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. Wake up People

    This is a ploy! McCain is not ready to go head to head with Obama and his campaign is falling apart around him with people getting wise to Sarah Palin and Rick Davis once again being exposed as the liar that he is. $15,000 per month for consulting through last month from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You mean that when my tax dollars are spent on the bailout, they will be contributed to the McCain Campaign by way of its manager.

    NO WAY! NO HOW! NO MCCAIN/PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Let McCain go to Washington. Let Obama play this little game.
    THEN move the debate to Washington. If McCain doesn't play things as such, he's chicken, and definitely not fit to be the President of the United States of America.

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

    MCCAIN ISN'T FOOLING ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




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

    Impressive. Except the bailout is a terrible, terrible idea. I really hope they don't decide to give my money away to these companies. I mean, are they going to bail me out when I'm in trouble? And I'm not even making bad financial decisions!

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

    This is truly ridiculous!!! What's next, delaying the election altogether?!! Can't McCain walk and chew gum at the same time? Apparently not.

    September 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. karen-phoenix

    This is a cop out by McCain!!!! He needs to get out of the race completely!!!! McCain is responsible for the this whole mess all the way back to the Keating 5 savings and loan bail out when he should have gone to jail. He has been head of the commerce commission and he deregulated all the rules that were put in place after the 1929 crash!!! McCain NEEDS to go to jail this time and Cindy's money CAN NOT buy is way out!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. mjc


    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Jim from PA

    You got to be kidding me right. He picks a loser. And now he runs from a democrat. You just lost my vote and confidence.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Obama Georgia

    McCain is not prepared for the debate...plain and simple.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Cam

    A good political move for McCain. It's too bad he has destroyed his campaign with lies and boneheaded moves (like picking Palin).

    He is obviously trying to show leadership and while some will see this, others will question his sincerity, preferring to say he is pandering to appear Presidential. He brought that criticism on himself by running a very bad campaign that has seriously diminished his credibility as an honest and sincere candidate.

    I think both should go back to Washington and work on this, and who cares who called who first. It really doesn't matter.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Jerry D

    Hate to be the first to say this, but I am sure if McCain were up by 10 points, he would not be asking for this "time out" from the campaign.
    He stands to gain nothing from stopping the campaign, he does however stand to lose the election with the debate tomorrow.
    Lets see where this plays out

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. V

    I don't trust McCain. He is upto something

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. mitchell

    why postpone the debate? we're not going to delay the election,too, are we? he may just not be prepared. he's afraid of barack.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Charles Johnson

    McCain is unable to multi-task. What else is new? Obama was correct in calling McCain in an attempt to work through the financial meltdown. But for McCain to try and weasel out of the upcoming debate on Friday just goes to clearly show that he is not ready to lead this country in times of crisis. Where are the McCain economic advisors to help him. Oh, right, he's fired them all.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. What?!?!

    I've been waiting for weeks for this debate. Are you kidding me? It's a few hours. Give me a break!

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. arc, Lugano CH

    You simply cannot trust McCain. He is a proven liar. He doesn’t care about helping the American people.

    It is odd how he chooses to ‘suspend’ his campaign on the same day that he fell significantly behind Senator Obama in polls focused on the economy.

    Another trick by McCain & Palin.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. OR1

    No, no, no! We need the debate on Fri and see you loosing. You can run but you can't hide, McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    McCain is setting Obama up-trying to run from the debate on Friday where
    he knows he'll be swamped by playing oh so ever patriotic to the cause.
    He knows nothing of economics so surely noone would consider anything
    he says. If debates are held after the attempted cure is affected then
    McCain will tout he "fixed the problem". Under no circumstance should
    the debate be postponed even if it meant being held in Washington and
    let Lehrer and Obama go there.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Expat in Canada

    So wait, I thought the fundamentals of the economy were strong? And now he's putting his campaign on hold? If anything, the fundamentals of the McCain campaign are about as strong as Wall Street investment firms.

    I know McCain's trying to look proactive in an attempt to convey to the public that he knows what he's doing, and to do so ahead of Obama, but he just highlights the fact that he rushes to judgement with random, out-of-the-blue decisions. Not very presidential.

    If anything, he's stalling because his poll numbers are sliding, he's not ready to debate, and suspending the campaign would give him an excuse to hide Palin away for a little longer.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. kendall

    political pandering at its finest, he's not going to do anything more speical than what congress can do without him, he's not ready to debate so he wants to go to Washington for the photos,lets talk issues, time is of the essense on both fronts

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. RH

    McCain's running scared from the debate. I mean, McCain is Mr. Economy, right? Not only does he complain about the rules and format until they're changed to his satisfaction, now he's not even going to show? Pathetic. There are simply no words to describe my contempt for this scumbag.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. CapoCastillo

    translation: i'm not ready for the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. BlogBully

    the right thing to do but, don't be fooled, done for deeply political purposes and personal benefit .... let's see if he actually commands any grasp of the situation because his track record demonstrates he hasn't

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. CP-Texas

    Stall tactic, he's not prepared.............

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Lance

    He is trying to buy time to:
    – Avoid attention on Rick Davis $15K/mon paid by Fannie Mae.
    – Put a break on the economy discussion that put him on defensive.

    Ridiculous. This is not football game. You can't take a time-out.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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