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. Enough

    One night of debates should not stop yours or Obama's involvment in the resolution of this crisis. This snake is trying to buy time to regroup for his own political purpose. He or Palin are not ready to debate. The are sour in the polls. The citizens of this nation and the media have got to see through this.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. floyd harris

    McCain is doing what he has done all campaign long. he is doing it just for the votes. he is tring to make it look like he is the good guy. by makeing it look like he came up with this idea instead it is like choosing his VP to be a women. he is a nothing more than a oldschool politician. I personaly cant trust a main that says that are acconomy is in good shape and then want to suspend his campaign to now help fix the crisis.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Fort Collins,Colorado

    WHAT? This man voted 90% with Bush! He is one of the bone heads responsible for this mess! Wish he would just stay out of Washington, He can't make any decisions without his advisors and script....McCain, Lieberman, Bush, Chaney all of them should just home and let someone try to fix this mess. Obama is going to win this election and I pray the Lord will help and protect him.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Vee

    What a bunch of BS. Go back to Washington is FINE. But, what that has anything to do with the debate.

    KEEP THE DEBATE, better yet make sure the topic of the debate is ABOUT ECONOMY.

    C'mon your expertise... Show to the Country THAT YOU ARE READY TO LEAD OUR COUNTRY FROM THIS ECONOMIC MESS by answering questions about what you really know.

    What a jerk Mr. McCain..., in time of crisis...DUCK ACCOUNTABILITY....

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Matt

    Figures. He's just looking for a chance to delay the debates and try to win points before he has to face Obama because his entire campaign is starting to wobble and come dangerously close to jumping the tracks.

    The REALITY is that Congress can handle this without both of them, particularly McCain, who hasn't the first flying clue when it comes to the economy.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Elizabeth

    what a cop-out, the only that changed for McCain are the Public Opinions and horrendous polling showing him behind on most must-win states.

    and he says he's a tough guy who will not coward out.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. me

    This is foolish.

    The Pander Bear "suspends" his campaign and begs Obama to do likewise, trying to look like a leader.

    Only problem: This rash move will make this worse than ever. Think about investors confidence when they see this panic move.

    To suspend a presidential campaign with only six weeks to go?

    McMain is gonna scare everybody into a great depression.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. MarioB. from Berlin FOR OBAMA

    Nice McCain is doing that by now, now that he looked at the polls and know, it's his only chance to stop Obamas momentum... but it won't work...

    Obama/Biden by landslide

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Jean

    Why is McCain suspending his campaign? He's not on the finance committee, and voting should not interfere with the debate. They can still do the debate from Washington.

    The American people need to see both candidates NOW – there is not that much time left before the election.

    I think McCain is afraid to debate – he's hiding – there are going to be questions on the economy, and he is not ready.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Ean

    I'm glad to see Obama recommended they come together this morning, and McCain took the glory this afternoon. We call that something in the business world that's not appropriate for this webpage.

    It's very important that we do come together...but this is political pandering at its best. Why not make a joint announcement as Obama suggested? Instead, he makes a HUGE political statement and then calls for a ceasefire...WHAT A JOKE!!!! He thinks we’re all stupid.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    We are in a crisis, no doubt. And it looks like we have to do something to keep our markets from crashing.

    At the same time, if you were up 5 points (9 pts according to ABC poll), I doubt seriously that you'd pull this stunt Senator McCain.
    If Governor Palin wasn't failing so much in terms of keeping up the artificial bounce that she helped produce out of the RNC, I doubt this stunt would be pulled.
    If you had been preparing for a debate as opposed to trying to shore up red states that should already be in the bag (and you're either being nipped on the heels or behind in), I doubt you'd pull this stunt.

    What this looks like to me, Senator McCain, is a desparate act from a candidate who isn't having his way (like two weeks ago with the pig on lipstick moments) where we are all now focused on the issue.
    This looks like a moment in time where you've been blasted by Senator Biden with truth and facts regarding your demeanor, and shoot from the hip first and clean up later personality as it relates to feorign policy.
    This looks like a diversion (think Ayers, Rezko, Rev. Wright, Paris Hilton, et al).

    This looks like a way to get all of us to ignore the fact that your senior campaign manager was on the take up through last month with Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac. (okay, that's misleading, let me restate). That is, your campaign manager, Rick Davis, owns a firm and has equity partnership in a firm named Davis Manafort which was paid up through at least July 2008 by Fannie and/or Freddie.
    And you said, just this week, that he hadn't had any relationship with them at all since 2005.

    So, pardon me for feeling just a little (emphasis on little) empathy for your magnanimous gesture. It really seems like you're playing a game here to try to stave off what is surely a momentum swing for the other team.
    I don't see you as being a leader of trying to help (after all, your deregulation attitude alomg with your republican brethern since at least 1995 has helped put us at the brink of a crisis.)

    It's amazing to think :
    a misguided war in Iraq – pushed by Republicans (tacitly approved by Democrats)
    a terrible hurricane Katrina response – while you ate birthday cake, people in New Orleans suffered
    Gas prices – spike to highest in history with Cheney's secret energy advisors (still don't know who those people were)
    Health Insurance – record 45 million+ without insurance and growing (and you have the nerve to vote against SCHIPS over and over)
    Dow Jones – back to the same level as when your Republican brethern, President Bush, took office due to fear of credit crunch (did I already mention deregulation personality disorder you have?)

    Gosh, with all of this, no wonder you want to take a breather.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Alexis

    I think the Bush administration is trying to punk the american people and the congress again with that $700 billion they want. Just like when they wanted to go to war with Iraq. They knew for a long time the economy was going down and they waited to the last minute to ask for the money so that congress won't have to really think about it and yes to another disaster that's waiting to happen. I don't trust anybody in this administration with not even a penny of my tax money let alone with $700 billion of it..... So I say no to that plan. This plan was never put together for us tax payer, it was put together by the effort of those lobyist working for these financial institutions in washington and in wall street. So before this administration come to an end they want to satisfy the special instrest they have been working for in the past 8 year..... American people wake up and say NO, it's a hit and run by the Bush administration and McCain..... SAY NO.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. EDW

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

    While he is at it, I bet he will postpone Palin's debate as well...hmm.

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. love everything republican

    Sounds like a good leader to me. Putting country first, me 2nd....

    Please lets elect McCain as our next President

    September 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. D.S

    Can't McCain Multi-task. I mean he's aiming to be President. Doesn't that mean sometimes there will be more than one thing to do and focus on at a time!!?? . He must have seen the polls. Good grief.

    September 24, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. john

    Given the true timeline of events today (beginning with Obama showing leadership), gives us another reason to see through McCain's lame strategy of avoidance in the name of the apparent (political) greater good. He doesn't know that much about the economy, but it should give him and the leg-lady good photo-ops and tales to spin........

    September 24, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Rita

    McCain is full of it. I don't feel like seeing a debate on the Senate Floor about the bail-out, everyone in congress trying to make everyone else look bad. I think it will be MORE bi-partisan if we leave these candidates off the floor. These two senators need to show up for their vote on the bill and that's it. America needs to choose a leader in 40 days, campaigns should not be suspended for this ridiculousness. The McCain camp is just acting for Bush and trying to rush this thing through congress and put more pressure on the Democrats to do so. There are too many hidden motives.

    September 24, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Elaine Hannock

    Sen. Obama reaches out to Sen McCain this morning, and McCain makes it sound like it's HIS idea? Then delays the Friday night debate? It's obvious he is afraid of the debate and is using our national crisis as an excuse to postpone it.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Levon

    26 years in the Senate and he did nothing but make the problem worse. Now he's running for President and wants to suspend his campaign to finally address our financial problem. I have a feeling this move was made out of political neccesity due to the fact that poll after poll are not looking good for his campaign. MCCAIN, YOU JUST LOST MY VOTE!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. boody from moab utah

    how can the congress even consider doing this bailout of the people that have taken every penny they could from the american people for the last 8 years and then allow them to double down and take even more money from the american people.this is a complete disgrace to allow these greedy coniving two faced people to get away with this, they should lose every penny they stole from the american people and all go to jail.Whoever supports this bill is a blatent supporter of criminal behavoir and is against what america is all about.they might as well all move to russia and be putens pals with the russian mafia.this is the most disgusting event ive ever seen.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Sam

    Let's see...

    McCain falls behind Obama by 9 points in the most recent polls...Obama is gaining momentum while the market turmoil McCain suggest a pause in campaigning...hmmmm

    Like Obama once said, McCain's people must think Americans are stupid.

    Keep the campaign going and focus on economic issues!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Trish

    Please we need to know how the candidates deal with the situations at hand.Yes they need to do their day jobs ,but why not a debate also? The regular everyday Americans have more than one job,do not have maids and cooks,and multitask in incredible ways. I want to see how the candidates will handle more than one thing at a time,more than one crisis at a time. Then we will know who to vote for . I want what is best for our country, regardless who is elected. I still want a debate!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    You mean Obama's campaign reached out to the McCain campaign this morning for a bi-partisan solution, and McCain's response was to wait until this afternoon and then try to "scoop" Obama on the idea of developing a principled response to this mess? Gross.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. obama/biden supporter

    oh please....

    while this is a grave situation, there is nothing that McCain can directly do about it.

    He is just unprepared for the debate and using the economic crisis as an excuse.

    and all of those americans who barely pay attention to what is really going on will see this as the right thing to do. thus playing into McCains hands.

    how desperate is he?

    Im sure that he will spend 90 minutes of his day napping on Friday when he could be working on this crisis instead of wanting to cancel the 90 minute debate. if he cant handle multi-tasking all of this how can we expect him to be able to multi-task the tasks of the presidency?!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. feed up

    McCain is disgrace..I just don't understand why people don't see it!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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