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. Jim, IN

    This is a bunch of malarkey, all McCain did was move out of check and put Obama in check politically. The worst part is, Obama now has to play along, and McCain gets to dictate when its ok to be political again (when he can get the focus off of the economy).

    This reeks, the american people wont see it, but, it reeks.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. David

    Um...what does McCain think has been going on all week with the $700 billion dollar package the Bush Adminsitration has proposed? Not like they've been sitting around twiddling their thumbs. Congress and the Senate have been working on it. WOnder if McCain will want the debate postponed indefinitely, and if he's going to try and use that request to get Palin's match with Biden postponed as well?

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |

    oh seriously Johnny boy?

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Paul from NYC

    Please... McCain hasn't voted in the Senate since APRIL.

    This is a transparent attempt to dodge the debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. DCMata

    McCain is asking for another gimmick- and a delay tactic! Probably hoping to eliminate the VP debate. The public wants a debate NOW!

    We have waited for this debate and see no reason the debate can't continue on schedule. The candidates can vote and confer with their parties- neither one is in charge of these negotiations- appropriate party member do not need either of these guys.

    Absolutely have no trust in McCain or his campaign.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. terry

    I would hate to think this a ploy to make himself seem more interested in the economy than Sen. Obama. what am i saying of course that is what he is attempting to do. and of course the white will following his suggestions. Since there are only 3 debates the american people who have not already needs to here the candiates views on the important issues of the day. This is a stunt after this upcoming debate Obama would have probably pull further ahead of mccain.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Caroline Hodge Cary, N.C.

    I'm not surprised at all that John Mcain wants to delay the debates. John Mcain wants this thing over with by yesterday. Now that the FBI is looking for possible fraud, John Mcain and the rest are running scared and trying to cover up. He wants us to accept a plan with no questions asked. Do it "NOW"!!! 26 years in office, and now he wants to hurry. I smell a rat John! Go ahead, have the debate, then try to cover up starting the next day. This will give Palin a little more time to study. Hey John!!!! The chickens are coming home to roost!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Gaffer in Dover, NH

    This smells funny.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Timothy

    That is soooo weak!!! That debate is not going to prevent him from focusing on the Economy. If anything it would give him a chance to tell us what he would do about it. That's just it... HE HAS NOTHING!!! Wow. No way this guy becomes president.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. tulsa

    so the Obama people called and offered this and McCain once again tries to take the credit.

    Anything original McCain?

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Darren

    I thought he said that the economy is strong? Was it just me?

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. NC Mom

    Obama called McCain about making a joint statement, and McCain procedes to make the announcement on his own like it was all his initiative. Why would anyone in government want to dialogue with him. Pre-empting a joint announcement and being unwilling to share the credit shows his real character, ...politics as usual. Give me a break.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. David

    Well, this is so misleading til the middle of the story. At, 1st it has u thinking that McSame initiated this idea, but Obama called him about it and then McSame trying to take credit for idea by having a press conference and acting like it was his idea and he was going to reach out to Obama's campaing. WHEN THEY CONTACTED HIM 1ST...LOL!!

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |

    Sen. McCain came to this conclusion after Sen. Obama's 8:30 am call...ummm how funny his campaign is.

    I am hoping the debate carries on as scheduled. This is another attempt from the McCain campaign to try and derail the election. Had he been ahead in the polls he would not consider cancelling so neither should Sen Obama


    2008 MY FUTURE

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Katherine

    It is BECAUSE

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Rusty Miller

    It is too bad that it took a monumental financial crisis that some of the "pillar institutions" of Wall Street are having to get both our candidates to act with presidential character. I'm proud of both men. It does not matter "who offered" first as that only serves to further divide our country. What matters is that both parties have agreed to put their ideological differences aside and work TOGETHER to find a solution to our economic crisis.

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. sabrina01

    I wonder why ........please don't pretend you care

    September 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. kay

    this is leadership at its best – this is why he will win. stop pointing the finger as there is blame enough to go around. its time to come together and find the right solution.

    McCain/Palin 08

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Benjamin

    This isn't the time to cancel debates. This is the time to have debates. We need to know what these men will do if they're elected president. McCain wants to cancel the debates because he cares more about winning than he does about this country. If he cared about this country, he'd show us what he's going to do with it. Friday. At the debates.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Marie

    Come on McCain as a President you have to often do more than one thing at a time! Multi-task manipulative!

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Obama all the way....

    Oh we go again!!! Yet another PLOY by the McCain camp.

    Don't suspend the debates- I wanna see Barack mop the floor with you.

    McCain- why not suspend your campaign it until AFTER November 4th!!

    I think that is your best move!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Alex A

    And the point of delaying the debate is what again....mclame. Does this mean the current crisis can't be resolved without you going to washington to save the day!

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Gianni

    This guy is trying trying to have a good face before the americans.
    what a slimy guy

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. NC Resident

    B.S. He skipped other important votes and now he wants to act like he cares. He just don't want to debate Obama. Do I smell fear?
    There is more senators on the floor that can keep them updated. They can go to the senate floor after before and after the debate.
    McCain don't want the questions of Keating 5 to come up in the debate nor do he wants to answer about his campaign manager receiving money up until last month.
    I smell a campaign in trouble trying to escape. Now Laura Bush says Palin lacks foreign experience. Sounds like GOP BURN!

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. gasdocpol

    Does McCain want to reverse the reregulation that he supported that made possible the sub-prime mortgage crisis or is he just wimping out of the debate?

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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