September 24th, 2008
03:02 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain to 'suspend campaign,' calls for first debate to be delayed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain is calling for the debate to be suspended."](CNN) - John McCain announced Wednesday he is suspending his campaign on Thursday morning and returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis. He also called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the first faceoff until Congress has completed work on a bailout package.

Watch: McCain's announcement

“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me,” he said in New York.

“I am calling on the President to convene a leadership meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem,” he said.

Obama's campaign said that the Democratic nominee had called McCain at 8:30 Wednesday morning to ask him if he would "join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal." They also said that McCain returned the call at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement, and that the two campaigns are currently "working together on the details."

In his statement, McCain said he was directing his campaign “to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night’s debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

“Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.”

The McCain campaign said the Republican nominee's scheduled appearance on David Letterman's show Wednesday evening had been canceled.

The White House praised McCain's statement. "We welcome Sen. McCain's announcement," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "We are making progress in negotiations on the financial markets rescue legislation, but we have not finished it yet. Bipartisan support from Sens. McCain and Obama would be helpful in driving to a conclusion. The financial market crisis is a big problem that requires a big solution, and solving this in a bipartisan way will help prevent economic damage spreading from Wall Street to all Americans."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (1,284 Responses)
  1. DB - Colorado

    Poor excuse for not being ready.

    Clearly McCain has a difficult time mutli-tasking.

    Thanks goodness being President of US is much easier.

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Bill DeSoto, Texas

    Will someone break the news to John McCain that GB is the president.

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Spencer from VA


    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. Mickie in PA

    ...or maybe he needs to suspend the campaign because hockey puck Sarah wasn't as quick a study as Laura Bush claims. McCain better not suspend it for too long or he will lose all of his memory (except of course as POW).

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  5. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    This is the most political move imaginable. He knows he is sinking in the polls like dead weight and had to do something to shake things up and to SOMEHOW get back on the offensive rather than the defensive. As if the Congress can't move forward without him.

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Lenore

    Wow. This guy will resort to anything to get out of the debate. I don't trust him one bit. This is just another ploy. My question is: What can really be accomplished by Obama and McCain convening with Congress? Get on with the debate!

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Flo


    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Joshua College Station Texas

    Hmm, this late-breaking non-partisanship seems a little fishy.

    It all sounds good, Mr. McCain, but I can't help but think it's all a ploy, like using timeouts at the end of the basketball game to try to provide a few more opportunities to get back in the game. This last week has been a terrible one, and it's obvious you've fallen off your horse.

    (One last metaphor) This is all very much like chess, isn't it?

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. TexicoFrom Mexico

    What a moron! He just lost the election! Basically that is what he is saying! Did you suspend the debates and campaigns in 1932 because we were in a REAL DEPRESSION? Nope! America must move forward constantly and what he just did was cost his party the election not to mention he was scared of the debates.

    Game Over

    Veterans for Obama

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Pramod

    McCain is scared of he is playing politics saying he wants to work on economy.

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Diana

    You punk....

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Tubby The Tuba

    More of the Republicans political posturing. McCain and Obama have only one vote and can send that by proxy if they wanted. McCain is just trying to use this to his advantage. Call it what it is. Pandering!!

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Tony


    McCain is running scared and trying to buy more time to prepare.


    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. independent for Obama

    Aaaaah, McCain strategy at its best..If OBAMA doesnt do as McCain wants, then McCain gets to use that against him..this sure is one way McCain has found a way to try to defeat Obama has got to also be very smart about how to handle this..I for one do not believe McCains intentions are purely for the just a smart way to get out of the debate and make Obama look bad...
    still voting for OBAMA

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. L

    Does he actually think people are stupid enough to fall for this ploy? I think it just further illustrates his lack of understand on the economy and other issues that are effecting this country.

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Levar Patterson

    Something told me that McCain was going to implode once I saw a national poll today that had it Obama-52 McCain-43. The economy is going to dominate the conversation for the week so he knew that his strongest suit National Security wouldn't get much shine this Friday... and the race would've been OVER!.



    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Ken

    Come on! NOW he wants to go work on things?

    I wonder if the polls showing just how much he is falling has anything to do about it hmmm?

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    john is a are just too funny

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. White Couple for Obama!!

    WHAT???? McCain is wanting to buy some time??? Whst kind of PLOY is this??? I am SO SICK of McCain using his POLITICAL agenda to anything that comes across in the NEWS!!!

    Get Real!!! DEBATE!! DEBATE!!! DEBATE!!!

    I was and sure many many others are looking forward to this!!

    September 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. ok

    Now? When you find yourself behind 9 in the polls.

    Sorry bud, your policies have led to this crisis. Too little, too late.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. sue

    What a coward!
    Look what happens when his numbers start to fall...first Palin & now this stunt.
    America will not buy this one-it is way too obvious.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. george

    Are you kidding me?!?!?! I've been looking forward to this Friday debate for WEEKS!

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I hope The Debate Committee refuses Sen McCain's "request". It's just obvious he's trying to buy time for himself – he's no match against Obama when it comes to debates.

    I seriously hope the committee denies his request – I don't know if they have that power, but I hope they do.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Larry, GA

    Impressive! That was a smart political move...kind of like picking Palin as his VP. He is full of game changers. This makes him look like he is leading on this issue and willing to put politics as usual aside. I wouldn't be surprised if the polls change as a result.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. MD

    He has no idea how to solve the crisis, so let's get together with the guy who has taken a thoughtful look at the situation. McCain is such a grandstander. I thought the economy was fundementally strong old guy.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    I just love the way he promotes "his" patriotism.

    Obam /l Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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