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. Jesus Praising & Freedom Loving Patriot

    WHAT'S A MATTER? Can't handle MULTIPLE CRISES?

    That makes for a great president eh?

    September 24, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Sally

    McCain,
    You said you don't know anything about the economy. Please stay away from this and let the real people work on it. You'll just screw it up !

    September 24, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. JAX, Florida

    Lou Dobbs
    Why is this guy allowed to pretend and present him self to the CNN audience that he is an indipendent when he is really closet Republican. Very evident in his daily opinions. Alsways attacking the Democratic party and Sen. Obama.
    Who does he think he is fooling!

    September 24, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. IndependentTogether

    McCain who has admitted that the economy is something in which he is no well informed will only get in the way of finding real solutions. He needs to stay on the campaign trail and debate so that America can become more familiar with just how clueless he is. And of course, that's why he's trying to dodge the debates...

    September 24, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Can America trust President Bush and Repubs after the propaganda they drummed up to start the Iraq War?

    The urgency the GOP and FED are squawking sounds a lot like the DOOMSDAY of the changing of the millennium

    September 24, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  6. DON OF CALI

    THE SKY IS FALLING !!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Just a Mom

    The McCain camp is trying to pull a gimmicky stunt. There is no sense to McCain's proposal.

    September 24, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. maddie

    They should absolutely discuss these issues on the national stage! Let the entire nation hear what they both have to say. Why is McCain so reluctant?

    September 24, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. victor,nj

    SPARE ME THE THE GIMMICK. HE IS NOT EVEN ON THE COMMITTEE. LAST TIME I CHECKED COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ARE ADVANCED TODAY. A TELEPHONE ANE TELECONFERENCE WOULD SUFFICE. THE AMERICAN VOTERS NEED THE DEBATE TO DECIDE WHO TO VOTE FOR.

    September 24, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Noemi in Los Angeles

    McCain: Photo Op first, Country Second.

    September 24, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. jim hawkins

    Your crazy mccain..What the hell are you going to do ? You haven't
    voted in congress since April..Why now ? GOP Politics of course.
    You are not a hero in my eyes.You are a phony...Please retire and
    give us a break from your lies.

    September 24, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Vets Daughter

    What disingenuous liars the republicans are.

    September 24, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. Tom in Delaware

    Sounds to me like Harry Reid wants to be the come-from-behind "Flip-Flop" Player of the Week....you go Dogg!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. CM

    McCain hasn't exactly been doing much to help solve this crisis so what can we expect him to do now?

    September 24, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. KUKU

    O--–P
    B--–R
    A--–E
    M---S
    A--–E
    ----N
    ----T

    September 24, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. Sue in MI

    This is not about the bailout, this is about McCain's falling poll numbers. He could care less about Main Street except when it's time to vote. Does anybody really believe there can be any TAX CUTS in the next 10 years? If so, the Republicans want to finance a bridge in Alaska, I heard.

    September 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. Paul

    A good leader knows that sometimes, you need to step back and let others handle the situation because your presence would only complicate matters. There are 533 other highly qualified senators and congressmen that can handle the bailout deal. They know where both McCain and Obama stand and will ensure their viewpoints are rolled into the final deal. Bottom line, there's no need for them to go to Washington.
    We need to get on with the process of electing a new president. I suspect that pausing the campaign is a political ploy to bolster Senator McCain's image on the economy, give Governor Palin more time to prep for the VP debate and decrease the opportunity for Americans to hear each candidates stance in a debate format. Let's get on with it already.

    September 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Sue in MI

    I also heard the Obama called McCain this morning and wanted to work out a plan, but McCain instead made it about HIM and did the "suspend my campaign" trick. Nice work, McRove.

    September 24, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. Renee- Florida

    We're not going to fall for your latest ploy, McCain....

    September 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. rightsaid

    What a fool McCain is!

    7 days ago the fundamentals of the economy are strong. He admits he doesn't know much about the economy. Now he gives up his campaign so that he can run to Washington to share his great insights. This crisis has been brewing and he rashly acts like he is surprised. This gives one a sense of what a McCain presidency might have looked like.

    Thank goodness he has thrown in the towel.

    September 24, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. KS

    The 'HERO' is turning himself to a 'ZERO' when the greatest ever crisis is surfacing in the face of America.

    McCAIN should go to the debate and spell in his own words to the American public what is his stand in the situation and how he envision the solution that will help and protect the tax-payers and challenge(?) his opponent OBAMA.

    Instead, he makes headlines to shadow the message that he is going DOWN in the polls and trying to gain BIG from the trouble which was created by the POOR management by their party who supported and talked about the WAR all the time and not paying any attention to the local problems which is affecting the Citizens directly.

    They understood the gravity of the situation very well and trying hard to SPIN to score.

    WAKE UP AMERICA. Nov 4th is not too far.

    September 24, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. Girija Nepal

    NASTYYYYY

    DIRTYYY

    VAGUEEEE

    FULL OF ITTTTTT

    EMPTY VESSELS SOUNDS MOREEE

    – I am ASHAMED of Replblicans and their FEAR of loosing, they have now decided to take shelter inside the Capitol Hill to make it look as if – McCain Resolved crisis… in fact… HE DOESNT even know how many houses or foreign cars he ownsss… SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE…SHAME SHAME SHAMEEEEEEE

    This is Worst of EVER I have seen in the WHOLE WORLDDDD… Thats why Leaders rather respecting you, call you GORGEOUS… and you take that as compliment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PATHETIC LOOSERS….how will you show your face straight and talk to people!!!!..Jeeeezzzzz….

    September 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. wiser

    Senator McCain was a fighter pilot who is willing to fight for Americans. Senator Obama was a professor who is willing to pontificate and ponder for Americans. Senator Obama should stay in his ivory tower in Chicago.

    We need someone who will do more than vote present 130 times!

    Democrats for leadership and McCain!

    September 24, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    In good times or bad times, you cannot suspend your campaign. Like Moulin Rouge, "The SHow MUST go On".

    September 24, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. skyler

    I want a President who can multitask.

    September 24, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
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