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. Cultured Redneck

    Finally one of the candidates is actually doing something. Good to see McCain call for a joint effort from both sides to get on this economy crisis. That is called leadership people. And you do not see that coming from the Obama camp. I am sure they will try to turn this into a negative for McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Janice

    He should suspend his campaign to learn more about the economy!! take sarah with you!

    No way don't cancel the debates!

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Rod G

    Can he speak and hold a fork at the same time? What does suspending a campaign have to do with this?

    The great multitasker. Stall...stall...stall...until he can pull the wool over our eyes.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Jeff

    So McCain wants to postphone the debate to go back to Washington to legislate on the new bridge to nowhere – the U.S. economy? LOL – that's lots of laughs Senator McCain. Great after the fact timing RepubliCONS...straightening the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.

    Enough IS Enough !

    WHITE MALE HOCKEY DAD Obama/ Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Kofi

    Obama intiated this call and wanted them to do it together. But Mccain for political reason took the idea and run with it. Obama Camp will release phone calls that shows how real mcain is.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. carter0915

    Are you kidding me? Why is Mccain calling in sick to school the day of the test? Sad.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Kevin Stevens

    Anyone else believe this is a political move? Maybe McCain is falling apart and needs time to re-focus his campaign. This is something the American people do not need. We are trying to elect a new leader and cannot intelligently do so if they do not debate and talk about the issues with the American people. Lets have the debate on Friday and instead of talking about Foreign Policy make the subject of the debate the Economy.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. MadTownBurt

    This is a ploy by McCain.

    He needs more time to study for the debate. Just like faking sick to miss the big test at school.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. Defining Moment

    Running scared McLame?!? Run all you want ... all the way back to Wasilla or Panama!

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Stacy Clarks, TX




    BRING THE MCCAIN OF 2000 BACK!!!!!!!!!


    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Angie

    We need to see the debate as scheduled, becouse of so many states already holding early voting just like my state of georgia and are trying to make a decision so that we won,t have to wait until November, when the lines at the polls will be long.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    no.... DEBATES SHOULD STAY ON... don't give MCcain a chance to regroup


    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. barbara from upstate NY

    I agree that both of them should be back for the vote. I do think McCain is grandstanding, though. I don't think the debate should be delayed. We need to hear these two discuss the issues.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. tyler durden

    I think McCain is scared he'll get owned in the debate, which would undoubtedly center around the economy...

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. jim hawkins

    That is total Bull**** Just another way for mcbush to run away from
    problems..When is the last time he voted on anything ??He can't debate and his runningmate is clueless..Wake up media can't you
    see what they are trying to do...Stonewall mcbush !!!

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    DO NOT DELAY THE DEBATES!!! Emergencies will always pop up but we can not delay the election and as such, should not push back the debates. They will provide us with the clearest distinctions between the two candidates and allow all Americans to make informed decisions about their presidential choices.

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Christy CT

    Obama called McCain at 8:30 am...what time did McCain make a speech saying that it was all his idea?

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. John McCain

    Hahahah I strike again!!! Me likey America!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Smells Like Moose patties

    OMG! Gramps is completely backing out of it. Again hiding behind the Flag,Patroitism,POW,Veteran status or a womans skirt.

    Come on HERO! Be brave Lil Bush has got this,right? You cared about the Economy for the past 8 years,right? You admitted that you know didly about the Economy,right? You think because you invented the McBlueberry that you can save us now,right?

    Get real...You have insulted me and ALL OF AMERICA with your Lies,Dirty Ads,Disgusting Tactics,Pandering for support, and now you are a coward?

    Palin cant speak to the Media and face the Nation.Now you run away and hide? Are you both scared of questions or the answers that you have to give?

    What kind of LEADERSHIP is this? Presidential-NOT! Not even worthy of being a bankrupt wall Street CEO...uhhhhh.

    Obama-Biden are REAL,you fake fraudulent imposters!

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. denise

    john mccain is dirty he is trying to make it seem like he came up with this idea first when he wasn't also all he wants to do is garner votes – acting like he is the only one who can solve the probelm – he is running from the debate....I just want the debate to be honest and fair and those republicans are dirty old politicians who are hypocrites

    September 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Julia Hangs

    Part of fixing the economy is the american people making an informed decison about future leadership. It shouldn't be an either-or.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. GCG - Austin, TX

    I read this more closely, now I get it. OBAMA made the first request for a joint message about the importance of crossing party lines, and MCSAME is trying to steal the limelight on that.

    Why am I not surprised.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Dave in Indy

    Wow...took McCain 6 hours to respond. Wonder if it took him that long to figure out how to retrieve his voicemail? Good to see them working together on getting this mess straightened out.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Gabriel

    This leaves me speechless...really? oh man. Yes, the economy is in dire straits but this is the same guy who thought it was doing ok just a few weeks this really happening? wow.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Go Dems

    Looks like some "one-upmanship" by McCain. Obama calls FIRST to ask for bipartisan cooperation through a joint press release and McCain takes it one step further. McCain is desperate for any positive momentum. It won't change the outcome of the election November 4. Go Obama/Biden!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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