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. Mrs Rivers

    This is crazy! McCain is shaking in his boots looking at the polls turn in Obama's direction. This his ploy to 'take control' and make him look like the savior of the economic crisis!


    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Paula Giovanini-Morris

    Give him a break...I think not. The amount of influence either McCain and Obama have in this financial crisis and the plans for recovery are minimal at this time. Because it is a known fact that McCain is a poor debater, I feel he is dodging this event, and once again trying to play the "noble hero" in the public's eye. Like Sarah Palin, who is also dodging the American public's eye and their need to know her and what she stands for, McCain is following suit. Enough is enough. Stop the smoke & mirrors and be man enough to debate the fundamental issues.

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

    first thing McCain has done that makes sense..and I hope Obama follows suit.
    I also find it interesting that obama really made the first move by contacting McCain about a joint statement, and McCain agreed, shows Obama can work across the aisle as well.
    I think all this debate and others need to be cancelled completely , this is too important to politicize.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Hpotterfan77 in CT

    Don't do it Obama. He is running scared...don't cave!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Big E

    Didn't see this coming.

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

    How discusting... talk about a polical pander. Just last week he wanted no bailout at all. Said our fundementals are fine. Now he wants to delay the campaign and the debate because things are bad? Talk about the FLIP FLOP to end all flip flops.

    How dare this man. How dare this man use a potential economic dissaster to promote him as President. To try to make him look like a hero and he wants this resolved. Just last week this entire event was against his every princable.

    I'm starting to wonder if this entire thing is made up by the GOP. Just think about it. The GOP and Bernake wants no one to question were this money is indeed going.

    Wake up America.

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

    The optimist in me would like to say good for you Senator McCain on taking this initiative. The pessimist in me says that what you are really saying, is you need more time to prepare for the debates, because even though you say you have the most foreign policy credentials, you still lack specific substance, and that you want to cram this legislation through as fast as possible, with only a token amount of the measures you have called for so that Wall Street can get back to business as usual. I still believe in your sincerity Senator McCain that you want to do what you think is right, but I really do think you are losing it, based on all you've said before, and so I have a tough time believing that you are doing this for any sort of real altruistic reasons. That is what your campaign has done to distort my view, not that I was ever your supporter, but I have always been willing to listen to both sides, even though I am a registered Democrat. To be clear, I am not blind to the fact that Senator Obama has made obvious political maneuvers, like you have, but I believe more in his sincerity, than in yours.

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

    Quick Response:

    "No. And if Senator McCain wants to return to work he can do so at anytime. I am sure his colleagues and would constituents wuld appreciate it after his 5 month abscence."

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. gop turned obama dem

    This guy is a fantastic politician. He wants to be seen as though he cares. After saying just a couple of days a go that "The Fundamentals of our economy is strong" Now he treating it with a lot of urgency. yeah right. This is a political move, that would reflect well on both candidates but maybe more on McCain.
    This just goes to prove the point that McCain is just grasping the extent of the problem. He has just realised it and paniced.
    Cancelling campaigns cant stop the economy from free falling in to the unknown , it only helps McCain look good.

    American needs change and this just proves it.

    Obama 08

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. CW in PSL

    McPalin is running scared!

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Independent Voter


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

    You have GOT to be kidding me.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. The Truth

    Wasn't McCain attending a football game last week? Why didn't he focus his efforts on meeting in DC then.

    And, isn't this the guy that takes weekends off from campaigning?

    Someone sounds scared of the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Jackie, Minneapolis MN

    How convinient...hey, I understand that this crisis needs to be dealt with. But, i just have to say two things. ONE, if Obama was calling for the debate to be postponed, everyone, including McCain would say 'he is scared to talk foreign policy'. SECOND, if this debate gets moved, then the VP debate gets moved, and that is what this is probably all about. McCain is strong on foreign policy. Anything less than postponing the debate for no longer than a week from now should be thrown back in his face.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Steven Benjamin

    This is disgusting. He knows he is getting destroyed in the polls mainly because of the economy so he is looking for anything to do to save himself. Plus he knows he will get destroyed in the debate so he wants more time to prepare. Everything McCain does makes me sick.

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

    So, it was Obama's idea FIRST.

    McCain isn't a leader, he's a follower!!

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. R T G

    Talk about playing "politics" This guy doesn't want to debate Obama, because he has nothing to go on, and the Economy was going to be the debate this friday. They cannot do this to the American people. There is only about 45 days left until elections, and we cannot just wait and see on who we want to vote for. Reports state that Obama called Mccain first, and said they should appear together and give joint statements, and what does Mcbush do? Gives his own. That's not putting "country first" my friends, that's more of the same!

    They cannot delay these debates, we have been waiting so long for these, and the american people deserve a choice on who they believe would take this country to a better era.

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


    If I meet 100 leaders online I can be VP


    Just did not go well

    McCain camp is looking like newbees on the political scene.

    Bush did not stop functioning after 911.

    We need O/B

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

    Sounds like an excuse to me. The crisis is now. What better time would there be for the debate? But I certainly can see why McCain would want to delay the debate(s) as long as possible. He can't compete. The debates will end up making him look foolish and he can't afford that. Better to just try to put them off indefinitely. I'm sure he would be happy to not have any debates at all.

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

    Maybe Saturday McCain so you can call Rommey and friends again for pointers,

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

    Yeah right! McCain knows he's behind in the polls. It's a republican ploy to distract the American people from voting for Obama. Obama, don't trust him!

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

    You would.Only problem is you've been in washington for THREE DECADES what do you have to focus on?Just Retire and Landscape your even Houses.

    September 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Sara, Wisconsin

    Hey, if you're talented enough to be POTUS, you can be in Congress Thurs. and Fri. and fly to Ole Miss for the debates – just a normal day that goes with the job description.


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

    You have got to be kidding me!

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. mer


    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 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