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. don kates

    Tactically, this appears to be a ruse. If Obama pushes back, however, he'll be chided for caring more about becoming president than addressing the pressing crisis of the moment.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Darrel from Denver

    Here's an idea. Take that $700B and distribute it to every 18+ year old in America. My guess is we would all get around $300k. Think that might solve an economic crisis and get things moving again?

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

    McCain can't afford any more fumbles. Lord knows he made a complete mochery of himself last week. I guess delaying the debate because of the economic crisis fits into his "Country First" mantra.

    His campaign is imploding...fact check on McCain/Palin's lies, Rick Davis running scared now that the facts are out, Palin looking more and more like a political ploy each day, a total fumble on the economic crisis, unwillingness to meet with a NATO ally, etc. There's no way McCain can face America at this time. He needs time to come up with succinct and affirmative responses to appear to have a plausible argument.

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

    Basically, McCain knows he will get destroyed in the debate on Friday, so he is trying to get it postponed as further back as possible or get rid of it fully because he knows nothing about the economy and would rather not lose any further ground than he already had. Dirty trick Republicans.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. This is funny


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

    I'm not sure if his decision is totally insane, completely brilliant, or just another cold campaign strategy; but I am sure that it's real ironic that after 2+ decades of not working for government oversight of the country's financial markets, McCain suddenly wants to tackle the problem. Where was he before it came to this? I would love to see Obama call him on that, and finally wake America up to what a phony McCain is.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Tom In Aurora, CO

    What a back handed chicken way to avoid a debate. McCain is obviously afraid to face Obama in a straight up fight.

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

    You know, I was initially on the post-partisan bandwagon. Then I realized, why would we want the two parties agreeing on everything? To kill diversity of opinion? To stop dissent? Governmental power is already too consolidated into the "two" parties.... why do we want to consolidate more? Why aren't we getting any real fight against the bailout? Whining and signing is not democracy, it's a faux democracy and genuine socialism.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Dee Tee Gee

    Oh NOW this is a big enough issue for McCain to actually think something just might be wrong. I guess since this Wall St. thing is affecting some of his rich buddies, he decided he might need to pay a little more attention to this. As much as I would love to believe that McCain has our country's best interest at heart, I believe this request to postpone the debate is an indication of the lack of preparation on the part of John McCain. Is Grandma Dynamite going to postpone her upcoming debate too? Get ready everyone, the GOP is going to try to parlay this into this image that McCain cares so much about our economy that he's willing to suspend his campaign & postpone the debate. Could you imagine the outcry had Obama came out asking for postponement of the debate? I can hear it now, "He's scared", "He's hiding". The GOP would be slamming Obama left & right. But since it's McCain, what a great American. Please spare me.

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

    What, McCain can't walk and chew bubblegum at the same time?

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Dex Dean

    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 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Chris

    If you admit you know jack about the economy, of what use could you possibly be in resolving this crisis you yourself created? Stick to spreading lies and fear.. that's something you're a pro at. This is a total political stunt to delay getting taken to school by Obama on Friday. Pathetic!

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

    WOW!!!! Someone showing leadership! I might vote after all.

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

    Wow. He must really be looking for an excuse not to have to debate Obama. I don't blame him.

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

    Oh give me a break. McCain if you are president you are going to have to learn to do 2 things at once!! As if American's not tuning in Friday from 9 -11 is going to save the US from financial devastation. What a cop out!! The economy and all the problems in this country are exactly why we need to continue with the debate as scheduled. What does he want to do, push the November election date back next??

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Chris -- los angeles

    What a cheap gimmick. even if this were a sincere proposal from mccain (rather than a transparent attempt to buy more time in the face of increasingly bad press and poll numbers), the candidates' full participation in the ordinary camapign process will serve the American people far better than any contribution either is likely to make to resolution of the current economic situation. I, for one - like many others, I'm sure - would be glad to release them for the time being from any legislative responsibility they might feel in that regard so each can continue to fulfill their large duties to the American public to debate and inform us fully of their respective positions should they become president.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Phil in KC

    On the one hand, I agree that this sounds like a good idea, given the gravity of the situation. On the other hand, I do see some political posturing going on here. Plus, using this as an excuse to post-pone the debate leads one to believe that he is now concerned about his performance.

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

    Although this is a good idea, I think the the debates should go on. McPalin don't tell me you cannot multi task? The debates must go on!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Sherry Nouse

    Didn't McCain say our economy is strong? He is clearly running back to Washington scared. I think he just needs some time away from the campaign to regroup and pull another Palin out of his hat.

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

    He didn't care all these years when he supported DEREGULATION, now all of sudden he cares. No the real truth is the Palin choice backfired, he is going down in the polls and needs time. And Palin needs even more time. DOn't buy the lie, mccain could care less about the economy only if it is hurting his and his friends pockets.

    September 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Marla L

    I do not feel that the campains should be cancled, no suspended during this financial crisis. The can converse longdistance, The election is of utmost importance. WE NEED A NEW PRESIDENT

    Knowing McCain and his tactics I feel this is just a polital diversion for him and Palin. I really hope the citizen of the US do NOT condone this.

    Of course McCain would want another committe. Why don't the just give the tax payers $100-150,000. Conditionally to pay off their debts, the balance would go back into the economy. Instead of giving money to the same corporations that put us in this mess. ITs that taxpayers who will ultimately pay for it. So let US control it.

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

    Hey Rick Sanchez: Let's spit out the WHOLE story. Barack Obama said last week or earlier this week that if it came down to a close vote he would definitely go back to washington (find that loop to play), McCain's policy that he wants to submit are already in place and most of those policies wanted were on Obama's list. Big political ploy until it comes to a vote, iit's called a telephone, computer or blackberry leadership and change of tone you say. Well John Kerry was crudified as a flip flopper so where are the hammer and nails now?

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



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

    This seems awfully convenient to talk about suspending the campaign and postponing the debate. Especially since even Fox News is reporting how far McCain is now down in the polls. I know polls don't matter, but somehow, I think John sees the writing on the wall.
    Obama/Biden 08

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

    Considering that Senator Obama called Senator McCain this morning to have them issue a joint statement, this seems like a desparate attempt by the McCain campaign to turn the focus away from his VP pick, Campaign manager, stances on the economy to make him look like a statesman. It may just be too little too late...

    Obama / Biden 2008

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