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. S. Boatman

    Mccain Is Sacred! Ha Ha Ha! Dont Run Away Now Mccain!

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Diamond from Florida

    its a stunt

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Stephen in Red Bluff

    This financial crisis aside, life in America goes on. There is still a very important future to be decided. Bailing out on your campaign is a total copout.

    I realize McCain has a difficult time with modern technolgy, but he IS aware of telephones, Internet, fax machines, etc.? There are SEVERAL ways to keep yourself in the battle on Capitol Hill AND in this very important presidential race.

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. W O W WO W

    G---–C O U N T R Y----F I R S T


    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. brad

    I think this is serious enough to warrant that move. Probably more serious than the average person knows.

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Former PUMA

    He knows he's losing. Unfortunately if Obama doesn't go too, he will be chastised by the McCain camp. Hey McCan, here's an option, how about you and Obama go to congress and get some work done., and Palin Biden can debate Friday instead, maybe they can hold a joint news conference with a q&a afterwards..... Oh wait, that's right, Palin doesn't answer questions, ooopps I forgot....

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. jos-bam

    MCSame is running away...the polls are very bad for him..that is why he is trying to quit for a while to get some fresh air !!

    No Obama doesn't have to agree !!!

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Brian

    political BS – that's all this is. nothing more and nothing less. 9 points down let's throw a hail mary!

    September 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Ed

    Oooh... it's on like donkey kong! Checkmate, Obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Thanks, but no thanks, McSame.

    I tried to have an open mind and I did my homework on both candidates. If he constantly lies to the public, how can we trust him once he is running our country? I smell a rat with this announcement.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. JO-ANN


    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Concerned Voter

    That doesn't change the fact that he's losing, and President Bush should be under criminal charges at this point for all of the crimes he has committed and allowed during his 8 years in office. I think Obama is intelligent enough to be able to work on the crisis, and continue his campaign...although "Old Tymer McCain" probably doesn't know how to multi-task without getting confused.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. wait a minute

    Senator McCain: Please give a call to Dr. Ron Paul as soon as possible.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Mark G

    Too afraid to face Obama in the debate and looking for any excuse. Nice ploy, but it won't work. People are starting to see behind his campaigns dirty tactics and the truth will come out. McCain won't let Palin talk to the press and now he won't face Obama in a debate. hmmmm...wonder why...

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Ryan in Michigan

    Uncontested Obama? OK, I'll take that 🙂

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Scott L

    Wise man, looking out for Americans before himself...

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Karen

    Hot air and political grandstanding. Spare us. Get on with the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Jos/TN

    i need my debt wiped out while the elite is saving the elite, mine is small in comparison

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. ines

    Get real, McCain. America knows why he wants to stop the campaign. His momentum is plummenting as fast as the stock market.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Sue in MI

    I must say, this is a good call. I wish Obama had stepped forward first. Politics must take a backseat to this crisis.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. R.I.F.

    So he looked at the polls that are coming out today and figured that he needed another Palin-like hail mary. This guy spent 26 years in Washington calling for deregulation of the markets and now he's soooo concerned. We don't need the same people who got us into this mess now try to fix it. Especially with $700 billion of taxpayer's money.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Jeremy Mandle


    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Jess

    Let's get on with the is sinking to new low by playing politics...

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Susan

    This appears to be grandstanding on the part of McCain. He is not on the banking committee and is needed there only for his vote. I truly believe he is not ready to debate the issues, and is putting his defeciencies before that of the country. There is no reason that he and Obama cannot go to vote on the plan and then fly to the debates. He is useless on economics as it is! This is a BS play by McCain!

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Lin lin

    Snake; snake , snake; whats there to convene when YOOUR PARTY IS THE ONE THE ON EWHO CAUSED THIS TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He is running scared...the American people want and need to know how you are going to soleve the issue ina debate against another opponent cant handle it I suppose

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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