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. Tom

    That headline is a very sad thing to see. It confirms that there is nothing, including the possible financial freezing of a nation and in some respect the world, that will stop these people from thinking only about themselves and their party. And by the way, was I mistaken or did Obama, in his address to the press today, describe a morning conversation with McCain that never took place??? That he just left a message for McCain to call him without even saying about what?? Then went on t.v. and described a conversation that morning that never happened? That would make him an outright liar, yes?

    September 24, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. RapidRay

    The real stunt is how this will effect the debates. Should McCain pull this off ideally, the debate committee would change the dates as requested (don't hold your breath on that one) and the VP debate would be rescheduled.

    FAT CHANCE!!!

    The next step you can expect from McCain is the argument that there will only be 3 debate dates left and they should only have presidential candidates involved, thus making it impossible again for Sarah Palin to be asked questions from ANYONE!!!!

    Obama's stance on all of this....
    ...where's this so called joint statement we've been hearing about all day? Seems like Barak may have pulled the plug on that one quietly after McCain's big ploy was announced.

    September 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. Biff

    "TODAY, WE ARE "ALL" WALL STREET-ERS" .....

    oh.... wait.....

    September 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Steven

    KUKU
    A present vote in the Illinois House is considered a "Yes" vote. You should find out what you are talking about before making stupid comments like you have.

    September 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Paris

    To Wake-up American, you are an idiot.

    They vote present when they don’t want to take a stand or they don’t have the courage to take a stand.

    September 24, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. Tom

    Reid is right about one thing – they definitely need leadership.......which is exactly why McCain needs to go back there. Someone needs to lead. McCain is the only one capable. Unless we want to bring Hillary back into the mess.

    September 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. Scott L

    CONGRESS IN RECESS SEPTEMBER 26

    VOTE ON ECONOMY PACKAGE: 99-0-1

    1 ABSENTEE – BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.

    DUH!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. STMH-Straight Talk My Hinny...

    McCain/Palin go shoot a moose or something, it would be more productive than your current agenda!

    What a grand ole mess McNut is making of this situation.

    September 24, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  9. Leimomi Matunding

    Just goes to show you how McCain flips flops all over the place and not to mention his running mate who continues to hide behind McCainscoat tailes. Who is Palin? Enough is enough when it comes treating someone like Palin who looks like an idiot at the moment for not coming out to the media and tell us what she is like or dislikes on heavy duty issues that effects all of us.

    We want to know. As long she is not going to show herself with the media, what is she going to do when it comes time for VP Debate hide behind a curtain while she debates against Biden?

    September 24, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. C-Lo in Texas, Obama 08

    We see right through you McCain. Sarah Palin was right when she said that she intended to bring transparency to Washington. Who knew that she was talking about you. What a ridiculous political stunt. Only racist and those who are ignorant will fall for this mess.

    September 24, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. Sally from Cali

    McCain how could you let this happen after all you learned in the $500 Billion bailout in 1990? Or did you learn nothing from that scandal?

    September 24, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. Peter (CA)

    How will the McCain camp spin this one?

    September 24, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. AOA

    Only a retard would not see that is what McCain is up to. Let's see demacrats cave it at the stunt and hand John McCain the presidency. We all know this is not about putting country first. It it was, he would stay away from Washington and keep presidential politics out of the equation!

    September 24, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. RM

    McCain proves once again he doesn't understand the economy. He is pushing for a bailout, but can he explain how it will ameliorate the crisis. He’s pushing so that it is implemented by Friday or no debate. The economy is months away from recovering, the crisis will still loom for the next several weeks. McCain will accomplish nothing by participating, and if the bailout is not carefully planned it could make matters infinitely worse. McCain wanted to fire the head of the SEC, and is a proponent of deregulation, now he supports a bailout. Cooler heads must prevail.
    McCain is all about Machiavellian politics. Enough lies. Enough secrecy; the debates must take place.

    September 24, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Apple

    Hey, McCain we know what you up to. Come on we are not that stupid. You had used this game before, don't you remember??? Meanwhile, if you are a real soldier, you should face the challenge rather making excuse. Face Obama on Friday's debate and let Sarah Palin speak. Don't you dare change her date of debate with Biden even he will smash her. Can't wait!!

    September 24, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Gezellig

    A U.S. Senator is 1/100th of one-half of one-third of the govenment. I think they can do without you, Senator McCain. I know I can.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. aware

    Good for Senator McCain! Country first! 🙂

    Obama is just for himself first! 🙁

    September 24, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. georgia

    Will McCain's input be that which he had as part of the KEATING 5 which really set the stage for the current situation. What do you say Mac ?

    September 24, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Chris from STL

    Everyone, step aside. The mavericks are in town to shake things up. The maverick economist and his sidekick pitbull will cleanup this mess. What a sham!

    September 24, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Total nonsense!

    ALL DEMOCRATS are concerned humans who put their country first, before party, or poilitics. They all have concern about the financial crisis and they all support McCain or anyone else acting like a leader and trying to solve this crisis.

    September 24, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Peter

    its the economy stupid! Except when you want to skip a even more important debate

    September 24, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. Susan

    Country first – more like "McCain's election first." Pathetic. I used to kind of like John McCain – not anymore, he makes my skin crawl. I think he's a crook at heart – Keating 5 anyone???

    September 24, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. vobichlan, montreal

    Republicans are a bunch of treacherous people. Watch out for McCain attempting to hijack the bailout negotiations. He isn't be above claiming credit for others' work.

    September 24, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. SAT

    I've read in Illinois that senators can present as a protest vote. That means the senator was there to vote but doesn't agree with the bill. Apparently, many senators there have done the same thing. I used to wonder about the present vote as well. Guess that is how things work in Chicago.

    I don't know why Senator McCain wants to cancel the debates. Since both campaigns have planes, they can fly to DC and vote. That would leave time to debate. Also, the debate topic could be switched to the economy instead of foreign policy.

    As an event planner, I feel bad for the folks in Mississippi. It can be quite costly to cancel a huge event. Yes, the country is in an economic crisis. However, it could cost millions to cancel that event. That is also tax payer money down the drain.

    September 24, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. tara

    what a flake.

    September 24, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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