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. AP (ATL)

    Sounds like grand-standing to me.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. california voter

    Just another of McCains campaign ploy, he wants to look like a
    leader and make Obama look as though he's not as intrested in
    our country as he is. Why delay the debates, can't he do both?

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. bama

    John Mclame is panic now and he try to put on a show that he cares.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Richard

    After all his complaining about Obama not accepting his invitation to town hall meetings, why does McCain want to postpone a debate now?

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. ADG

    I think Mccain is chicken , he is worried hes going to do bad at the debate . If he cant handle the debates and what is going on at the same time makes me think he is not ready to run are country ! being pres, means multytasking. go back to bed Mccain obama can handle things from here.!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. javone77

    How convenient lol

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Sam I Am

    This is a stunt. In barroom bouncer lingo, it's called an "attitude interrupt." McCain is behind in the polls in nearly every swing state, and he knows he doesn't have the answers to face Obama in the debates, so he wants to stop the clock and give Obama's momentum time to fade. He also wants to delay things so the public will forget about things he's said, such as "our economy is strong and sound."

    That is ALL this is, and nothing else. Obama and McCain can both do more good staying on the campaign trail and swapping their ideas about managing this situation. If McCain had the momentum on his side, then these delaying tactics would be the last thing he'd do. With only a month and a half until elections, it's flat-out stupid to suspend campaigns when all either of them would have to contribute is a single vote in the Senate. McCain should be ashamed of himself for pulling this cheap, completely-transparent political stunt. McCain's campaign is a JOKE.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Tracy

    I smell a rat.....................

    After 26 years of towing the Republican line I wonder why he wants to be so suddenly involved? I thought the fundamentals were strong? Now the economy is so bad we need to come together like we did after 9-11???? Maybe they figure this is a way to get him to stop talking and making gaffes on a daily basis. Or maybe they want to stop the momentum Obama has gotten from this crisis.

    Again, I smell a rat............... I do not for one second believe he is doing this for the benefit of the country. He is doing this for the benefit of his campaign. But now Obama really has no choice but to go along- if he refuses, then he doesn't care. If he goes along and votes in a way different than McCain, he has given McCain fuel for thousands of negative ads (which I KNOW he will put out). Any comment made by Obama on the Senate floor will be used against Obama in later ads.

    Final thought- I do not want McCain anywhere near these talks- I don't care that he is a senator and yes I know he has a right to be there. However, Mr. Deregulator helped create this situation and I am afraid of what he will do to the so-called bailout package. I fear he will do whatever he can to protect Wall Street and not the little guy.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. barbara

    Perfect timing. McCain is using a crisis to stop the momentum that Obama has going. Maybe he isn't as prepared as he should be.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Dylan

    It's a political stunt, we're not fooled McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Len in Washington

    I don't think this has anything to do with Obama.
    I think that the Republican Party is very close to splitting over the Bail Out proposal and McCain knows that if that occurs, he will certainly lose this election. His theatrics here are geared toward holding his Party together not this nation.

    He can't work by phone or video conferencing? Give me a break.
    He's running scared now.

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Another Republican for Obama


    This is nothing but a distraction from McCain to stop the bleeding.

    We have people in the White House right now, running things...That's why we're voting them out and Obama and team in!

    BTW, what economic knowledge does McCain have to contribute to the ongoing crisis? Lame!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Richard A. Spomer

    That move is one of the most Honorable choices for any Presidential candidate to do in the face of calamity which is befalling the greatest country on the face of the earth.



    September 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I doubt suspension/rescheduling the debates with McCain will be seen as a problem for Obama.

    No doubt...Obama detests the debate forum and town hall formats–unless all the questions are from allies.

    Without a telprompter–he's a lost man.

    I'm sure he'll approve cancelling and rescheduling the debates so he may be free to join McCain in Washington as a Senator–helping fix the financial crisis legislation that is going to be "rubber stamped" by our congress and senate.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Mike Dallas

    Suspending the campaign is fine, but no need to postpone the debates, because Obama is the one supposedly needing prep, not McCain, so, if Obama wants the debates, then they should happen. I am ready to stop all the campaign slogans and get to the debates!

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Dave

    Thank goodness we'll have McCain's economic knowhow and judgement involved in an enormous decision regarding the economy.


    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Don

    I think this attempt has less to do with the financial crisis and more to do with McCains recent bad press and sinking poll results.

    Hopefully people will see through his attempts at taking a Mulligan!

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    Listen here old man. What do you really think your going to accomplish going back to Washington? I mean you've been there for 26 years. This should not be something that you people hammer our in a few days like you people did the the Patriot Act, and going to war with Iraq. There is a campaign going on and with less than 45 days left neither candidate should be suspending his campaign, there are 532 other people in congress to work on this, let them do there work. IM sure there have to be at least a few of them that are capable. Suspend away McSame, your going down either way!!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. frustrated

    FALSE LEADERSHIP FOR POLITICAL GAIN. This is a ploy by McCain to try to divert attention away from Biden's speech and Obama's bump in the polls.

    What is more urgent, bailing out the wealthy or addressing our countries' recovery from the failed policies of the past 8 years?

    McCain's attempt to distract under the guise of 'leadership' is sickening.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Ex-PUMA for Obama

    This is well and good Senator. But I think that since you are not keen on the economy and Obama is ahead of you in the polls, you want the American people to think that you can take charge of the economy.

    I bet you were wishing that Obama wouldn't take the bait to make you look good.

    The American people will still vote Obama on the economy.

    Nice try........but good.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Shawn

    If this means that McCain will be willing to vote on the bail out legislation, then kudos. If he's just there, when by his own admission, he doesn't know that much about the economy, then I call bull.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |

    MCCAIN R U SERIOUS..........................




    STOP IT ...........................PLEASE.........


    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Cheryl

    Considering the latest polls, McCain sure is acting desperate. Not much of a leader if you ask me.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Esmeralda


    What a an unbelievable stunt.

    Yesterday he was dinking around at the UN for his VP to get photo ops with foreign leaders – but today HE MUST suspend his campaign. BS Neither he, nor Senator Obama need to suspend anything in order for them to take part in coming up with solutions.

    Is it the revelation that the guy who runs his campaign have been paid $15.000 every month from 2005 until August of 2008 by Freddie Mac that is causing this political stunt – or what is it now?

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Michelle

    no matter what the under lying tactics are its a good idea for the candidates to be non partisan and get together to help solve this crisis!!!
    DO NOT give these rich CEOs a *golden parachute*
    The American people should not carry the burden of their greed and corrupt habits and decisions

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52