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. Scott in Atlanta

    Don't fall for this mess. another distraction by Mccain.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Kristin

    Just a ploy to get out of the debate if you ask me.

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

    sure he wants to put it off , he hasn't studies anything yet . Give me a break a leader he isn't . He can't be trusted .

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. celusil

    If he is sincere no compaigning no commercials then Barak should do the same. However if this is a Giant PR stunt and business as usual on the air waves then shame on him. I also don't think the debate has to be postponed. But now that the request is out there it will be hard for Obama to say no.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. DMAC in ID/ Independent thinker NOOBAMA

    I really doubt that Obama will go along with McCain. He might miss a chance to stand on a stage and wave his arms and holler. That has gotten very old his yelling.
    Then I think he knows more about the things that brought all this on in such a short time. He has been a huge recipient of a lot of money from these companies that are now in the tank begging.
    Did he know about "Short Sales"?

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. nahnopenotquite

    Smart move. But how many Hail Marys are left in the arsenal? Note that Obama reached out to McCain first.

    Nah, Nope, Note Quite.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Rob

    McCain's putting the country first!

    Ball's in your court now Barry

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Elle

    Some one wet his depends.....LMAO

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. shirley ann


    He is not READY to debate!!! He is not worry about the economy. The ole guy is trying to score points. I think that he would probably sell his soul to the devil if he thought he could win.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Cristian

    I hate this but good move from McCain's camp, now that Palin is beefing up her resume on foreign relations he has nobody to lie to, because he can not get a crowd together by himself. So, McCain wants a stand still for Obama as well untill Palin will get back on the campaign trail with him. In the same time McCain looks like he's taking charge of this, although he knows nothing about economics and furthermore he probably wants to delay the whole debate schedule in the hope that Palin will not have to debate Biden nor himself Obama on economic issues. Am I good or what? I should get into politics as well or at least I'm hoping that people will understand this chess game!

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Justin in CA

    What is a guy that admits knowing nothing about the economy, going to spend time figuring out? What his advisors tell him, that's what.

    Sorry McCain, the world still continues to exist even when we have problems that just effect us. The debate is on Foreign Policy and that is not going to change because Wall Street screwed Americans over. President up.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    No surprise or delay tactics will help mcBUSH.He has all along been part of this mess and can't by any means extricate himself.He would have shown this leadership and"experience" during the past 26years in the Senate.
    Luckily for America and the world at large there is no trigger near his finger.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Phil, CA

    To me, this is brilliant. McCain isn't ready to debate Obama and wants more time. By announcing it this way, he's trying to get the nation to see him as a leader, and if Obama agrees, Obama will look like a follower. If Obama doesn't agree, McCain will hit him with "he'd rather win the election than help the country." There are 98 other Senators who can handle this. The country has been waiting a long time for this debate, and it is as important as the economic problems, because it helps determine the future direction of the country. I'm angry that McCain is pulling this nonsense, but it's also a pretty good move if you're the guy who's behind in the polls.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. Gerald in Georgia

    What a good way to dodge the issues McCain!!! Now you play politics with the crisis to hold off a presidential debate. Obviously an attempt to look presidential and side track Obama. Now he traps Obama because if Obama says lets go ahead with the debate then he looks unconcerned about the crisis however if he goes to Washington it will give the appearance that Mcain is the leader and he is the follower. Just as he did when he baited Obama to go over to Iraq and then used the trip to call Obama a rock star. Dirty politics, Dirty politics, Dirty politics!!!!!

    Play this smart Obama, watch out for all of the traps because this smells DIRTY!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Heather

    Coward! You can't fly to from Washington to the debate that everyone in the country has been looking forward to seeing to help make up their minds. Ridiculous.

    Obama, call him on this bullpuckey.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Noticed

    Judgment Day? McSame is despicable. Obama is said to have contacted McCain this morning (was it 8:30?) and suggested to come out with a joint statement to help to solve the USA Money/Market crisis. Then why would McCain come out this afternoon grabbing the limelight and seemingly making himself look like he took the initiative when it seems to me tat Obama did?

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

    What is McCain going to do in Washington? This is a person who believes that the fundementals of our economy are strong! What an absolutely joke. I have little doubt that America will see this transparant political manuever as McCain putting "Country First" and it makes me sick.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Dorothy In Detroit

    NO! NO!
    Do NOT suspend this debate. John McCain appears to NOT be ready. He knows he's going to get clobbered.

    Please Barack – Do Not suspend this thing. I've cancelled everything for this date with you on Friday night 9/26/08. Get it over with.

    Do not give him time to regroup. Things are going your way.

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

    I hate to be so cynical but it seems Mccain is as aware of his own
    political crisis as he is of our economic one. He can go to Washington
    and work on the economic crisis without having to suspend his campaign and the debate. Right?? Oh, but that way he wouldn't be able to play
    the role of leader and "call upon Obama" to come together with him.
    Give me a break.

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

    As President he would have to be able to handle many things on his plate all at once...he wouldn't be able to request to postponement for anything! It's just a ploy to appear to look good. I say keep things scheduled as planned!!!

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

    This is the oldest trick in the book. McCain tries to cram for Friday's debate but his brain is fatigued. He then pulls this card. If Obama falls for this and caves in, he will lose any respect I have for him.

    Can McCain walk and chew gum at the same time? Can he work on the economy and debate foreign policy at the same time? If he's elected President ,he will not be able to tell a hurricane to wait while he works on something else. Well who cares about the economy. This election is all about pro-life, guns more drilling and tax cuts as far as McCain is concerned

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. Julianne Romanello

    It's so refreshing to see both of the candidates coming together in this matter. It should remind us about the successes of politics, which tend to be overwhelmed by detractions.

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. KJ, GA

    I'm note sure why the two are mutually exclusive. Can't they work together towards bipartisan solutions for current financial crisis and still have debate friday which is on foreign policy, not directly related to economic issues.

    I don't know...I just think McCain is not ready for a debate and looking for a cop out!

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

    Sorry for being too blunt!

    September 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. No More McCain/Palin

    It's just another McCain/Palin trick. Something is definitely up:

    McCain must be getting cold feet, he knows he's going to choke at the debate.

    They found more incriminating information on his campaign manager Rick Davis.

    They found more incriminating information on Palin.

    He's trying to stall for other reasons they are hiding from the American people.

    It's hard tos say what Obama should do, I guess he almost has to join McCain, I just think it;s a trick, something stinks, you can't trust the MCCain/Palin camp.

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