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. Texas Voter

    WHAt? Why in the world should the American public have to wait another moment for the debates. If anything this makes them more important as we need the forum so we may decide who will something about the unregulated mess created by BUSH!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. JenniferB

    This is gamesmanship, plain and simple. It's so funny because I just saw Rick Santorum on Fox last night saying that these candidates have no business coming back to Washington because neither are on the Senate Banking Committee and so they'll get in the way more than they can help. I think McCain realizes that the American people are waking up to what Republicans, with his help, have done to this economy. He needs to seem like a leader so this was his way of doing it. I'm pretty sure when everyone realizes there is nothing McCain or Obama can do about this situation except vote yea or nay, this will backfire. McCain hasn't voted once since April and now he wants to rush to Washington and ring his hands while other people do their jobs. Give me a break.

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

    What is not reported here is that Obama was the first to contact McCain to come together to issue a joint statement on this crisis. How interesting. Once again, McCain takes Obama's lead.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. BKMC

    Great leadership Obama, do not accept to be led because you are born to lead. McCain is suspending his campaign saying that he wnats to fix this economic crisi created by republiacans and their government. But the problem is that McCain does not understand economy, he could have continued his campaign and Obama will solve it while campaigning, multitasking is somehthing Mccain cannot do, but Obama well.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. JohnnyG

    McCain has sunken to a new low. He's using this economic crisis as a political tool to demonstrate his "leadership". Meanwhile, he avoids the debate and puts Obama in an uncomfortable position. I hope that the American population is smart enough to see through this scummy tactic.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Aulac, Texas

    McCain shows us that America is First by stepping back to solve our economy problem while Obama enjoys it because he believes that the economy down turn will help him to get elected!!!!

    Wake up Americans!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Me and the Girls

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He should just go on and suspend his campaign indefinately.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Joe

    It would be best for McCain to cancel all debates

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Democrat 4 Life

    Don't trust McSame on this. It's all politics for him. Watch the debate, and he'll bring it up to say he called for this first.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Dana

    This is BS- he is grandstanding!! The only problem with this how can they reschedule a debate 2 days before it is supposed to take place. This is Malarky as my boy Biden would say. He is trying to stall so that the Debate- although primarily about Foreign Policy- doesnt turn to Economic issues. This is a STUNT of all STUNTS!
    As much as I agree that attention should be paid to this Economic Crisis there are more than enough butting heads in Congress right now the last person they need is McCain mixing things up- even Congressman have suggessted the Candidates stay out of it right now- there are only 39 days until the election and the clock is ticking for American's to really hear out both candidates on the issues!
    This is a joke! McCain is trying to buy time for himself and nothing more. You can't try to change the game in the 9th inning... this is so rediculous and now Obama is going to railroaded to go along with it.
    Whatever- another show from McCain...

    Obama/Biden 08!!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Reality check

    Let's see if Obama will actually put the country first over his own ego.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. RHM

    McCain is a sly one, you have to admit – if Obama keeps campaigning, it will appear as though he doesn't care about the American people, but if he suspends his campaign, McCain will maintain his slight lead until the election.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. scott - atlanta, ga

    This is a pitiful attempt to delay the debates which McCain knows he is not ready for. He is trying to play Americans for pity after he has had years in the senate to show some leadership. Obama said it best, "they think we are stupid" unfortunately some people are.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Theresa - Minneapolis

    What in the hell is he up to now? I smell a rat!

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Greenie

    Why can't he fly to DC ... help out and fly out to whereever the debate will be ... AND then FLY back to DC ..... the thing here is to FLY .. duh! of course he wants to stop and re group cuz he is losing! I am ok with you and Obama no geting your hands in this mess.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Now he wants Change!!!

    McCain sure knows how to pull a rabit out of his hat. This just shows McCain is not ready for the debate nor did he say that Obama reached out to him 1st.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Tammy in Boise

    This action by John McCain seems like a political stunt. I am getting sick of politicians playing around with the American people's lives just to get elected.

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

    Newsflash to John McCain. The Congress is already working on it in a bi-partisan way and has been doing so since Monday. They're trying to hammer out a sensible and fair deal from the ball of wax that Bush and Paulson tried to ram down our throats. There's no need to turn this very serious issue into a publicity stunt Mr. McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. JD, Charlotte NC

    The American people are ready for this debate....stalling McCain??

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Barack the Vote!

    Puked out of the debate is more like it!! Puh-leeze!!! McCain is running scared and knows he will loose the debate against Barack Obama!! The crisis has been ongoing for the past week and a half, and now, two days before the first debate, McCain wants to cancel!!! He all of a sudden NOW wants to show bipartisanship because he's unprepared and slipping in the polls. JOHN McCAIN – NOT READY TO LEAD!

    Barack the Vote!!!

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

    Sounds to me like somebody isn't ready to debate. This is exactly the kind of self-rightous move I should have expected from McLAME.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Chris

    Weak. Excuses, Excuses.

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

    What the **** does 9/11 have to do with this? You can't just keep bringing it up and hope it makes sense. Do you really think we are this stupid? This "financial crisis" is nothing compared to 9/11. You ought to be ashamed for comparing the two, McCain.

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


    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Union Jack

    A solid bipartisan move by Senator McCain. Leadership defined.

    September 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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