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. precious

    John McCain has always put his country first, even before his own Life. That is a man of good deed.

    May God continue to bless him to be 100 years old.

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

    McCain suspending the debate comes to show voters that he is not ready to discuss the issues with Obama. The excuse for the financial crisis is his way of being a chicken.. running with his head chop off.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Suspend the campaigns to deal with the financial crisis ... yes!

    Delay the debate ... NO!

    This is an opportunity for the nation to see how both McCain and Obama can multi-task when the heat is on!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Moderate for O

    Wow......That's all I can say

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

    Like they need McCain's economic expertise to solve the current problem . . .

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Tired of W, OH

    Of course it's a good thing to do. Would McCain have proposed this if his poll numbers weren't lagging? No, I don't think so.

    What I read from this all:
    Obama privately contacted McCain at 8:30am with the proposal of issuing a joint statement, but McCain chose to under-cut Obama and grand-stand publicly with this proposal to suspend the campaign. How ironic, attempting to gain political points by suspending politics.


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

    Just another publicity stunt...

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

    re: the speech Senator McCain just gave, which you broadcast:
    this is really great. i so admire both he and Senator Obama for the way they are responding to the bailout issue, by joining together to do what is best for all Americans. Please, please, news media – do not make any big deal over who got in touch with whom first – lets stick to the substance of this matter and not the little petty things that set people off. i have hated this campaign season, with the nasty, sniping ads from both sides, many of which are blatantly not true and designed to make people who are not well informed frightened of the other candidate. Now, refreshingly, we have two candidates acting like they truly care about what is happening to the American people.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Linda in AZ

    E-mail everyone involved with the debate and let them know WHAT YOU WANT..

    Our next POTUS needs to be able to handle more than one issue at a time, 90 minutes for a debate, please.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Lisa Seattle

    Joe Biden just skewered McCain in his foreign policy speech. McCain is down in every poll. The bubble that McCain has tried to put around Palin is about to burst. So now, he must "suspend his campaign to help the public" with the problem that he was instrumental in creating. Brilliant chess move in his part, but it is also a ploy that I hope all of the American people can see through.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Mary Ann

    Give me a break. He had to cancel a 2 hour debate on Friday evening! Why can't he just fly back to DC afterwards? I had a bet going something would come and he would cancel since he's so out of touch and knows Obama will wipe up the floor with him. And the other shock, he mentioned 9/11 again..I can't believe he didn't mention his prisoner of war status too. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout:
    McCain's new campaign slogan.

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

    John McCain is a man of action. And that's what American's expect in a crisis..

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

    I think McCain is using this as an excuse to avoid the debate because he is looking so bad in the polls right now! If they want to stop campaigning for a while, fine. But, I want the debate to still be held this Friday!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Carol in Durham, Maine

    What a great political move on McCains part. Obama quietly extends his hand to biPartisan move, and McCain has a news conference to 'look ' like it is all his doing. He is even using the words Obama used in his press conference last week.

    Gotta give him credit ; shrewd move. Of course he wants to cancel the debate, because he can't juggle more than one thing at a time and he's slipping on the economy that he helped to shape for many years as king of 'deregulation' and Gramm chair of the banking committee .

    Is he even on this committee? No. It is all a show. Typical.

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

    This does not sound right to me. So many undecided voters have been expressing for weeks that this debate will help them determine who they will lean towards and now McCain wants to postpone it? My concern is that when it's Palin's turn to debate with Biden, will McCain have her postpone that debate as well for whatever reason? This financial crisis is currently being dealt with, why do we need to delay this important debate? Maybe I'm wrong, but this doesn't make sence to me.

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

    I bet he is ,does not want Palin talking to the press anymore. LOL

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

    I say go ahead and suspend, but do not postpone the scheduled Debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. shirley "60"

    McCain you have not been concerned about showing up in the Congress very much lately, or if you did , you voted wrong. If you think this stunt somehow makes you look more presidential and delays the thoughts that Americans have about the mess that you helped to create for the last 8 years, you are sadly mistaken. Where were you when kids(S-Chip), women(equal pay), and veterans(benefits) needed your help?

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

    This is a bait! Surely, a presidential nominee can multi-task. Please, don't fall for this, Obama! There's enough talking heads dealing with the crisis. 90 minutes of debate shouldn't be too long!

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. GG NYC

    McSame is Scared. That's all.

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

    This is a gimmick to jump-start a [yet again] faltering campaign, nothng else. Senator McCain just now noticed the economic crisis? Or was it his poll numbers he saw?

    September 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. NJ tomato

    Good idea Obama – "I would rather you lose the campaign then lose the money of hard-working American people."

    -Obama '08, '12, Hilary '16, '20

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

    what a crap move!!
    obama calls about a joint statement, instead he jumps the line.
    obama should keep going. and debate!!

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

    McCain has chicken out.

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