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. Martin

    Obama should ask for a debate on the economy right in D.C.!!!
    Nice stunt by a bad pilot 😛

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. CB, Chicago, Il

    He's had 26 years to do something and didn't . (I take that back. He did lot's to deregulate banking and Wall Street which led to this mess.)

    Now he's going to go in like a knight is shining armor to swoop down and solve all the problems on his own. Some advice John, let the smart guys who actually have a grasp of the current problem hash this out. You go back to the campaign and try to convince us that you are the "change agent" you claim. And don't you dare try and avoid answering questions one more day.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Dem from CA

    McCain is stupid! He's not going to to a darn thing in Washington but golf with Bush. More GOP stall tactics!

    Obama/Biden '08

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


    We need the debates NOW!

    Now is a perfect time and more reason to inform Americans who is the right person to pull us out of this mess!

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

    This is a bunch of crap! McInsane is down in the polls and not prepared to debate, therefore he is using this as an excuse! I'm sure it can be handled without him and Barack. We have a historical election coming up and he needs to focus on that as well.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. TJ in Texas (Dallas)

    I really think this is a ploy. So, so many polls came out today and this week with McCain sinking. He's trying to look Presedential by not looking political. But, fine he can suspend his camp. Obama should not. Keep fighting, but go to D.C. and settle this crisis and get back to it next week wih the debates next Fri. Life goes on. We will go on. Yes, we will.

    Obama 08!

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Dex Dean

    Come on John. We know why you want to cancel the debate because of the New York Times release today. You know you are going to get nailed with this one which shows you are just more of the same. Just like you hidding Palin behind the iron current. This shows old time politics that the American people are feed up with. You insult the intelligence of Americans and you are grand standing because you have lost, period!

    McCain Aide's Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac

    One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the
    credit crisis paid $15,000 a month to a firm owned by Senator
    John McCain's campaign manager from the end of 2005 through
    last month, according to two people with direct knowledge of
    the arrangement. The disclosure contradicts a statement
    Sunday night by Mr. McCain that the campaign manager, Rick
    Davis, had no involvement with the company for the last
    several years.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Northwest Washington

    John McCain is the last person I want involved in this. His whole campainge is loaded to the gills with lobbyist that helped and profited by getting us in this mess. This is a Republican scam.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. my9call

    I think this shows that Mccain is so out of touch that his own campaign is failing to keep informed that he needs to go to the whitehouse to see what is going on. This is proof of how he is as a leader that he cannot surround himself with compitent people.

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

    Another sly political trick by the McCain campaign to leave Obama with a lose-lose proposition. Agree and McCain looks like the leader with Vision, disagree and paint him as unpatriotic! And at the same time, squirm out of an inconvenient debate when your poll numbers are falling. Bravo McCain, bravo...Rove has taught you well.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Ruthie, Stone Mountain Ga

    Chicken. Being a POW does not give you backbone.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Jay C of Sac

    MCain is just afraid to go toe to toe with Obama in the debate.

    What is he going to do in Washington??? There is already a number of politicans working on the problem.

    Hey Johnny ever heard the pharse.........too many cooks in the Kitchen.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Stella, New York, NY

    The debate should go on as scheduled...PERIOD!

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Kiah G

    To his supporters I feel for you! Your leader has just shown he CANNOT walk and chew gum at the same time. He has to lay down on thing in order to focus on another. It's sad and pathetic and if the media spins this I will be PISSED!

    John McCain is UNFIT to lead this nation! There will be crisis after crisis, we are facing TWO WARS and dealing with issues at home and he is overwhelmed because he can't handle it all.

    Obama/Biden – Change we can believe in and COUNT ON!

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

    McCain is stepping up to the plate and once again putting the Country First.. He is a leader before he is a politician . I like McCain – even when I do not agree with his every policy I see him as reliable . He was calling for reform on fannie and freddie back in 06 but noone wanted reform – he has often been a lone voice in the wilderness sounding the alarm. I appreiciate McCains character.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Liz T, Tucson

    Call me cynical, but I think McCain is trying to use the crisis to benefit his campaign. Frankly, his election as president of this once great country would be a greater catastrophe even than the financial debacle.

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

    McCain isn't ready for the debate. That's why he's using this smokescreen to defer it.

    This election is more important than ever now and the voters need to have this debate to help with their decision making.

    Congress, the Treasury Department, the SEC and the Banking Committee are all working on a plan. They don't need political gamesmanship mixing in with their emergency planning sessions.

    Putting this country first, McCain needs to go ahead with the debate so that the country can make the next (in sequence) most important decision of choosing the President.


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

    this is rediculous,i don' think they need sen obama or sen mccain's help in solving this crisis.this is another political move by the replublicans to bolster their mamed credentials.the republicans put us in this mess and now they are trying to act as reformers ,give us a break ,i'm sick of leaders taking the american people for idiots when they are getting fat feeding out of our far as i can see john mccain is running away from the debate, because he himself has a lot to answer for.

    September 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Paula Carter

    OMG – McSame you aren't fooling anyone with this Mickey Mouse move. Just not ready for the debate huh?

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Anna

    McBlame is the blame. He has been in Washington for many, many, many, many years and now he decides that the economy is important. Is it because of the stock market. So, now you are concerned. You were'nt concerned about the economy when thousands have lost their jobs and remain unemployed. You weren't concerned with the thousands who lost their homes through foreclosure. Give me a break, McSame Ole, Same ole. Now you want to get a little light.
    "We The People" are still looking for Change.

    OBAMA/JOE B '08...Together, we can do it! We are your support.
    Love you Hillary and Bill...forever.

    WE THE PEOPLE...forget us not!

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. J from DC

    Not suprised. He is trying to put togeather a sneak attack on Obama.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. USMC Mike

    I think a debate is highly appropriate on the merits of the economy ...

    Make a joint-statement and move on ... go back to the senate and vote on a plan, but let's get real; the sun will rise again tomorrow ...

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA


    Making SERIOUS decisions takes time! WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ...700...........BILLION...........PLEASE.........SOMEONE ASK SOME MORE QUESTIONS.........READ ......BETWEEN THE LINES!

    WHAT'S THE HURRY? The majority of hard-working-Americans want to know!

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Tired

    This is such BS. He's going to use this phony statement to try to create another lie against Obama. He saw the poll numbers and he knows his lies haven't gotten him anywhere, so he'll keep making them up until one sticks. He is a disgrace to our country.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Audrey

    21st century leaders have to be able to multi-task–IF McCain can't, then he isn't capable of running the country.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 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