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. Mike, FL

    I wouldn't blame him after the ABC/Washington post poll has him down by 9%.

    It is shameful, but it might help him stop bleeding on the polls!

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

    What a bunch of Malarky to the 2nd!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Stephen in Texas

    What?!! No, no, no, McCain can't get away with this in the name of patriotism. This is a sleazy way for McCain to postpone the inevitable, that McCain will look old and angry in the debate and Obama will look more presidential.

    Again, a vote of McCain/Palin is an act of social and ecological terrorism through the ballot box.

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

    Leaderhip once again.................thank you President McCain

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

    Crock of bull...he simply was not ready to face Obama on Friday. He wants to try and look Presidential.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Wilson, Seattle

    What the heck? Is McCain on a finance committee? Does he have any responsibilty relative to this besides casting his vote? Sounds like a scripted move to me.

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

    This liar! Sen Obama, called Sen McLiar early this morning and spoke on this issue, MCliar, ran to the networks and related to the public. Now i suppose that we are suppose to believe that Mcliar made the first move. this is so crazy

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Candace- Texas

    This is what we talk about everyday on the Obama campaign trail...where has he been????? Solutions

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

    McCain is afraid of this debate.He didn't even want to support the bailout.This guy doesn't know anything about anything.He can't speak without Palin doing the talking for him.How could he ever run this country?

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

    He might as well.

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Angel09

    I can just see the interviews from a couple weeks from now:

    Interviewer: Mr. McCain, your campaign has been accused of extremely negative ads over the past few weeks.

    McCain: Well, had Mr. Obama agreed to suspend his campaign and go back to Congress with me for a while, that probably would have changed the tenor of the campaign.

    [Reference to his "town hall meetings" invitation, for those who might have missed that.]

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

    That's our future leader.


    can't handle the pressure

    We need Obama /Biden

    Why did he not suppend the campaign when everday people were suffering. Wall Street's hero

    McCain is a celeb for Wall Street.

    Obama Biden Have won

    The Truth is unfolding for real change

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

    This man is becoming a joke. Can't spare 90 minutes of a friday evening. Hahaha

    September 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Bob Indianapolis IN


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

    No John

    This is the time WE THE PEOPLE need to hear from you!

    Don't use this as an excuse.

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

    He can't take 90 minutes to debate???

    The president should be prepared on day 1. If he's doesn't know his own positions well enough to jump into a debate then he's not prepared to be president.

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

    I think it's just a cheap stunt.
    McCain should know a President has to multi-task -
    Even in a time of political crisis – he should be able to work on all cylinders.......... I wonder if he think it makes him look more presidential.....and/or he is just not ready with his sound bites as the polls are moving in Obama's direction.......
    He should also be reminded that the first debate is about foreign policy therefore the questions can be steered away from forcing the candidates to comment on bail-out

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

    WHAT? DId McCain have a stroke or something? This election is crucial to the future of our country. I can't see putting off the debates.

    They need to do both – address the economic meltdown and run for president. If McCain can't do both, he can step down if he wants to. But this postponement of the debate is ridiculous. It is like the kid who crams at the last minute and then realizes he needs more time.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. karen raleigh

    He had 8 years to focus on the economy–who is he kidding–Biden gave a great speech–Palin really looks silly with any leader and what more is there to say. He,is running scared.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Sean, atl, GA

    something smells fishy....what extra does McCain think he will accomplish by skipping 1 night in Mississippi? – does he not have the ability to walk-n-chew-gum at the same time?

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Frankie

    It seems to me that McCain is trying to get out of answering questions, especially after Biden's hammering of him. This is a very transparent move on his part to "act" like he is needed. He is not, nor is Obama going to make a big difference unless it was a close vote. Get real. This is nothing but political.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Tim

    Now that is real leadership. I expect we will see the same from Obama. However, I am sure the libs on this page will still spin it out of control. C'mon, let's hear the angry spin once again.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Andrew

    So Obama contacted McCain about the idea this morning and then McCain responded by stealing his idea?

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Steve in Casper WY

    McCain would have gotten the benefit of the doubt from me 8-10 years ago, but not now. I believe he is only posturing to take away Obama's momentum.

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    PLEASE! I smell at rat and his name is McCain! Obama already said that it was time for the parties to come together. McCain, please stop acting like you are concerned about the American people. You have 7 homes and enough cars to drive a different car every day for almost two weeks. GET REAL MCBUSH!


    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 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