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

Capitol Hill reaction to McCain proposal falls along party lines

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. texas4obama

    McCain said the "economy is fundamentally strong"...McPalin is one big disaster!

    September 24, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. Sarah- ARIZONA

    Wow for the first time I agree with Reid on this....

    Obama stayed away from washington so presidential politics dont get involved. obviously mcbush just cares abt himself and is being purely selfish.

    So much for bipartisanship... mcain is a liar

    September 24, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Amy

    For once I agree with Reid.

    McCain/Palin-Not ready to debate, Not ready to lead.

    September 24, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    Exactly mccain pulled this stunt to try and take credit for something he had no part in at all. McCain is a fraud. And now he is trying to make treats?!

    September 24, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. BJGT

    Real leaders don't have the luxury of taking time outs, Senator McCain. They're supposed to be able to deal with a wide array of problems, all at once. Especially when they're President. That's why it's called "the hardest job in the world."

    September 24, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. David


    September 24, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. Wake-up America

    So does McCain think he is so important to the decision making process in Congress that they can’t make a decision without him? I THINK NOT!!! Here is an interesting fact, for the 109th & 110th Congress (Jan. 3, 2005 – Present), guess who is on the top of the list of all Senators with a whopping 411 MISSED VOTES (64%). If you guessed Maverick McCain you are right, Obama has missed 294 (45.8%) 18.2% difference for the same period. (Note the list consists of the most important bills, nominations and resolutions that have come before Congress. The list is based on an analysis of the potential impact of the legislation on policy and politics.)

    Now to be fair to both candidates since they have been campaigning I factored out the votes taken from Jan 2008 to the present. McCain missed 120, Obama missed 100, so adjusting for that leave McCain’s with a 57.4% to Obama’s 35.8%, a 21.6 % difference.

    So I say again Maverick McCain, do you really think you are so important or are you just ducking the issues as have been all along? And then to try and reschedule the VP debate at a later date is a joke. When were you Republicans planning on that one, maybe November 3rd. You can run but you can’t hide. McCain/Palin, get in front of the people or bow out while you still have a shred of dignity left.

    WAKE-UP AMERICA. The only chance for change is Obama/Biden. At least a chance!!

    September 24, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. California

    hey old man go back to your cave liar. this man is a liar thats all i can say

    September 24, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. geen

    gawd...another Moron...this self proclaimed 'economically illiterate' nominee who just a couple of days prior to the fiasco on wall street which led to this current crisis proclaimed the economy 'fundamentally sound' now says he wants to ' suspend' his campaign his 'economic' expertise to the debate...go figure...who the hell does he think he is...a nobel economics laureate? and someone please explain to me the 'rationale', if any, behind the Reupube's mantra...cut taxes, increase defend spend, balance the budget..someone as senile as Reagan in 1980 could propose that and get away with it 'cause every one knew he was nutz...but, even though McGoofy is showing signs of that same senility...and regarding himself as an economics expert which the current debate cannot do without in order to avoid confronting, on friday night, an intellectual of the caliber of Obama–he has a lot of explaining to do as to how he is going to cut taxes with that 700 billion dollar bailout the moron in white house is need to question stuff like this..someone has to pay for these genocidal wars for Oil...!!

    September 24, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Keating 5 Alive!

    Hey, I've got a great idea!

    Why don't we ask the guy whose stalling of regulators caused the last great investment company bailout to go and author a bill for the CURRENT bailout of an investment company caused by removing regulators!

    You've "helped" enough, Johnny 5, we do not need any more of your input.

    September 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Jim

    Considering McCain has been fairly open in admitting he knows little about economics what precisely does he intend to do?

    I don't think the other Senators really have time to start tutoring him so he's simply going to be a distraction.

    September 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Kate Fergus

    It is always about him. It just shows how McCain doesn't really care about the people. He doesn't understand what the people are facing. He is using this for his own personal gains. He is shameless. The republicans and democrats in congress should be able to come to some bipartisan agreement which is what the country needs and deserves. It doesn't take a John McCain to get it done.

    Afraid of a debate on the ecomony?? Hmmmmm. I wonder why!

    September 24, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Wake-up America

    By the way you idiots, there is no such thing as voting Present. Voting is either Yes, No, or Missed Vote. Present is for attendance. Why don’t you Republican’s try to learn something by for you post something so ignorant.

    WAKE-UP AMERICA. The only chance for change is Obama/Biden. At least a chance!!

    September 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Veronica in Denver

    I totally agree, McChicken will try to get the credit ...

    September 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Deb


    September 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Billy

    McCain jumps from one stunt to another.

    This reminds me when I was in college, taking an essay I didn't understand... Just throw everything I have against the wall and see if anything sticks.

    September 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. Gary

    When cramming for an exam but realize you're not ready, you make any excuse so as not to have to take the test . This just show why McCain finished 894th out of 899 at the Naval Academy....

    September 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    It took the Republicans eight years to get us into this mess - you'd think they'd give the Democrats eight days to get us out of it. But of course blame is the name of the game as far as the Republicans are concerned, real solutions are for losers, what this crisis we ignored all summer and now have dumped in your lap isn't over yet? Spin and spin again...

    September 24, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Vincie


    September 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Paris

    Will Harry Reid said he “can’t stand John McCain”, with all that hate I am sure he can’t be objective when he says we don’t need John McCain to be there.

    Did you really expect Reid to say anything different when the golden boy decided to stay and campaign.

    When was the last time Reid or Pelosi did anything to put Country above Party?

    One example, just one example please.

    September 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. kimberly

    This is just another one of McCain's tricks to pull ahead in the polls..Again he thinks the public is stupid..Anyone can see he just wants to try to take credit..
    McCain doesn't care about Country First, it's more McCain first! Obama contacted Mccain to work out a deal, McCain ignored the call, Is this McCain's idea of bipartisanship?? McCain is running from having to give the American public his plan.. HE HASN"T GOT A PLAN!!!

    McCain it's time for you to retire in 1 of your 7 homes...You're a JOKE

    September 24, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Charlotte

    Well, Obama can say he had nothing to do with it. I don't think any thing will be good for the taxpayers. Obama can, once again, show his good judgement by not voting either way. When you don't pull the lever, we can only take ones word for how they may have voted?

    September 24, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. valerie in Iowa

    Three questions:

    1. Will Palin also suspend campaigning, as she is the only one of the four nominees not serving in the U.S. Senate and so extraneous to the bailout negotiation process?

    2. Why is McCain canceling his ads? This is puzzling, as they do not require his presence or time, presumably they are already in the can and paid for.

    3. Is this really all about creating an excuse to postpone the VP debate because Palin is not prepared – to talk to the press, to debate Biden, to serve as VP or God forbid, as President?

    September 24, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. ber6964

    Does anyone else smell a McChicken???

    September 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. NOSS

    IN other words, Stop intruding on Pelosi's and Reid's Show

    September 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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