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. Matt, Las Vegas

    And now McCain is scared of a forign policy Amazing how on the ropes his campaign is now.

    What's McCain going to do to solve the "crisis"? Run in and tell everone how he doesn't understand economics? The attempt to "delay" this debate on Friday, is actually an effort to cancel it completely. They can't fit it in anywhere else before the election, just not enough time.

    If he wants to pull out of the debate, that doesn't mean Barack has to agree. Why is everything on McCain's terms? It can't be, and if he's to chicken s–t to go head up on Friday with barack, then he's to big a chicken to be president.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Silly Season

    Republicans for Obama!!!

    I'm tired of McCain treating Palin like a fragile infant. I'm starting to believe she is one.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. claudia dick

    thats is business if he wants to suspend is campaign. mcCain is too hot headed .

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. sf

    Is McCain just now realizing there is an economic crisis? More like he's afraid to debate now that it is so close.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. alex

    why does this feel like politics? How are we to move from anunknown crisis to a solution in a week? Where is the discovery that needs to happen into what needs to be done? I fo one am tired of hearing "trust me" from the Bush administration. And while I appreciate the McCain, let's suspend all of this until we resolve the crisis, I wonder if he would take the same stance if he was rising in the polls?

    In all reality there should be a suspension of the discussion until there is a new administration. Why should whoever wins be saddled with a quick new plan initiated by a cabinet of the one who is leaving?

    We need a plan that adresses both a solution and identifies how and why it happened, how else shall we avoid the same results in the very near future.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Surfer Todd

    Hey McCain, this isn't 9/11. Is this a last gasp attempt to display leadership, or was it avoiding a certain beating at the hands of the better candidate?

    I say Obama should call his bluff and let America know that 1) there are other people working on this issue, and 20 it's just an hour debate.

    Get on with it.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Bill

    I agree. What is more important at this moment than taking care of this crisis?

    Put politics aside and have Dems and Republicans work together for a change for ALL the citizens of this country.

    Now if only the die hards from both sides will do the same.......

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Meghan

    This is the most transparently pandering thing this campaign has done yet. What a surprise, he wants to delay a debate he will lose that's scheduled to happen in 2 days. And oh, let's make this decision the day that polls were released with Obama 9 points up, largely based on economic issues.

    Have the "fundamentals" that were strong last week changed, Senator McCain, or are you just running scared?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Greg P.

    Although one should laud Sen.McCain for his concern about the economy, isn`t one of the critical parts of the job of President the ability to multi-task between crises?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Tim

    McCain and his campaign are just shameless is their attempt to avoid a real debate with Obama. The republicans will try just about anything to avoid talking about real issues. This is truly a McShame!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. RH

    Sure, now that he's slipping in the polls he wants to set politics aside. Set politics aside? This move is PURE politics.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Fischer

    McCain is trying to regroup after Palin's bubble burst! The polls have clearly dazzled them. Why does he want to seen like he is the one dictating the campaign tempo.

    He is also trying to figure out what he is supposed to say during this economic crisis and knows that this debate will give people a clear impression of the lack of substance that him and Palin are made of.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Real Dem Abroad

    Oh my good great god, what a flipping coward.

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

    The Mccain Campaign Is In Trouble And Now They Want A Cease Fire! Now Is The Time When The Obama Camp Hammers You!

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

    I can just see it now:

    State Department: "President McCain, the Russians have deployed in response to our stance on Georgia. What should we do?"

    McCain: "Get Medvedev on the line and see if he can't postpone it for a few more days. I'm watching Matlock."

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Uncle Scrotar

    So Mr. "I don't know much about Wall Street/the economy" all of a sudden wants to help out? Mr. "The fundamentals of our economy are still strong" all of a sudden has to postpone his campaign to help out. Is it just me or does this reek of BS?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |

    Oh john mcsame you are so full of yourself

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Luvamerica

    Wow, I hope Obama will not fall for this game that McCain is playing. He is using this game to make himself look good and to gain points. I pray that Obama will not fall for it. McCain is simply afraid of the the debate and is trying to get out of it. Obama will not need to meet him.
    This is so sad.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Jerry Ohio

    What is really going on I want to see the both of them friday debate because American need to know what they views on the economy McCain is running scare now he want to delay the debate

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Jr

    Obama Campagin say No reason to cancel debate on friday, supen cmpaign... so I AGREE WITH OBAMA SAID........

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. katiebee

    What hogwash!!

    Here's the translation: "I saw the polls, I slept in Sunday, I'm not prepared, and I'm scared I'll tank even deeper after the debates."

    McSame is trying to change the rules...all of a sudden he's trying to be serious about the economy (the one he doesn't know anyting about), when his cronies (can we can Rick Davis) are the ones who've contributed to this mess!

    I hope the Commision stays on point and in focus and doesn't fall for this political ruse, saying "thanks, but no thanks!"

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Riiiiiiiiiiiight!

    Another political ploy. I think the McCain campaign knows they are in huge trouble based on the new polls, the major media backlash over the "handling" of the VP nominee, and the fact that most people know the VP candidate is very inexperienced. I think they know that the debates are going to go very poorly, so any mechanism to stall the Obama/Biden "surge" is fair game. It's interesting though, the media will get 'played" again by having to move the debate (in conjunction with the "rules" set forth by the McCain campaign regarding the VP debates, and recent UN visit).

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. D-MI

    DON'T YOU DARE invoke what happened after September 11!!!!!

    That was the WORST legislation we have ever had in this country. I cannot believe that McCain is pulling this nonsense. First he puts a blackout around his VP choice, now he's running from the debates 40 DAYS before a national election. NO EFFIN' WAY! This is BS. America, wake the &%$# up: these people are not even willing to tell you what they want to do... ARE YOU BLIND?!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Scott of Utah

    WHAT? Are you scared of the debate with the current state of events or what? You cant go work on this economic package and show up for the debate? You can't "consult" by teleconference? This is like saying no at the altar!

    I wonder how the public is going to see this. Counrty first or me first?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. BJBM

    I smell fear in McCain. He finally realizes he is about to get seriously PWNed at the debates.

    You tuck that tail between your legs McCain, and RUN...RUN!!

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52