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. Mb

    So Obama reached out first. Than Mccain put out a statement as if he initially showed leadership. This makes him all the more dishonet in my opinion of him.

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

    This is complete BS!!!

    He's politicizing this economic situation and using this so he doesn't have to come up with an answer, and wants to duck Obama in the debate on Friday!!

    McCain you are trash!

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

    So Obama asks for a joint statement – a show of bipartisanship in the face of crisis, an McCain feels he has to up the ante and seize on the excuse to get out of a debate he is unprepared for? Talk about desperate!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Kiru, NYC


    Don't do it Barack!

    He's running scared...let him forfeit the debate!

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

    No freaking way. Do not fall for this Obama! This is ridiculous! If anything we need to hear from our candidates, not have them running scared!

    September 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Sarah- ARIZONA

    Mcain is so full of it. he is such a liar

    This man is fake and makes me so mad.

    All they need to do is vote. They both can vote and then do the debates.

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

    This is beyond ridiculous. Someone needs to call this campaign out and start demanding answers.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Tony

    What a pathetic stunt!

    McCain says that they must put the campaigns aside (40-some days before the election) and come together to show their PATRIOTISM.

    This is just a feeble attempt to paint Obama as unpatriotic if he says no.

    McCain is such a sad, despereate, bitter old man. So transparent.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Tired Elephant

    Like it or not, George Bush is President until January 20, 2009. McCain just saw his poll numbers going in the tank and he'll try anything. Paulson's out in the last hours saying agreement is in the works limiting "Golden Parachutes" etc.

    Get to D.C., vote and you'll have plenty of time to get to Oxford, MS for the debate. No delays, no postponements, no more b.s.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Republican changing to Democrat

    No way.. I say let's have the debate. What a cover up! Trying to use this economy crisis to get out of this debate. He knows he is on slippery ground. Puleese! We have been waiting for this face off for a long time. Nahh, let's have the debate..I hope Obama says no!...I am a Repub voting Democrat this November. and heck, i am proud to do so!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Nervous

    Come off it McCain, you're shaking in your boots bc you are dropping in the polls and the fact that your chief advisor is in the tank to the very organization that is bankrupting this nation and the only way you can divert the attention from all your wrongs is to push the debate back? Obama should not agree. We the American people want to get this election moving, we want a clear sign to the end of this mess and that the Republicans are getting kicked out of office. Stop their greed!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Tony

    Soooooooommmmmmebody's not prepared....

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Drew

    what a cheap political ploy, mccain got scared of the debates and ran. Typical republican.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. J Russell Finch

    what a joke. McOld needs to buy time, so he can figure out exactly WHAT his position would be – it takes time to run those polls so he'll know where he stands.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. April in Texas

    All I can think is can't the McCain campaign multi-task? I mean honeslty as being President of the United States one would need to be able to multi-task.. The president can't put the world on hold when he is doing something else.. I see this as a political ploy by the MCCain campaign and nothing more..

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

    Funny thing is that McCain hasn't cared about voting in months. In fact, he has the highest absentee record in the U.S. Congress. He is stalling, point blank.

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

    Why not move the debate to Washington and just fly the moderator in?

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

    Yea right!!! I smell a rat.
    Why all of a sudden HE needs to suspend the campaign to deal with the economy crisis!!!!!!!
    The DEBATE should go on as scheduled

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Ross in MD

    McCain should end his campaign, not just suspend it.

    Obama '08

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Mike, FL

    This one is right out of Karol Rove's play book. When nothing seems to work, trying pulling a stant!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Julia

    Well I guess they'd better cancel all the debates. And perhaps the elections too if they're serious about this. The economy will take longer than two days to fix.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Former Alaskan - Current Texan

    Delay the debate??? What a crock. The man is scared to debate Obama and knows his poll numbers will tumble when he does.

    Next we'll hear they want to delary the Palin-Biden debate too– for what, so she can "work on the economy" too????

    Give me a big flippin' break!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Lensa

    Oh no! He is trying to pull a fast one on Obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Scott in Atlanta

    these folks have to be kidding. He must think this makes him look presidential but it really just makes him look scared. I hope Obama doesn't bite on this hogwash.

    This brave Hero of ours is scared to debate now. And why exactly is he a war hero anyway?

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. keith 4 barack

    Scared to debate McCAINE are we!!!!!!! how convieneint

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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