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. Jethro

    Sounds more like he knew he would be thrashed and chickened out to me.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Juan from L.A

    BS!!! Now more than ever we need a debate to hear what these two have to say...simple as that...he is panicking since even Fox News today showed he is losing ground!!! Obama don't fall for it. If anything you go and have the debate with PBS/NBC. Tell us what you will do.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Obama 08

    I guess this will give time for the McCain campaign to find a huge scandal about Obama before the debates.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. lovinsun8

    He's scared of the debate

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Lipstick Wearer for Obama

    Haha! Old Man is scared! He's not ready...He is not ready to lead. Dangerously unprepared. So glad I live in a early voting state! This race is over.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Dem for unity

    Barack can still vote and keep the campain going. It is called Multi tasking. MCcain is trying to buy time so he can prep on what is probably the most important debate he will have to put forward. By doing so. This gives MCcain time to prep. He should be ready now. Not in a week or 2 weeks. MCcain just trying to be slick. This is not just about the economy. This is all about MCcain. Holla if ya hear me!!!!!!!!!!! Obama/Biden 2008

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Charla in TX

    Seems to me like he could let his totally competent, completely qualified, ready to go VP candidate handle the campaign business, no???

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

    I disagree that the debate should be postponed. We should not allow this crisis to be politicized. What are going to do next, post pone the election? Anything to slow down the momentum I guess. Smells fishy to me.

    Multi task!

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Concerned Voter

    Let the debate continue! He should not have more time to prepare! The Republicans are all SNAKES!

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

    Clearly he isn't ready. Does he think we're that stupid?

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

    I hate to admit it, but this is a brilliant chess move by the McCain campaign. Notice how many times he says some version of "I encourage the Obama campaign to join me."

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Working the refs

    I hope Obama doesn't fall for this faux leadership gambit. Come on McCain, it's just a debate.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. An Independent Hillary

    Well said Senator McCain. Obama and Clinton need to join him and turn this mess around! The time for playing games is over!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. John, FL

    What a drama queen. Why help the Federal Reserve? I don't trust Henry Paulson with $500B, he's a Bush appointee. The Federal Reserve is unconstitutional anyway.

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Hmmm. suspect

    Hmmm. this is a little suspect if you ask me. He needs more time to prepare to get demolished in the debate. RUNNING SCARED... don't use the crisis to hide that fact.


    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Mariann Poopitone

    You have got to be kidding me. McCain knows he's going to be ripped to shreds and he's running scared!!! UNBELIEVABLE

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

    Senator Obama is kicking your as- Senator McCain.

    You must be able to handle multiple tasks. What is wrong with you? Are you too old for the job?

    Don't fall for this sucker punch Senator Obama.

    Let's have the debate, the American voter has been waiting a long time. DO NOT DELAY THE DEBATES!

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

    I smeel someone is not ready for the debates. Does not sound like the Republican thing to do which is why I am voting Dem this one time (and last)

    September 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Dan Democrat

    Yes! This campaign is finally over. McCain should have been locked away in the attic, not nominated to stammer through meaningless rambles of ReThug nonsense at the Debate. This is elder abuse. Everybody knows Obama is the greatest speaker of our time. People won’t even know McCain is on the same stage. Obama is going to destroy that feeble old man. McCain will need paramedics to help him down off the stage.

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

    I think it is a "STALL" tactic, because McCain knows he is losing.

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

    IT'S A TRAP!

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

    How convenient for him. He's just scared to face Obama in a debate!

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

    Has he ever heard of airplanes??
    He probably heard Bidens speech this morning
    tearing him apart on his foreign policy and needs
    time to regroup.
    The debate needs to go on, no excuses Mccain.

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

    A noble gesture to suspend and head to the Capitol and give McCain credit for thinking fast and acting first to support his Country First campaign mantra. Too bad he has the Palin decision as blood on his hands, the inqualified, unmitigated disaster that she is and will evolve to bean even greater,stinky baggage on news that will evolve in the coming weeks–if what is not bad enought on what is out on her already.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Shirley-Ohio

    Keep campagining Obama. You have done all you can on this because you are not president yet. All they need is input from you, Bush should take care of this. Would McCain have done this if the FBI was involve. What in the hell is he trying to hide. McCain is trying to covering up before the FBI get to them.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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