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. Mike

    Mccain is using ever tactic possible to buy him more time to use this momemtum that he has going with Palin, at this so not show America that he and Sarah is not ready and or capable of running this country, moreever that he has no answers to America's present crisis.. Bush and his people are working on this crisis,since after he created, McCain, has no input here...Stall tactics again to by time before the election, since it's only five weeks away now...Next he'll suspend Palin's debate, for more time...and America, will go to polls and vote GOP soley on the hype of Palin, and nothing else...this is what McCains is counting on...America wake up...

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

    This really amazes me. McCain wants to suspend is campaign now and delay the debate in order to focus on our economic situation. So the economic situation was not as dire yesterday when Palin spent all day at the United Nations just for some 'facetime'. I am very much in support of concentrating on this economic crisis, but this seems more like cold-feet in facing Obama in the debates.

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

    Typical McCain BS instead of using the oppurtunity for both candidates to issue joint statements which would have put joint pressure to Congress to get this done. McCain tries to use this as a political advantage and grandstand. He is trying to paint Obama in a corner. The debates are more important now than ever, I want to know how they would handle this economic problem now while it is important. Obama don't let him off the hook. The ABC/Washington Times Poll shows McCain dropped 9 points from a virtual tie after last week's Wall Street problem. McCain are you running away from the problem by pretending you are dealing with it. You two have been away from the Senate for over a year.

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

    McCain is not ready for the debate which is why he is stalling for more time.

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

    I'm not a fan of either candidate but this is the right thing to do.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Dan in FLORIDA


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

    Same old trickery by the Republicans. McCain knows he is losing ground so now he wants to 'suspend' his campaign and challenged Obama to do the same. Question, how is he going to focus on the economy if he doesn't know anything about the economy?

    It's a trap the I can see from a mile away. If Obama decides to keep campaigning then he is less concerned about the US and economic situation, if he agrees then McCain can work some evil and try to gain ground.

    Next thing you know they'll find a way to postpone the election indefinetly because of this 'national crisis'.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Bama for Obama

    This wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Obama is pulling ahead in the polls; or the fact that McCain's people are trying to dig up new dirt on Obama and need a little more time.

    How much do you want to bet that an Obama scandal breaks out during the down time?

    On the other hand, maybe he is hoping for the old out of sight out of mind theory to take the focus off the republicans.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    Why does he have to suspend his campaign? If she is SO QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT, why not send Governor Palin to stand in for him both on the campaign trail and at the debate with Obama?

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. David Orbach, New York, NY

    Maybe we can postpone the election while we're at it. Like, indefinitely.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Maria, Miami

    Why does he always make it like it's his idea? What an ego!

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

    When his wife's portfolio is at risk – drop everything. This guy has been in the US Senate for 26 years and has watched Social Security and other programs go down the tubes. He has watched 37 million Americans live without health insurance and lose their homes to bankruptcy. He has watched as millions of Katrina victims are left in squalor. Now he has decided to take the high road. Enough. He should suspend his campaign for good. Shame on you John McCain.

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

    Seriously, boys- if you think bipartisan leadership will pull America out of the spiral it is in, maybe it's time to *GASP* end the party bickering & REALLY join forces. We, America, our world, are in terrible trouble. Starvation is not a "thirld-world" issue anymore. It is a Global issue. It is time to stop negotiating for party domination, and begin pulling together for the survival of us all. I know this is near-heresy, but let's look straight on at the truth of our situation. We are in deep trouble-and the brink is not that far off. Facing the issues, facing the crisis that is our future- is now. Stop wasting millions on CAMPAIGN costs- please, start working for the good of each and every American- not a "party" affiliations.

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. American Son

    goodbye mcdoodle, moose-munch and bunch. hope ya suspend for good and give it to obama/biden by default!!!

    obama/biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Americans for Obama

    in other words, he's losing and needs a stall tactic to stop Obama's momentum.

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

    Unequivocally no. The debate MUST continue. We have already been in crisis and continue to be in crisis. The debate is perfect for a time like this becuase it allows us to see both candidates in a less constructed (canned) venue like a rally or convention.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Mindy

    I am so angry at McCain's self serving decision to try and cancel the debate. The fact that once again John McCain exploits a crisis to move his adgenda along is utterly and comletely insane. I keep waiting for some news organization to call him on this crap, but no one seems able or willing to take him on.
    The Republicans would rather let this Nation burn then do the right thing again. Shame on CNN for allowing John McCain to determind the direction this country is going in.
    If John McCain is incapable of multi-tasking then he is too old to be President.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. A Woman In California For Obama:

    I forgot to mention-your campaign is in hot water right now with Davis so you need time to get the heat off and to educate your ignorant vp pick on EVERYTHING. You are not fooling us McCain. We know both you and your mouthy sidekick are totally ignorant of the circumstances surrounding us. You can take as much time as you want it really doesn't make any difference because we will continue exactly where we left off.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Reginald Day virginia

    Why does the bailout money have to go to financial insitutions? Why can't this money be used directly to keep homeowners in their homes. And why can't the money be used to help former homeowners who have jobs but need a home to get a brand new start at homeownership. This to will cut down the bad debt and stimulate the housing and banking at the same time. Why can't the inventory of foreclosed homes be reduced by helping family own homes again by selling them these home at reduced prices and making them unable to borrow on the home for a amount of years to be determined. Why does the rich have to benifit from the bail out and not the American people directly?

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Kostaki

    McCain suspending his campaign for the economy is nothing more than a political desperation move cloaked as an otherwise patriotic and necessary sacrifice of his own campaign. In doing this, Obama is now trapped and backed into a corner.

    If Obama suspends along with McCain, he risks losing momentum to flip the battleground states which could cost him the election.

    If Obama refuses to suspend, McCain will immediately cite Obama saying that "He put aside his political campaign and agenda to put his country first, and Barack Obama couldn't do the same?"

    It's a masterful, but entirely tasteless and underhanded move. Anything to win, I guess.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. army wife


    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. The Republicans are comedic GOLD!

    Blah blah blah. He just knows that he is going to get his clock cleaned.

    Too little too late. He wants to look tough and “pro-active” and hid the fact that his man was being paid by Freddie Mac up until a month ago.
    The sad thing is that there will be folks who buy this ploy.

    Sad, pathetic, and just plain lame on McSame’s behalf.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. J from DC

    NOT ready to lead, NOT ready for the press, NOT ready to be transparent.
    I have to say, I am a little thrown back by Sara Palin. She keeps saying everyday that she wants to bring transparency and reform to Washington. But she does not even have transparency in her own state. She has “instructed” her staff people (who work for her) not to answer subpoenas for the investigation on the trooper case. Citizens of Alaska have inquired about the issue, they want transparency. Now the small case has reached public interest and the rest of the public is now being ignored. Palin is saying that the investigation is now political. But, that happens when you are in office. The other side will ask question and try to shade light on any flaw they see. It is up to her to show that there is nothing to the allegations. If she won’t be transparent on that issue, I don’t think she will be transparent on any serious concerns the American people may have if she gets in office. For undecided voters, she is not being very transparent right now.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Bob

    I guess McCain's debate cramming hasn't been going so well.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Lola from Louisiana

    McSame does it again! What does the debate have to do with working in a bipartisan way! McCan't does not want to face the music when it comes to his hands off Sarah campaign and her "road " "to the bridge to nowhere". I hope the committee does not let them off the hook because he is looking more like George Bush everyday to me. His old school politics of shoot and ask questions later has dug us into this hole we are in. The war in Iraq is a big reason why our economy is in such a terrible shape. But Iraq is standing strong with billions of dollars and their oil. I hope we (Americans) send a message on November 4th that we are not stupid just our present administration is.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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