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. Winkzilla, Tucson

    This is a great example of how Obama can reach across to people. Obama has been tempered and reflective. McCain has been boisterous and fist pounding and demanding immediate punitive actions and finding scapegoats. The temperaments of the two demonstrate that we need to have intelligence come back to Washington. We can hope that intelligence will begin to override the GOP’s deregulation platform they have been running on since Reagan and stop this locust invasion of unregulated self-interest.

    Obama\Biden can bring prosperity and world standing back to our country.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Madeleine

    Sure, a debate for a few hours that will help Americans determine who should be the next President of the US is just not important enough. It can wait. McCain, who is an admitted no nothing on economics, is going to rush in and take charge to help solve the biggest financial crises our country has every seen.

    Believe that and I have an antique bridge spanning lower Manhatten and Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Darnell Bryant

    I sincerly hope that Obama does not fall for this trickery by John McCain. McCain knows that he is losing and is trying to buy some time by delaying the first debate. In spite of the current crisis, we have a right to hear directly from Obama and and McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. jason from woodbridge nj

    this is ridiculous!! of the course the pubs are going to spin this move as mccain being more caring for the economy. We all know he's just using this as a political cop out because he's not ready.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Michael in Houston

    i just don't like the looks of this. All of a sudden you care now McCain, sounds to me that since your boy Bush couldn't get ait resolved before Friday, all of sudden you want to stop your campaign and act like you care. McCain didn't want to face the blasting he was going to get on Friday. Check this out : IF YOU AND OBAMA ARE ACTUALLY LISTENING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WE DON'T WANT THIS 700 BILLION DOLLOR WELFARE CHECK WRITTEN TO THESE GREEDY, DESTRUCTIVE COMPANIES. Obama, man i have been a big supportor of yours but don't make me have to write Ron Paul in on my ballot. What you in Washington don't understand is to most of us, the economy is horrible. Most of us who still have anything are barely hanging on to what we have left, and if we do lose our last little bit, so what. It is material crap but to get back to the topic, Wall Street needs to learn a lesson. Vote no for this bailout McCain and Obama if either of you are so called "Change" Candadites. Otherwise you are just like the rest of them and I will cast my vote elsewhere.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Elaine Foster

    I have the perfect solution to our economic woes. Warren Buffet came up with five billion dollars. McCain could sell six of his seven houses and all but one of his many automobiles and make a similar billion dollar contribution to Wall Street's staggering debt. In the same spirit of patriotism, all the wealthy gurus on Wall Street and in Congress could contribute their share. In no time at all, our economy would be as "sound" as McCain and Bush have always insisted that it is.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. whitewomanforobama

    Oh Gee, this is really transparent. McCain is looking for a way to avoid debating Obama. A week ago McCain said the "fundamentals" of the economy were good, then this week he's a populist, now he wants to pospone the debates "to work on the economy." If McCain really cares about the nation's financial crises, MAYBE, he and the greedy Bushies should NOT have caused them in the first place!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. JayT.

    It's like that kid across the street who all week has been telling you how he could beat you in basketball and so you decide to play on Friday and when Friday rolls around he tells you he has homework to do and will have to re-schedule. I wonder if McCain will try to replace the date with the date Palin is supposed to debate Biden so he can keep her under his wing all the way through the election. At this point, I'd put nothing past the McCain camp. They are desperate.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Workinwithu

    Hello McCain,

    This is a time when we the voters need to know how our candidate for the next President are going to handle crisis and is this what we get?

    Naw, sorry buddy, you are not getting my vote. It may just be one vote, but it's one vote you won't get.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. mary, colorado springs

    This should start the rumors flying around the halls of Washington: is McCain having doubts about his candidacy? I'm glad Obama didn't ask to postpone the debate, the Republicans would really have taken that and run with it and have accused him with all sorts of inuendos.

    I should think this is not a good idea at this time of his campaign, just a few weeks before the election. He will never be able to catch up, if he's out too long, especially since he's fallen behind now.

    It will be interesting to see where this leads.


    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Leericists

    Wow !!!! Why does John Mc Cain always has to act like he cares more than every body else. He can suspend his campaign if he wants but i really hope nothing changes about the friday's debate. He's probably not ready !!! Not that his idea isn't patriotic but i really but i don't trust when it comes from the mouth of a sellout like Mc Same.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Jimmy

    Am I reading this correctly or did McLiar camp jump on the opportunity to come out with this statement first even though it was Barack Obama that called him first with this idea????
    Please tell me if I'm wrong but that's how I'm reading this....

    If that's the case McCain is just using this as a platform parlour trick to add the illusion to the american people he can be in charge. Well he definately isn't fooling me and I certainly hope the rest of the American people aren't fooled either!!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. ari

    Can we postpone the elections for 4 years PLEASE!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Andy

    Political stunt. McCain is running one of the most awkward and disfunctional campaigns I can ever recall. He has shifted from Washinton insider with the most experience to agent of change and maverick. From champion of pure conservatism and deregulation to populist and regulator.

    If America falls for any of this they will get exactly what they deserve.

    Btw the efforts to delay the debate amount to nothing more than trying to keep the Palin- Biden debate overshadowed and under important. They want to delay the first debate so that their first one falls one day after Palin becomes a gaffe machine. I am so sick of this crap. Stop the charade McCain.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Gary

    On's frontpage, "McCain called Obama and challenged HIM", that is not true, Obama called McCain, to work together. Get it right! It even says Obama called McCain in the ticker.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. White/female/age 55/Texan

    He's just trying to look all presidential and incharge. I guess he probably can't really concentrate on more than one big thing at a time.
    Just remember McSame, whose's party and policies got us into this crisis.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Pat F

    It's called "leadership". BO, take notes.

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Oh Me, Oh My

    Yea, Yea, Yea, here McCain goes again bringing back Sept 11, Yea right, hiding is not going to make you win-America being bamboozled
    Washington will be ready to lead our country when your party is out!

    Go Obama! In you I trust-$- Proud West Indian American

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

    Are you KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hiding Palin and now he's trying to hide too. Obama, don't fall for this. It's late in the season and November is too close to put things off. Make him bring his butt out on the court and face you...FRIDAY!

    September 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Joe Green

    Sounds to me like Mccain is running away from the debate.

    Here's the solution to the economic crises – a new government.

    So let the debate go forward. The sooner Bush is out of Office, the sooner we can fix the economy.

    Oh wait, that won't play well for McCain, will it?

    Another "Maverick" move from the man!

    The Maverick was a pretty crappy car, wasn't it?

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Sandy Fahrnbruch

    The debates should not be postponed. Let's see how these 2 candidates behave under pressure. A president must be able to deal with more than one crisis at a time.

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. lil yogini, san diego (north county)

    Are you kidding me? Seriously?

    Sounds to me like McCain is afraid to debate Obama considering he is falling like a rock in the polls.

    This is a bunch of crap.

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. anonymous

    I am not sure what to make of this move. I agree, the country is in crisis, but this seems to that, the McCain camp just want to buy some time. I could be wrong, but at this point, I question the motives of all his actions.

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Josh

    While I applaud Mccain for doing his job, I question the timing. This crisis didn't happen this monring, its been looming for some time and has been blatantly obvious for at least a week, yet the campaigning has been rolling the whole time. Is somebody just not quite up to speed yet for the debate???

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. jeffery martin

    Hats of to McCain for taking this step. He is showing leadership when we need it the most. Just fyi i am an Obamma supporter

    September 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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