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)

    Sure, McCrypt needs more time to find the "Iraqi/Afghanistan" border!

    Also, here is a question to all the ditto heads bashing Obama for using a teleprompter.

    When McCrypt gives a speech and he keeps looking down, is he checking to see if Mr. Winky is still functional?

    Probably, but he is also looking at his speech on 3 x 5 note cards, circa 1958!

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Matt from Mesa, Arizona

    You just don't know what you're gonna say at the debates!

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

    of course obama will, he does what he's told.

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

    Pathetic political stunt! It's a little late now to "work on" the economy- all he needs to do is vote "yes" or "no" on the bailout plan.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. voter1

    Should be able to handle two things at once. Being the President of the United States requires more than one train of thought!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Shari, NY

    I am all for unity is times of crises but I am a bit leery of Mr. McCain's motives due to the past incidences of theft of ideas.

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Mikki, Washington, DC

    I guess Senator McCain wasn't ready for the debate so it he thought of an ingenius way to postpone it and deflect the nation's attention from the fact that most people do not trust him to fix the nation's economic woes. It's interesting that he waited until now to ask for the postponement rather than earlier when the news first broke that the Wall Street was heading for a breakdown. I hope he uses the extra time to study issues and prepare for the debates.

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

    Could be be frightened of something (like loosing the debate)?

    Is there anything he can do personally to save the economy? Really... This is just a way to make points: if Obama refuses to suspend his campaign and refuses to postpone the debate, he looks bad... Man, McCain just put Obama into check mate!

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. McLame/Failin' 08

    I thought that the economy was fundamentally strong, McCain. Why do you need to suspend your campaign now? Is it because you are trailing in the polls?

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

    Why won't you take my comment CNN?

    Don't delay the debate. A President should be able to handle multiple tasks. Do you need to take a nap McCain?

    Senator Obama is kicking your a– and you are not prepared for the debate on Friday. The American voter should not have to wait.

    CNN publish this........................

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

    What is McCain trying to pull now??? He has nothing good to contribute to this mess we are in that he, Bush and the rest of the Repigs created so he wants to get out of the debate and not have to face facts that he is a lying loser.

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

    ... or in other words.... I need more time to prepare for the debate because I am way out of my league!

    September 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Al, NY NY

    Oh for the love of........ what next? He is obviously not ready since his prep for the debate was clearly flawed from reports given yesterday so now he comes up with some lame excuse and cover story. Is this supposed to make him look responsible for economic issues??? What a laugh

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Lynn Gaulin

    McCain is pulling a political gimmick because of the polls showing him losing on the economic issue. This is the time, more than any other, that Americans need to hear from both of these candidates on the issues of the day. Neither is President nor a key player in this economic mess at this time so debate MUST go on.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. len Smith

    WHY, This has been coming for over a year and most of us were aware of it. What can McCain do about it, since he knows little or nothing about the economy. As to postponing the debate, why , it is in the works and needs to be done. Is he unprepared, does the teacher postpone the test if a student is unprepared???

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. LIP

    Finally, someone placing his country before all else. Let's solve the problem and then we can get back to politics as usual.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    The real question is, why is McCain afraid to debate Obama? I think he must have realized that Obama was about to draw and quarter him over his half truths, false statements, and poor judgement on several fronts.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. Tired of the Liberal Spin!!!

    Wow, a Republican response to a crisis – Get BOTH parties involved in a solution.

    Looks about right – Obama wants to get together on 9/11 to put on a nice little show of remembrance, and McCain wants to stop the bickering and get together to resolve something.

    Come on Libs, let's hear you whine and complain about this one!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. AT

    Seriously? This is the guy who on Monday was saying that the fundamentals of our economy are weak? This is bull! Clearly the man is not ready for the debate and this is his way of stalling. He does not need to work on the economy...such bs.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Jason

    when you're president, you can't just call "pause". It is a job of multi- tasking. McCain can do both, he just wants to get Obama out of the offensive position.....there is no reason he can't address the economy and participate in a debate. maybe we should send a memo to North Korea and ask that they hold off on their nuclear ambitions while we get our economy straightened out? is he kidding?

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. Best News of the DAY!

    Political stunt. he's desperate.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. Gloria

    He's running scared!!! He wants to look like he's doing something about this crisis...when in fact he is clueless!!! He doesn't want to take the chance that he will be questioned about this issue at the Friday debate.

    Go Obama

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. NOSS

    The first act of leadership is to bring the differing factions to the table for the greater good of the country.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. cph9680

    I guess Obama wins by default then! Knew we'd win – one way or another

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Kristina, Seattle

    Well McSame does need to buy all the time he can get to brush up on his understanding of economics...

    But what a lame publicity stunt.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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