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)

    Why not relocate the debate to make BOTH events possible? We can't just stop working when we have crises. I think it's irresponsible to suspend the campaign at this point. Now more than ever we need to hear from these candidates. Would it be impossible to hold the debate in Washington?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Connie Hupp

    I love your negitivity towards Republicans and Sara Palin. I think you finnally met your match in Sara Palin, "You in the media cant take her down". The public is finnally seeing through all of the media crap. Thats what happens when you mess with a great family and someone like Sara who really wants to help the People weather Republican or Demecrate. So keep up your negitivity it only makes Sara look even better and less will listen to you. Ha Ha You in the Media deserve it.

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

    To be honest, this is very annoying, I was looking forward to the debates and now because of a clearly election-oriented move, we have to wait.

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Open Your 3rd Eye





    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Will from NYC

    Does this mean Palin's debate get postponed too??? HMMMMMMMM

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. No Way. No How. No McCain.

    McCain is a JOKE. He puts elections first NOT country first.

    So the polls show a trend towards Obama. What does McCain do? "Why I am going to stop my campaign in hopes of stopping any more movement towards Senator Obama"

    He could have suspended his campaign last week...oh wait, he thought the fundamentals of the economy were strong then...

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

    Is this a joke?

    He's SUDDENLY LOSING and he wants to "suspend" until he gets back on track?

    September 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Obama Knows How to Fix the Economy

    Running from a fight?


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

    I wish he would just suspend his campaign permanently!

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

    I applauded Sen. McCain on this initiative. His initiative shows his leadership. I would hope Sen. Obama will respond and do the same.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Fighting for Obama Since he is too political correct!


    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Change_Obama

    Cant McCain multi-task?

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

    Oh oh... poll numbers are down for McCain. nothing else changed in the last 48 hours.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. JR (Norfolk, VA)

    Mr. McCain we've been in a financial crisis as a nation for a while now and I don't believe it's appropriate for any canditate to suspend their campaigns with the election so close. These are the days where voters on the fence decide who they are going to vote for. Our futures are at stake. The election date will not change. Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama will be fine irregardless of what happens to our economy. Both are multi-millionaires now. I think it's a shame that Senator McCain is suspending his campaign, but I believe it's a ploy since he has public financing in the bag and doesn't have to worry about fundraising anymore. Who does this hurt? Obama since he depends on donors to finance his campaign and is heavily dependent on campaigning. I'm very upset dissapointed with you trying to sway the base with this attempt to stop the Obama momentum.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Veronica in Atlanta

    What a load of bull! This is the best stall tactic yet! McCain is afraid to debate Obama. This is an all new low even for the Republicans.

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. In Good Company

    Oh, this is rich. McCain's campaign is in freefall - why not suspend it? He knows he can't gain anything by debating Obama. Now we're supposed to reward him for being so selfless and putting America first by being present at roll call when Congress tries to fix the mess his cronies created.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. jaye

    This is TOTAL BS!
    McCain is looking for an excuse to skip the debate.... besides, what can HE do....Bush is still in the White House.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Terry

    That's a bad move by Mccain. How would he handle a national crisis? By stopping all of his other duties? A president should be able to handle multiple things at one time.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. BlackMaybe

    What a bunch of Malarky!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. joel halpern

    Really though John, I think the economy would be better off if you just went on ahead to your debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Real Real Change

    This is what desperation looks like. Usually desperation is just a concept, but in this case…you can actually see it.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. nobama

    Country First!

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Buki

    Excuse me!!!!is this an attempt to avoid a debate? Does Mc Cain think the crisis will be resolved before the elections?What exactly is he going to do in Washington? This crisis will take some time to resolve and the American people need to hear out the candidates as a matter of urgency. Delaying the debate is a distraction from the issues at hand of which we need to know clearly what the candidates intend to do when they become President.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Mark Webb

    Here is my idea, and if McCain is really serious, he will agree:
    McCain and Obama would expose their plans and visions about this hot topic!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    The right judgement in this crisis.

    September 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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