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. Alex

    oh please DON'T postpone!

    Debate is just only for ONE NIGHT for you to stand up and present yourself to your country!

    Is he really afraid of making himself looks like a fool in front of huge television audience or is he just not really prepared for Debate yet?

    how laughable... I feel sorry for him already.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Bacusla

    IT IS CALLED cold feet!
    It may be delayed with all good intentions, but it will not be cancelled.

    Vote Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Tim - A Moderate from TN

    So...Who's going to say it was my idea first? Nevermind that they are still collecting salaries to be Senators first. Why should they even have to confer with each other to do the job they were elected for in the first place. I really wish there was a viable candidate other than these two.

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. SEA

    What is McCain thinking, that he is the Super Hero that will solve all the problems, HE is the one that will rescue America from this mess which he has contributed too. Fine, if that is his choice but why does Obama have to do what he does? Like he (McCain) has blamed some of the recent woes on Obama's refusal to accept his offer for Town Hall debate, he obviously believes that if I dictate the program Obama should follow I can convince the American people that I'm the "best" to be President...unbelievable. And what does the debate have to do with going to Washington. IN THE MODERN AGE OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION, McCain can use webcast, telephone, conference call or duh, his straight talk express airplane and be in Washington if needed faster than Bush can say "Mission Accomplished".

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Rodger

    So now we hear it was Obama who call McCain 8 hour earlier to issue a joint message with their support of their common agreements for this bill. 4 hours later McCain agrees for a joint statement...two hours later McCain makes his statement! McCain has to go along the the Democrats so he doesn't lose all 50 states.
    His changes have caused these problems. Obama brought them up two years ago when the disasters began in the home foreclosures, now we have McCain's attention. Too late, out of touch, will he ever get it?

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. A-Man

    McCain does it again. Obama makes a move of gesture inviting McCain to work together and McCain makes an immediate public statement as if it was him. YOU KNOW WHAT, I REALLY LIKED MCCAIN UNTIL I GOT TO KNOW HIM. Not sure if it is him or his string pullers, but this guy has no ethics, morals, or any other attribute a person would want in a leader or friend. This guy is just slime. I also think the gov't needs more high profile woman, but it would be better of drawing straws for a woman off the street then Palin. Not sure what strings were pulled for her to become governor of Alaska but she is realy brutal as a best foot forward by a woman in poitics, just brutal. So many better choices.

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

    Sounds like he sees the writing on the wall, he is desperate and will do anything to try to make the American people think he truly cares about them. Just more of his lies.

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


    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. C F

    McCain's statement should end with: "I'm John McCain and I approve this message."

    This is a cynical, self-serving political ploy on the part of the McCain campaign, pure and simple.

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

    We don't need Mr. McCain nor Mr. Obama in Washington right now if it means their face to face meeting at Friday's debate is postponed. As our presidential candidates I want to see them together discussing our country's problems and how they think those problems can be addressed. There are already a great many people in Washington dealing with the economic mess. I suspect this proposal, to postpone the debate, was cooked up by Mr. McCains advisors [a little late in the day, if you ask me] to make him appear "concerned" about Main Street. It seems to me a rather transparent smoke screen. I'm sure they're worried about the debate, since the economy isn't one of Mr. McCain's strong suits. I hope the Obama camp insists the debate be held as scheduled.

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

    That sounds like a guy who is not very confident in his chances.
    Will he quit when things get hard if he becomes president

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

    NO No No , Don't cancel the Debate Obama, 2 hours on TV will not help or hurt the economy by any means.. It's a set-up from the Repub camp, becasue McCain, Knows he his fighting a losing battle...

    DO NOT Cancel The Debate!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Independent for McCain

    What McCain doing is correct, deal with the country's financial crisis first. That is what McCain always says COUNTRY FIRST. Obama should also suspend campaign calls and delay first debate. Saving the country is more important than the debate. COUNTRY FIRST AND SELF SECOND

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Arkansas Undertaker

    SOunds to me like McCain got cold feet.This crisis has been going on for the past 9 days and now 2 days before the first debate he is so concerned about this financial crisis that the Republicans got us into in the first place.

    NIce try McCain but no thanks!!!

    Obamam/Biden 2008

    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. DJ



    September 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. sDao

    my admiration for senator mccain.

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

    This is such a gimmick...

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. MB from MA

    I hope this happens, and I hope we honestly don't hear from them for a couple of days. Besides the fact that the entire country could use a break from the bickering, seeing the two of them actually work to fix the country instead of just talking about it is a lot more valuable to the American voter than a sound-bite debate. One nation, indivisible right?

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Adam

    It comes as no surprise to me that someone who has done nothing for months but throw mud (John McCain) would take an idea pitched to him by someone who has already put parties aside on more than one occasion and act as if this sudden revelation was his great plan for "reaching out". McCain supporters have constantly been saying "he's such a maverick", "he shoots from the hip". He has changed nearly everything he originally started his campaign with, and aligned himself with what Obama has been saying the whole time. My question is, in the event that America cannot wake up and see what is really going on here, where is McCain going to lead this country, without Obama to lead him????

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. GCG - Austin, TX

    This SOUNDS like the right thing to do, but I have to wonder if this is just a clever plan to defray all the negative talk about this campaign and trying to act presidential. Since their campaign has lied about so much else, I wouldn't put it past them.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Ilene


    This is McCain running scared. Now that McCain helped kill the economy he want's to look "presidential." I'm sorry, but it won't work.

    I WANT MY DEBATE ON FRIDAY NIGHT. No postponements to make McCain look good.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. Mista Dabalina

    I used to pretend I was sick to get out of exams in High School.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Obamacrat

    As much as it pains me to say, McCain is right, we need to get to get, end the bickering about who is/says what, and get this thing solved, and solved right. It's one of those "now or never" things. Either we get it done right and it works, or we do nothing or do it wrongly and it fails miserably. We are in dire straights right now, and we need to do SOMETHING to solve it.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. susieq2

    At what point is the media going to start questioning Sen McCain pattern of rash, unilateral and unneccesary announcements?

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Liberal & Proud

    Let's just call this what it is. McCain just isn't prepared to debate Obama and he is stalling. I guess I would be afraid to go up against Obama to.

    September 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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