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. PaulMoATX

    This is utterly ridiculous, and makes me sick to my stomach. The people are ready to see the debates, and hear what the candidates have to say. This is a man who antagonized Obama for not adhering to town hall meetings, and now wants to bow out to make it look like he actually cares about the American people. What good is he going to do when he knows nothing about the economy?

    This puts Obama in a precarious situation, because if he agrees, then everyone will say he's a wimp. If he disagrees and hits McCain hard, it will make him look like he doesn't care about the economy. I'm looking forward to seeing how Obama reacts to this, Presidentially.

    Thanks in advance for posting my comment.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Virginia Mike

    Just a week ago the fundementals of the economy was strong.

    How did we go into crisis mode so quickly?

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Mickie in PA

    McCain is posturing again - he already changed his answers so many times and now he has to meet with Bush to find out what his answer should really be. He wants Obama to join him, that should be a fun meeting. If I were Obama I would insist that all Senators and Congressman be present so McShame can't claim he and Bush came up with a solution and Obama did not go along. McShame has yet to tell the truth on anything. Is his campaign also suspending all of their nasty ads?

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Hussein and proud of it!

    Translation: I'm behind and I'm scared to debate Sen. Obama, so I'll just hide behind the latest crisis until the election.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Denise

    sure- he needs extra time to study

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Matt

    Give me a freaking break, it is all drama.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. NO McBush

    One political stunt after another with this guy (like picking Sarah Failin)! Maybe a cover for health problems?

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Lin lin

    Why did he now suspend his campaing or reschedule the debate last week or the week before or the week before as the economy was collapsing: SOME ONE IS SCARED

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    McDeregular is grandstanding. After missing more votes than any member of the Senate, now he wants to "work on the economic crisis"

    McCain: "Me First"

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Robert

    Hypocrite!!! It is just a show.

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Observer86

    As an Independent leaning towards Obama, that was a good move on Mccain's part. This Crisis has gotten way out of hand and I believe that both Campaigns must address it by actually working towards a solution and not just taking about whose fault it is. I hope the Obama campaign agrees to this request because to refuse would really shed a negative light on his ability to work as well as his willingness to work with the other side.

    The Independents are Watching

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Lawrence for barack

    ok john why dont you tell us the truth, you not ready to debate Obama right now

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Rodger

    What a waste of time McCain in Washington...he just wants to change all he has stood for as a de-regulator. Just like all the Republicans and do in face of crisis is deny responsibility. If he really wants to put "Country First" He'll withdraw from the election and support Obama!

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Alex

    If Obama did this... everyone would say... he did it for political reasons!!

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. demcor

    Give no quarter Obama! Go for the KO. He wants more time to come up with stuff to hurt you. He is on the ropes. Go for the win now!

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Jeremy Mandle

    So what's next, McCain will request that the election be postponed?

    September 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Taran, San Diego, CA

    Wow, what a lovely stunt from the McCain campaign!

    If Obama accepts, then McCain looks like the leader bringing everyone together.

    If Obama refuses, then it's McCain that looks like the guy trying to solve problems and not Obama.

    Of course, this would all work if McCain wasn't so transparent.

    The Congress does not need either McCain or Obama to be present to "solve" this problem. The simple solution is to give the $700 billion with added oversight and taxpayer guarantees....Wow, I didn't even need McCain in the room so "solve" that one...

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Christina

    It is rumored that the repugs aren't going through with the election. That they will do whatever they have to to make sure it doesn't take place!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Joyce, nj


    The entire nation is waiting for this debate. That's a lame excuse/lie McCain. A week ago you felt that the economy is fundamentally strong. Now use the crisis caused by your party to suspend the debate? If you're not ready to face Obama now you never will.

    Next, you will try to find an excuse for Palin not to debate Joe.

    Nice curb ball huh, if Barack does not agree, he will look like he is insensitive to the current issue. Yet it is you who keeps using the Country and all these problems to get away with your agenda.

    I am sick of this. I say go on with the debate. What have we got to lose? Don't buy into this excuse.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. Melanie

    I think this a way for him to get out of the debate. This crisis has been going on for months, maybe even years, so why now? 2 days before a debate. Congress has been making decisions without him since the campaign has begun, I feel that this is simply a stall tactic. As an American who is feeling the pinch, I don't think missing a debate on Friday is going to change my financial status. and from what I hear, everything drags through Congress. On top of that, this is the guy who said that they economy was not doing that bad, so why the sudden change of heart?

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  21. Don

    Where have you been Senator McCain while this mess was brewing. I need to hear more on what is going on before you just decide that action needs to be taken, what is the hurry today we have time. The world is on fire now. Polls show a dramatic slide for the Republicans in the house and senate as well and they are running scared.

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Mark G

    I thought the fundamentals of our economy were strong and there was no crisis??? Hmmmm...

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. johny

    Nice bob and weave, John. You haven't been Washington in a year while you pursue your presidential ambitions. I am sure that the leadership in Congress can get this done without your presidential campaign muddying up the waters. It looks a little like maybe you don't want to debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. hello

    what a showman ship.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. jonny

    McCant is suspending his campaign because he is desperate because he is so far down in the polls, and he is seen as the wrong choice for economic issues. Suspending a campaign is stupid. Cancel a few stops to go to any meetings/votes needed for the economic crisis, but dont suspend your campaign or especially delay debates. The only crisis McCain is actually worried about is his campaign crisis of him LOSING!

    Dont suspend your campaign, Obama! Dont play McCains stupid games!

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 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