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. Carol Conroy

    I have to congratulate McCain on his brilliant use of the media. He has found a way to use the present financial crisis, to present himself as the leader everyone needs.

    He's more cynical that I've thought! If he wants to contribute to a solution, he can go to DC and simply behave like a senator .

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

    Obama called him this morning and asked that they prepare a joint statement . McCain's campaign is going into the tank and couldn't allow Obama to take the lead on something as it would be disastrous at this point. So what does he do? Another gimmick he's panicked and politically he might pull the wool over some eyes but this is a disgrace! Another Sarah Palin type gimmick to try and save himself from drowning. Yes this is a crisis but this can be done without suspending the campaign!

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

    CNN–how can you be so easily taken in...this happens on the first day a poll shows Obama way ahead, and all of a sudden we don't need a debate, all we need is McCain to "solve" the crisis...give me a break...think before you report, please!

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Beverly Davis


    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Laura, Boston

    John McCain is really showing himself to be a great leader. That is what the public needs. Less campaigning and more bipartisian solutions.

    I applaud the McCain campaign and hope that Senator Obama leaves Florida and returns to Washington as well.

    According to the CNN poll, 80+ percent of Americans are against this bailout. I am one of those. I feel that this will put a band-aid on the problem. Also with the holidays coming around, retail will need a bailout, auto and airlines will want a bailout, etc. The problem will never go away by just giving in to a bunch of greedy Wall Street executives who certainly weren't thinking about us. My 401(k) is dizzy from all the ups and downs it has taken in the last quarter.

    Laura, Boston

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Martha

    This is absurd, this man is not prepared to debate and will try every tactic. The Bush admin is doing what already needs to be done, this is pathetic, this man needs to get himself wired up to debate and he just doesn't have enough time to do so.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. we want our country back Mcfake


    HE'S A LEADER.............................

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Kamika

    This takes some gusto. I was wondering when one of these candidates was going to say, let me do my job and stop auditioning for other jobs for a minute! Its about time they starting thinking of the USA instead of themselves!

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. ME

    Absolutely ridiculous!! Obama calls McCain to do the true Bipartisan thing and issue a joint statement addressing this issue. John McCain announces it without him.....and urges Obama to tag along. I hope every democrat and news outlet in America shows that John McCain would rather play politics with America's financial crisis than help Americans. Give me a freaking break!! Outrageous!!

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Dawn Lancaster

    He's lost his mind. From Sarah Palin to putting the debate on hold...

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. David Francisco


    McCain is scared and Obama is going to clean his clock.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. John

    Canny move from McCain just as the polls show substantial momentum toward Obama. Break the momentum, force Obama to reciprocate, win some brownie points with the American's too dumb to see thru it.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Workinwithu

    McCain game of Politics-

    McCain can't balance 2 crisis at a time? Poor sign.

    McCain should not only suspend his campaign, McCain should cancel his campaign and his accepting Republican nominee for President of the United States of America.

    Where is Kay Bailey? Mitt Romney? Rudy?

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. EDW

    One doesn't have anything to do with the other. Man up McCain, bring on the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Nick E

    I think John is afraid that he'll get his butt kicked with all the financial mess. He probably wants the steam to go away before he debates.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. David

    If John McCain becomes president, any bailout would be useless.

    A prediction: McCain will vote against any bailout with "too much" oversight.

    Who's you're daddy, Johnny?

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Southerner

    This guy is so full of it. He is losing when it comes ot the economy, therefore, he wants to take that out of the competition.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Josh Long

    What a joke. McCain needs a break because his deregulation record is real and bears part of responsibility for this mess were in. Thanks alot republicans! What a mess.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. JAH Nevada Voter

    Are you serious?? He spent all week campaigning and never bothered to prepare for the debate..... And now he is asking for a delay because he wasn't prepared. But he is ready with the excuses!

    This is the man who wants to be president???? What lesson does this teach our children? Go out and play with your friends and if you don't have time for your homework, surely your teacher will give you an extension! Just come up with a timely excuse. And this even qualifies you to be President!

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. joyce

    mccain is loosing and he thinks a grand stand looks real presidencial
    not true
    no way,no mcsain

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Canadian content

    Politics as usual. Obama discreetly extends the olive branch and McCain uses it as an opportunity to headline. How much more impressed the people would have been had the 2 candidates issued the joint statement as intended with out any credit being given to the party responsible for initiating the plan. It is painfully obvious to those of us observing from afar that McCain does not have the best interests of the American people at heart.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Antony

    This is just a ploy. After seeing that his poll numbers are tanking,There is no way he was going to take a chance with the debates. He is running scared. This is what I call chicken little tactics. Shame on him. The polls I am talking about here are:
    Washington Post/ABC News Obama 52% McCain 43%

    Fox News Poll Obama 45% McCain 39%

    Now he does not know what to do and in desperation...he wants to hide behind the economy. Shheesshhh!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Char -IL

    This is nothing but a political ploy in my opinion. Can you not walk and chew gum at the same time.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Jim

    I would think NOW more than ever would be the best time for candidates to tell Americans their plans to help us recover...this makes no sense, I hope Obama does not accept this ploy

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. MLD, MS

    No Way! Don't fall for it Obama. This idiot is trying to delay the inevitable.

    September 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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