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. bydesign001

    This is going to kill the Democratic Party. Now let's watch Obama squirm his way out of this!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. From Austin

    This is a pure STUNT. McCain has seen the polls and he is losing ground steadily, driven by concerns on US economy. This is a desperate move to show something to the electorate. Whether its Wall Street, Washington, or the campaign trail, they all treat us a stupid, brain dead Americans, unable to think and fend for ourselves. Shame on McCain!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Kiki in DC

    What the HELL? McSame just suspend your whole Campaign indefinitey!!!!

    Barack Obama President of United States!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. rachel

    Is McCain throwing in the towel? lol

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Duane

    Call me cynical, but I have my doubts about this course of action. Unfortunately, due to the tone of his campaign I can't help but feel McCain's suspending his candidacy is merely another ploy, another manner of attack or distraction, to further frighten America into thinking it needs a maverick at the helm.

    I hate feeling this way, but it's the result of the past eight years.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Richard Geiss

    This is a ploy by the Repugnicans to divert short circuit Obama's newfound momentum.

    Typical GOP tactics. We can see through it!

    R. Geiss (Roanoke, VA)

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Marc

    Master stroke by McCain. Obama looks bad whether he pushes for debate or goes along with McCain.

    Ah, Barack, you are but a boy in a man's game.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |

    Someone is looking pretty desperate! Why suspend your campaign all they need is your vote YEA or NAY it's that simple....LOL I have a good feeling this was done for political reason mccain doesn't know a thing about the economy which he's admitted.


    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |



    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. karol

    This is a bunch of crap. The economy right now is Bush's job and we as the people need to see the debates.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Ex GOPer

    While I respect McCain's decision I don't think it's correct at this time. The crisis is also about the American people confidence. The American people want to see a debate between these two men. We are tired of politicians escaping to closed chambers and meetings. If anything I would call out for the debate to be changed from foreign relations to the current economic crisis. We all know that the crisis is so big that a solution will not be obtainable by Monday. Lets have both of these men discuss their short term, mid term and long term goals for improving the economy.

    Once again I respect McCain for finally getting to where Obama is at on transparancy, oversight and protection for the American people but right now we need leadership of a different kind. The kind that lifts us up and shows us a better tomorrow is possible and here is my vision to get you there.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Ya_Ya

    Trying to buy a little time I suspect.

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

    Oh, so that's why he hadn't started to prepare for the debate on Friday. He's a candidate and its time to hear from him.

    There are 98 senators who can set this deal up without him. Besides, he has said he doesn't know anything about the economy so what's he going to do other than raise dust?

    Sorry John, get on with it and debate!

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


    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Undecided

    The American people deserve a debate. If anything, the topic should be shifted from foreign policy to the economy. What exactly does John McCain plan to accomplish for the economy on friday night for the few hours that the debate is scheduled to take place? I was leaning toward McCain but not so much anymore.

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

    "All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so."

    Interesting that McCain would say that...considering this seems to be Obama's idea in the first place. Of course, McCain has no shame in co-opting Obama's ideas...from policies to campaign slogans.


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

    On with the debate , it's alittle late to suddenly be concerned about the economy , this has been coming for YEARS , now your concerned , give me a break ! I hope they don't hand over trillions and trillions of dollars to a guy who is a millionaire hundreds of times over , let wall street weather the storm , the tax payers in this country are sick of the wealthy standing on our shoulders , let the cards fall and then we'll have to build it up from the bottom ! Thanks for the WORST 8 years in history GWB !!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. bruno nana

    no no no Mcain the debate must go on.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Val

    This a political ploy from Mccain camp, it stinks. He don't care about the economy and the people of American. Now he cares, he didn't care before and he wants dictate to Obama camp. Mccain what's Obama clean is his mess-up. No-Way! Obama is well informed whats going in Washington and he don't need to be in there. Until all conditions are met on this $700 billion package what Obama requires, let it go down!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. EMJ

    See? It's all Republican games as usual. McCain was afraid Obama would get credit for suggesting the joint statement so he pulled another thoughtless fast one. Man, I am so sick of McCain's campaign.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Ryan

    Just another ploy to gather up some votes. The economic problem can't be fixed in a weekend of politicians actually doing their job, especially with the current President being present at the meeting.

    Nice try at presenting yourself as a leader, McSame.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Ex-Republican for Obama

    And following your nomination as a presidential candidate, you bailed on all of your moral ethics, betrayed everyone that had ever stood by you, and here you go, doing it again, abandoning things and leaving them undone or half accomplished. What a loser McCain is.

    Sounds like a political ploy, again, another FAKE emotion from the McCain campaign. He'll do anything to get elected. Fricking drama queen.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Tammy in Detroit, MI

    No surprises here.....he needs to regroup.....form some more lies.

    No way, no how, no Mc"Same" (and definitely NOT Palin)

    Obama 08!!

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

    Our next President.....John McCain!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Stephen Krasner

    I think it is important for both Senators to do their jobs in Congress. However I don't think postponing the debate is a wise idea. I think if their is ever time we need to see the candidates speak to the issues it is now while the country is facing challenges. A part of me is thinking this is part political on McCain's part and he perhaps isn't feeling confident going into this debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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