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. Gal, Ohio

    He just wants to stop the Obama campaigns momentum and give the lipstick lady more time to study.

    No thanks, bring on the debate i've already taken the day off work.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Dman

    great job mccain! avoid the debate!

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Edward

    I think the Obama campaign will do the same. Both candidates keep talking about a bi-partisan bill to bring about the type of economic help our financial system needs. Well here's their chance to stop talking and actually take action and lead. Wouldn't it be a great show of unity for both senators to spend ONE WEEKEND in Washington trying to achieve just that?

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Lois

    Dear Senator, From your crackpot ideas and statements you have made since this hit the fan, I really don't think that your cooworkers really want you back on the Hill. Obama sure can help, I think he must go back. You need to relax and rest.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Kenneth Florey

    Why am I suspicious that this may be a political stunt? Two new polls came out today from both Fox News and ABC suggesting an Obama surge. If McCain can't attend the debate because of the crisis, why is he attending Bill Clinton's economic conference on Thursday? Since Friday's debate is on foreign policy, Senator McCain presumably should not need any prep time, since he has been a Senator for twenty-six years and should be up on all of the issues. He could "work on the crisis" and still find time to debate. I really object to Senator McCain's manipulation of the political process.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. awaiting moderation

    So it turns out that Obama called McCain first to try and get McCain to work together. Now McCain get's in front of the cameras and tries to play politics.

    I wouldn't vote for McCain is he was the last candidate on the planet. This guy is so shameless. I'm sick of him playing politics!!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. kim

    Coward! Another lame attempt by the McCain camp.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Molly Weasley

    John McCain, who has admitted repeatedly that economics isn't his strong point, hasn't attended a Senate session since April. He's been floundering for some kind of coherant economic message for over a week. His campaign chair and the head of his transition team have been shown to be either Freddy-Fannie lobbyists or getting paid to be on the inside of the McCain campaign. And he expects us to take this seriously?

    I think his campaign "suspension" has more to do with how poorly he's doing in the polls, and how he wants to avoid taking any questions about his advisors' economic lobbying ties than his taking any real leadership.

    The American people have been waiting to see these two candidates go one-on-one so they can make a judgment. Sorry, McCain - you're losing.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Micheal shoemac

    It was Obamas Idea fist ... he called him ay 8:30 this morning and asked that they make a joint statment ..... McCain stole the idea,,,,

    Cnn report it right ...the Idea was Obamas

    i Hate McCain

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Zman

    Kind of smart move but we are not dumb we saw you coming; ok oldman?
    You and palin are trying to gain time to study.
    It is just a shame you have been doing all this just because you want to win an election.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. cann

    When you are down 9 points with 6 weeks left, and you have deregulated your party into a ditch and are hiding your Veep choice, little wonder you want to cancel everything. Its obvious McCain/Palin need time to regroup and rehearse.


    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Bibek

    Need more time to prepare? We know you very well McSame.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. OBAMA/BIDEN 08


    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Just last week the economy was fundamentally strong.

    Straight talk…if you're scared, then say you're scared!

    Did he really invoke 9/11 again!

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. John J.

    McCain, you do realize that Congress has been working on this for the past week right? You are only just now calling for a meeting of Congress to work on this?

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Jan in CA

    Feels political...maybe it is a stall tactic because there is so much flack going on about Palin with trooper gate, lack of credentials and women starting to get furious because he treats her like an idiot incapable of speaking for herself unscripted. God knows the economy needs help and since one of them will be president, they need to be involved, but whey didn't they stand together in the first place if this isn't a political stunt???

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. mk

    So if McCain were president and we were facing a crisis would he stop being president to deal with things.
    He really should be able to deal with his campaign committment AND this crisis at the same time if he is truly planning on running this country.
    You don't get to stop being president where crisis comes calling.
    Seems to me this is the TRUEST test of his ability to handle the grueling work of being president.

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. SDW

    Oh, please! McCain is full of crap! Now, he so concerned about the economy and wants to "delay" the debate. Are you scared Mcgramps or are you just looking for browning points?? Sounds like a little of both to me!

    Go Obama! 08

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Andy in Charlotte, NC

    All of a sudden the familiar "fundamentals of the economy are strong" quote isn't true? And where was he before this crisis actually hit?

    Let's get rid of the IRS and stop the Federal Reserve from printing money out of thin air!

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Alston

    Obama's idea .. McCain's taking the glory

    Americans should show in Nov whether they can be conned easily by McCain or are smart enough to pick Obama

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Alison, FL

    what a load of garbage!

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Caryn, Washington DC

    Is McCain serious? I couldn't think of a better time for the candidates to talk about the issues (something that was conspicuously absent until this economic crisis).

    I guess it's too much for McCain to admit that he's not prepared to debate Obama. I suppose if Obama doesn't agree to this, McCain will rail on about Obama putting his campaign ahead of the interests of the American people.


    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. James Carville

    ----–—————————————————>> COUNTRY FIRST

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. john

    good political move

    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Eke Kalu

    What took John McCain this long? Why does he think without him in Washington the issue won't be fixed? He needs to quit playing and trying to score political point and get back to his campaigning. He just wants to act as if he is troubled by what is going on.

    To solve this crisis successfully, poor folk like me need their student loans clean up and John McCain do not understand that as he had no student loans.


    September 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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