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. Phoenix

    Obama is always suggesting unity while the other side can only win with division. It's so sad to see McCain throw himself away this late in the game.


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

    and then to bring up Sept 11th! Seriously??

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Bill Charlotte,NC

    Obama had called each McCain this morning to work something out bipartisan, but leave it up to John Wayne McCain to run out on his own and try to make himself look more American. They could have made this announcement together.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. scott h.

    There is no better time for a debate than now. This is an incredibly transparent indicator that McCain is simply not prepared for the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Bill Iles

    Another cynical move by John McCain to dupe the American public. He is so ready to bailout his millionaire corporate buddies he will vote for the bailout that President Bush is seeking. Where is the self-touted Maverick? He has turned into an unprincipled man. I once had great respect for him. I will vote for Obama in November.

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

    I'd think this was a thoughtful gesture, but it smells of political posturing to me.

    McCain is not the man he was in 2000.

    Everything he does is for political game. He has lost all credibility with me.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. CB2

    No..No..No do not delay the debates. They are crucial right now. I feel as though you all should be able to do both. It's called multi-tasking.

    McSame is just trying to stall. And then he will try and move back the debates with Good Ole Sarah and Joe Biden. I say!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Gloria Addison

    I think McCain's position is a brillant political move. It smacks of Karl Rove! Do I believe McCain's motives are pure? No. And, bringing up the unity that followed 9/11 is stretching. We all know the outcome of the 9/11 move. We are in deep kaka.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Emily in Alabama

    HEY MEDIA! Don't let the McCain camp hide under these false pretenses!! Grow some spine and go after them! Their platform of reform and transparency is being destroyed by their insistence on secrecy and lies, just like the Bush administration.

    HEY PEOPLE! If McCain tries to control the media during his campaign, how transparent and accountable will his Whitehouse be?

    WAKE UP!!!!!

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

    PUH-LEEZE! Stop MCSAME! You are all over the place and you ERRATIC behavior is not helping your campaign! You are TANKING in the polls and now you are trying another stunt!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Think - FL

    Puhhhhleaze! Using the current economic crisis for BS campaign posturing and decrying UNITY!

    I can so easily picture the McCain of years past slamming his fists onto a fold-out table in some dank room with drop-ceilings while screaming at everyone around him, "DEREGULATION! DEREGULATION! DEREGULATION!"

    This guy is such a political stooge. Oops, sorry, I mean... MY GOSH! What a leader! Willing to put aside his campaign to go back to Washington and lead our economy back from the brink! PLEASE! Save us John!

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Sick & Tired

    Now McCain wants to one-up Obama by suspending his campaign after Obama reached out to him to issue a joint statement...another extreme irrational response by McCain. He knows that he is not doing too well in the Presidential race and he wants to post pone the debate because he is ill prepared. McCain is desperate! LOL

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. ry in FL

    What? you've got to be kidding me. I hope this is not Mc Cain running with his tail between his legs from the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Alisha (Independent voter,) MN

    So let me get this right. Obama's camp called McCain's camp at 8:30am. Both camps wanted to release a joint statement to the public? Yet McCain's camp acts as if it was their idea, and wanted to beat the Obama camp to the punch and released a statement first, so Obama's camp wouldn't get credit for coming up with a plan to have both camps put campaigning and politicking aside? McCain is a real loser!!! Unoriginal, uninspiring, NEMWIT!!!

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

    lets just go ahead and vote Barack in today and let him get to work fixing what the republicans messed up, why wait till nov. lets impeach Bush and Cheany and vote today for either mcSame or Barack. Thats something I can vote for. Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United State, McCain and Palin Know it Bush knows it lets just get this thing moving along. We can afford more of the same we can handle any more Bush or any Mccain

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

    The American people want to hear from Obama, McCain and Palin. We heard a GREAT speech from Biden today. Let the debate go on! What in the world can McCain do now? He did not do any thing all those years who was in camp with Bush? Let the debate go on ... McCain does NOT have an answer for the economy woes, or we would not be in this predicament today.

    It's the same as him saying, "When I'm President, I'm going to get BIn Laden ... why wait?"

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

    Why not move the debate to DC? Why postpone? Is he not prepared? They are at 9:00PM. Seems he needs to lean to multitask. If he cant debate and work on the economy how on earth can he run a country??

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

    MCShame delaying the debate to work on the Economy? That is a bunch of crock! This guy is looking for any excuse to delay the debate. You have the house, senate, many other advisors and congressional leaders to work on the issue of the Economy why does he have to delay the debate.

    Why, you ask? McLoser isn't ready for the debate. He knows he will lose because he knows nothing about anything.

    Why would he help with issues with the Economy. He has even said on national television that the Economy isn't his thing. Hell, I will go to work on the Economy in his place. I am much more qualified because although I can't see Russia from my bedroom window I know I am better with numbers because I know how many homes I have.



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

    Just a suggestion:

    They should come together Friday at the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Do I hear a chicken clucking?

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

    Sarah Palin is right where she is most comfortable being. If she was opposed to the so called Sexist treatment, she should say so. She doesn't, because she is in her element.

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

    He is not ready to debate Barack Obama! He is posturing. Go Chris Dodd. You can tell McCain that you have the crisis in hand and that McCain support of deregulation over the years is the catalyst of this problem. Do not let McCain come into Washington trying to look presidential. This is what he wants. He is down in the polls and the American people think that he is not in control of his campaign.

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

    This is political grandstanding, nothing more, nothing less.

    Neither McCain nor Obama are members of the banking committee and the banking committee is the group that should be deciding this – they're the ones who are actually the experts on this.

    Neither one should suspend their campaigns. They both have important jobs to do – talking to the American people and helping us make one of the most important decisions we have to make in choosing the next President of the United States.

    McCain's request to suspend the debate is a slap in my face. It tells me he doesn't have enough respect for me to actually bother to speak to me. Instead, he wants to hole up with his cronies in Washington.

    September 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Independents For McCain

    Now thats what you call a leader. He is making a decision to work on the economy instead of what may get him elected.

    Obama – An empty suit saying anything he can to get elected. A man with no backbone and will not take a stance on anything unless its going to get him votes.

    McCain – A battle tested leader who puts his country first.

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


    September 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 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