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. Wayne

    Obama campaign called the McCain campaign to issue a joint statement at 8am this morning.

    This afternoon. The McCain campaign issued a PUBLIC statement calling for the two candidates to come together.


    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Herman In LA

    That’s because McCain is too old and can not multitask by doing more than one thing at a time the debates should go on. We the American people need to know where these candidates stand and this is nothing more than a ploy by the republican to slow the progress of the Obama campaign.

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

    In fact, considering how bad McCain's campaign is going, I see suspending it as his best chance to stop the bleeding.

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

    Oh, I know he is NOT serious!! Down in the polls, John?? Looking for a political move to deal yourself back in to the race?? OH BROTHER!

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

    Had to be done I hope Obama follows suit it would be a mistake if he attacks this.

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

    McSame is getting cold feet about Friday? This is rich, considering the voting record McCain has, much of which supported this very predicament.

    While I agree that it's a great idea for all four candidates to turn their attentions to a growing crisis, postponing the debate is laughable. McCain just doesn't want to have to actually answer for himself.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. karen raleigh

    Running scared–not too surprising–he really doesnt have anything to say and Obama will make him look totally unpresidential–not the least bit surprised. Obama/Biden

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Mad Aussie

    Its not as simple as that McSame. Bush knows as much about the economy as McCain and he expects to sort out something that the experts are struggling to understand over a cup of tea. The best thing is to let the process work out the best solution for the crisis where all the experts and congress are arguing it out. By creating this into a political farce, Obama will be forced to come in and every one will waste their time trying to explaining economics 101 to Bush and McSame.

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

    What a political move for McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Hoosier Obama Man I do not even know what to say. This guy will do ANYTHING to get elected.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Stewart in Charlotte

    Political gimmeckery on the part of McCain and his campaign. They looked at polls today and knew he was tanking. This gives him a chance to look bipartisan...just another scam to influence the American public.

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

    OMG this is a very strange thing to do and I think McCain just wants to look in charge of something he knows nothing about. DO NOT delay the debates you old baby! You can fly down to Oxford MS for a few hours and then go back to prentending you understand the economic crisis.

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

    Obama just won

    America hates a quiter

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

    I don't trust this man, something is up...

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

    John, everything you do is to try to get elected.

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

    While I am sure there will be some that view this as a sign of leadership...I beg to differ. I think he needs a reason to avoid that debate: because he knows he will get clobbered by Obama and is unprepared to take him on! It doesn't matter anyway, I already know I'm voting for Obama!
    Obama-Biden 08

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

    I would hope that this is honestly his goal and it is not to further his campain. If it is the truth then i would hope Senator Obama would do the same. It sure would be nice to not have to hear about them for a couple of days!!!

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

    He is so wack.

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Idiot McCain

    So that's why he cancelled Bono. Because the photo opt would not have looked good at this time.

    McCain is a chump and he needs to have the presidential debate. There isn't one think he can do in Washington.

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

    No John the show must go on!

    This is not a dress rehearsal for the community play. The presidency is serious and a debate on who will lead us is crucial. I understand you are losing and want to change the direction of the race, but this will not and should not work.

    You can't debate and vote on the issue? Publicly state where you are along with Obama and get to the debate.

    This is a cowards move.

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

    After listening to the last 2 days of hearings on this topic, I'm scared of what these completely clueless congressmen on both sides of the aisle are going to do to us in the next few years.

    It also incenses me to no end that so many taxpayers have no clue how bad things are going to get if this bailout isn't approved. I suppose none of them will need any credit in the next couple of years. They also think that burning shareholders is a good idea. Have any of you looked at your 401(k) plans, IRAs, or mutual funds lately? Watch what happens as more financials collapse or shareholders are marginalized. Be prepared for another 25%, minimum, loss in equity in those accounts.

    But this is just a bailout of Wall Street, right? It's astonishing that people don't get how intertwined their "Mom & Pop" stores are with Wall Street.

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

    I don't think the debates should hault

    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. jimmy @ Chicago

    You gotta be kidding me! The man knows he's been loosing this economic battle already. Nice try, but no thanks McShame.

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

    Yea right.

    I don't mean to sound skeptical, or syndical, but in McCain's own words...

    I'm not that knowledgeable on the economy.
    Economics are not my strong point.

    So, I'm not sure what he could bring to the table. He should leave this, like many other things, to people who are actually good at it.

    And voters, that is the RNC lesson that should have been learnt in the last 8yrs – just because you are patriotic, or a friend of the boss, or have been in the army, or have a father who was president - does not mean you are the right person for the job.


    September 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. C Salata

    On 9/11, our country was attacked.
    The financial situation, while critical , was caused internally and can be dealt with by Congress. The candidates may voteon the bill.
    We need to elect a new leader, and there is no need to postpone debates.
    This financial situation may not be settled for a while. And there will be further ramifications, anyway.

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