the committe!!! So they will be NO HELP at this point in time. This is a shamefull ploy on McCain's part. Don't fall in line like zombies learn the facts.

    This coming from a once McCain supporter.

    September 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. S. Boatman

    You Are Not Looking Very Presidential Right Now Mccain! You Could Have Done Something Days Ago Instead Of Waiting And Then Trying To Postpone The Debates! In Glad The Debates Will Go On Whether You Want Them To Or Not!

    September 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. sandra

    I SMELL A RAT. BRING ON THE DEBATE.

    September 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    The BS Express bails out! Re-routes to DC!

    Someone hasn't done his homework.

    We need real leadership and a NATIONAL debate on this.

    Friday's debate should proceed.

    September 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Don't Think So

    RIDICULOUS!!! This bailout stinks to high heaven with just as much corruption and fear that it took to break our economy and now we have to suspend the campaigns because Johnny's wall street guys gave him a call to help out?? HECK NO!

    Thanks for responding to your Wall Street pals and shunning the American people again John. Seems all you do lately is bitc$ about the media and keep Palin away from anything that might show how inexperienced and unintelligent she actually is.

    Obama wins. This election is over.

    September 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. 1LT. Ron

    Shame that it had to come to this. I wish he was a stronger man than this. Regardless of me supporting Obama this time around, Mccan is still a "brother in arms" to me and I hate to see him go out like a "coward".
    Come on Mccain! Don't just give it away! Make Obama fight for it! Its more sporting....

    September 24, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Betty

    Oh! McCain is going back to inspire more partianship? McCain really does think the American people are stupid, if he thinks we are buying this crap along with his exposed lies that he keeps telling.

    September 24, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. nelda

    McCain is NOT in charge! He is running scared because his "dealings" and his advisors' "dealings" are coming out of the closet.

    Think about this? McCain NOW wants to go to Washington AFTER 10 days since the criisis broke out. Since then, there has been numerous talks, and meetings. McCain wants to go to Washington for 1-2 days and then HE WANTS TO TAKE THE CREDIT !

    He has done NOTHING but grunting, pointing blame at others, and threatens to "fire" people. He is an over-size teenager.

    He wants a "time out" because he's not ready for the debate!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  24. Ron

    If the old dude can;t multitask he shouldnt be running for president..should retire.

    September 24, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Jesus Praising & Freedom Loving Patriot

    WHAT A BIG SUPRISE!

    September 24, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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