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. Rev. Anderson

    This is foolishness! World War II we had campaigns. Stop trying to steal democracy, Senator McCain! This is not the end of the free world as we know it!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Ryan in VA

    What a bunch of CRAP-–

    REGARDLESS OF THE ECONOMY WE WILL ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT IN NOVEMBER. and the people need to be educated to make a decision.

    We did not suspend the elections during World War II did we?

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Fighting for Obama Since he is too political correct!

    McCain is just trying to stop the landslide in Obama's favor. He doesn't care about the economy, the only thing McCain cares about is winning the election and he is loosing because of the economic crisis which took 2 terms of the Bush administration to debacle. It is going to take longer than the time election night is here to fix it.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. ALS

    Finally, someone in Washington showing some leadership between these two candidates. Maybe McCain's slogan of Country First means something. Bold Move.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. James

    What a joke. McCain would be trampled during the debate Friday, so lets postpone it. How obvious can the old senile maverick be? McCain has no clue concerning the economy, in his own words. Friday's debate will seal the deal, and sink his campaign. This is a joke, and an insult to all Americans.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Steve

    Why put the debate on hold as our country faces our economic peril. This is the pefect time to debate thier differences and how they would lead our country in good times and bad. This is not a time to run and hide!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Bernard

    Why should Obama agree to this


    it's obvious from the polls that McCain is trying to gain some credibility on his lack of an economic messege. One minute the funementals of our economy is GRRRREAT, the next he is running scared from this foolish statement...give me a break...Obama at 8:30 this morning agree to issue a joint statement from both campaigns, and McCain tries to use it as a political stunt, what a mess. America...

    WAKE UP!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    When you are going down in flames, try some distraction.

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

    How disingenuous. Why can't we hear about the issues from the candidates on Friday? If he really wanted to work with Obama, he could have worked something out with him behind the scenes before grand standing this proposal. McCain wants to look like a big leader by showing up his opponent in a big way. This is a political stunt, nothing more.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. bissy( a nigerian residing in uk)

    It is good to pretend to care when are not ready to face primetime.

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

    Sounds like a dodge to me!

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

    Running scared – calling for his last 'time out'. Disgusting

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

    Jesus, another stunt.

    A real leader could campaign AND deal with the financial crisis in his capacity as Senator.

    The reek of desperation coming off the McCain campign these days is staggering.

    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Kasch, Europe


    its a total POLITICAL GAME. John McCain's campaign saw they were losing in the polls BIG TIME on the economy and so have pulled a stunt like this!!

    its BOUND to knowck a few points off Obama's lead. unbelieveable!!!

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

    Some people are better kept away from economy, and John McCain is one among them....

    He had 26 years to work on economy and he want to meddle it at the 11th hour...hmmm ..

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

    were was mccain for 26 years, now he wants to try and show leadership. sorry johnny boy you are a day late and 700 billion dollars short.

    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!

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

    John McCain is getting his duff kicked and now, out of concern for the country, he is suspending his campaign! Give me a break! He wants to cancel the debate and focus all his attention on the ecomony. McCain, the one who admitted he knows nothing about the economy!

    Barack Obama's poll numbers are gaining daily and he is surging in all polls because people have confidence that he does know how run Washington and the country. He has McCain running scared.

    McCain is a coward. He cannot stand up to Obama and he knows that his attempt at looking "presidential" is the only chance he has.








    September 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Annette, Washington, DC

    I heard two reports on CNN that Obama/Biden ask for earmarks to Alaska bridge to nowwhere be deverted to Louisiana for Katrina victims??? and now this one. Do a fact check if it's true???

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


    John McBush knows full well that he's slipping down the polls, and that Barack will RUN RINGS around him in the debates, which would be the death blow to McSame's chances.

    I honestly feared McBush would do this. I kid you not. It was clear the debates would NOT help him.

    And he pretends to care SO MUCH, that he has to drop EVERYTHING. Including a presidential debate. As if one day would matter that much. LAUGHABLE. Just NO SHAME with Mc Same.

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

    What can they do. Have the chairman of that committee reached an agreement? Why stop the debate. It is important or is it to give John McCain more time to practice. He didn't stop is meeting with the foreign leaders earlier with Palin. This is one of McCain tactics to make him look like he is doing something good for the people, in which we know not. He met with Rommey and his CEO's and now he want to call a halt to this debate. Same on you McCain. Let the American people see what you got and it ain't the economy crisis either.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Keith

    That's another first in US politics...the first time a candidate has chickened out of a debate. About the only thing Honest John had going for him was his record of courage under fire. Now he's suspending his campaign two days before debating?? No wonder he wasn't prepping, he planned this whole thing earlier. Country first, democracy...uh, not so much.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Tj oh

    An obvious ploy by the McCain Campaign to put a stop to the huge slump they've had in the polls ever since Palin lost her appeal and has been exposed as dangerously inexperienced.

    This is the McCain campaign trying to make him seem presidential and acting like they care about the economy. The McCain campaign has nothing to contribute to help this economic problem. They don't have talking points, they don't have solutions. All they can do is ACT like they care.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Leah,Texas

    So Obama calls McCain FIRST and then McCain jumps on the TV and makes it look like he was the first one to reach out.
    McCain is such a fake that it turns my stomach!

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

    OMG, this guy is freaking coy. He has nothing to lose by doing this since he is behind. I have to admit, this was a good move. Unfortunately, Obama couldn't have done it, as people will suggest he is scared to debate McCain, But I am still voting for Obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. fRED sIMS

    Why? McCain ain't the president.This is Bush's job.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 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