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. Rodger

    The only thing McCain can take credit for is causing this problem!

    September 24, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. Time4Change

    I thought Johnny wanted to debate? Just like his taunts for Obama to go overseas....until Obama knocked ot out of the park. Poor Johnny. Still hasn't learned to be careful what he wishes for. Like the little kid on the play ground, he's just going to pick up his marbles and go home (to one of them) driving one of his many cars. Boy, he really is just like the average American guy.

    I'M SO GLAD I LEFT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BEFORE THIS LITTLE TRICK HIT THE STREETS!!!!! (And, no, that was not in reference to Palin.)

    September 24, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Greg, Atlanta

    McCain is unprepared and the entire world knows Palin is unprepared. But, you cannot just call a timeout and change the rules in the middle of the game. If McCain cannot handle a debate during this critical time, how is he going to effectively lead our country? This is yet another political stunt from his campaign and we are all getting sick of this nonsense. VERY UN-PRESIDENTIAL!

    September 24, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. no more Black eyes

    jm...sad sad man

    September 24, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. John from LA

    Now Pres. Bush calls for BO and JMc to attend DC conference tomorrow-so bots and CNN let me ask you now...Does this look bipartisan NOW?????-

    Pelosi, Reid and Dodd-SHUT UP!!!!-you Dems look so foolish now!!!-Why wouldn't these 2 men come to Washington-one of them is going to help clean up the mess!!!-They BOTH need to be there to understand what is going to happen!

    September 24, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. Roger

    Pardon me. If you are on Obama side, you would say these words. If you were on McCain side, you wouldnt say these words. So, you can stop being jealous as this is an very important issue about economy.

    September 24, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. Buck in NC

    That McCain. What a hoot! Better than Fibber Mcgee and Molly!

    September 24, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. Real Talk

    I give up. We all know Mccain has made this a joke. I will vote for Obama and hope that other people see this for what it is. PANDERING. Even CNN wont call out this campaign. Thank god for Cambell Brown. She's the only real journalist left on this channel.

    September 24, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Mack in OH


    I always wondered what kind of idiots can stand to watch CNN. After reading these comments, now I know. With Biden talking about FDR going on TV in 1929 and Obama never knowing which of the "57 states" he's in, who are the clowns?

    September 24, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Canta

    What McCain said "Country First" . He meant it. Why now? I will tell you why. Do you all realize how serious this matter is?

    Let me ask you all what are your retirement funds invested in?

    McCain/Palin 08

    September 24, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. John

    110th congress

    John McCain: 407 votes missed (63.8%), 231 votes cast
    Barack Obama: 290 votes missed (45.5%), 348 votes cast
    Hillary Clinton: 206 votes missed (32.3%), 432 votes cast
    J. Biden: 193 votes missed (30.3%), 445 votes cast

    McCain is a funny one to talk about needing to go back to Washington to do anything.

    September 24, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. clarence

    could obama have asked for a better opponent? this gut seriously does not want to be president. first the ridiculous palin pick, then this. nope. the man does not want to win.

    September 24, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. Never obama

    obama can go back and vote PRESENT.

    Biden has no idea what he should do because the man is a dxxx fool.

    Play it obama, play it. You're going to try to wring everything you can get out of this.

    September 24, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. reenie

    Mccain is stalling. He is not prepared, and Palin is not prepared. Wake up people!!!!

    September 24, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Michelle

    We know McCain has not had anything to do with this bailout....but I do believe that he is setting a Republican political dirty trick on Obama...just like Bush did to MCain in 2000. McCain you can hide Palin from the press, but do you think we Americans are ever going to trust you and Palin to run this country. You are now acting and looking more foolish every day.

    Obama watch your back....I do not trust Bush or McCain.

    September 24, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  16. annie - former democrat

    Winston Churchill: “A politician thinks about the next elections – the statesman thinks about the next generations.”

    Obama is thinking about the next election.

    McCain is thing about the next generation.

    McCain is the statesman.

    September 24, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. Another Former Republican

    I have voted republican my entire life. But this year I am ASHAMED of the Republican Ticket. Barack Obama sounds Presidential everyday. McCain comes up with stupid comments and outrageous lies everyday. And Palin is a disgrace, there is no way she should even be on the ticket. I really don't see how McCain/Palin can get a SINGLE vote. People must be out of their minds to even consider them. I can only hope that there are many, many more Republicans and Independents that can see thru their sham of a campaign.

    September 24, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. Donna from Colorado Springs

    It is a huge political stunt and everybody knows exactly what he is trying to pull. He's down in the polls, people are tired of his bull and his lies, and he wants again to turn attention away from Obama and back to him. Wrong again, John!

    September 24, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. annie - former democrat

    To Lisa P. evidently you are still in high school and not old enough to vote so get out your history book and start reading. This started as early as1984 and was probably ( by alot of view points) thrown over the top when Pres. Clinton deregulated the housing industry. This has been the product of alot of corrupt politicians in both parties. Now you are supporting the biggest crook of all!

    September 24, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. H


    September 24, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  21. Oh Boy!!??

    McEvilKenevil stunts of Politics at work.

    I will jump over a thousand lies to get to the polls. Unfortunately, I will land on a Palin of scam and completely WIPE OUT!

    Hopefully it will be only their backs they break.

    September 24, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. Venkat

    McCain suddenly realizes that he misses Washington and its comfort zone. He suddenly seeks the security of the "do-nothing Washington" that he complains off.

    September 24, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. Palin for President

    Bye Hillary, bye Pumas, Palin will win this election for McCain without your help. No more kissing up to screaming clinton supporters.

    Palin 2012

    September 24, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  24. Susan

    Maybe he wants it canceled. According to a video and some news reported right here on CNN stating that a woman who's bank goes belly up and has FDIC insured CD and the bank takes it was actually run by John McCain's son who two months before the bank went belly up resigned citing "Personal Reasons". Wow, imagine some political bantering regarding John McCain his own infidelity and his own family's
    regard to the American public.

    September 24, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  25. David

    This whole mess is pretty frustrating to most people, I think. I mean, jobs are on the line, businesses, the economy, our retirement plans and so forth, and what does McCain do? He tries to get political points, which is just so bleeding obvious. I can't wait until election day, when I can vote for Obama and help fix this country. Cause man, it is seriously broken. Democrats have become the new fiscal conservatives. Who woulda thought it?

    September 24, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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