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. Eric

    Like always, he evoked Sept 11th. This is total bull and McCain knows it.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. Susan in SC

    What's the real angle here? There must be one.... Is he fearful of the debate? Is this his latest (think Palin!) ploy? No way McNasty (I can run these ads because Obama wouldn't meet me at 10 town hall meetings) is suspending his campaign. There has to be an angle I am missing! Anyone??????

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. J e r o n i m o !

    No WAY John "DE- regulator"!


    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. jAYjAY

    PHONY POLITICAL TRICK,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    McCain is part of the problem

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Larry-Minn.

    Well done John and thanks. Hope the other side joins you. We have to get this figured out to protect our country.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Test

    Haha, McSame can't handle the workload anymore!

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. s

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? This is- wow! I don't even know what to say... America vote for the candidate that is always READY!!!


    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. Amy, NY

    For a little, I thought he was suspending his campaign for good! Sad!

    I am sorry but this is a bad bad political move! He is trying to escape from an unavoidable defeat! He wants to pretend that they will only get back on the trail once the situation is solved...and send to voters the wrong impression that they shoudln't worry about the economy anymore after it cost them over 600,000 jobs!

    I hope Obama will not suspend his campaign. Stakes are too high. He needs to win these elections so that we can put our country back ont tracks.

    Nice try McCain, but no cigar!

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. jav


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

    A cop out...The McCain campaign obviously doesn't like the current momentum going in Obama's direction. McCain is clueless and only cares about his campaign.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Not Ready to Debate?

    Huh? Seriously?! Sounds like someone just needs more time to prepare! This is just bizarre...

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. HF from PA

    An attempt to look non-political that actually comes across as 100% political!!! You are not the President...

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Swwind in CT

    Interesting play.

    Transparent and phoney – but interesting none the less.

    It is clear that McCain is swinging for the fence knowing the national mood gives his party almost no chance. I had once seriously considered McCain, but his act first – think second behavior in these final weeks of the campaign has shown me that he is too much like Bush.

    From "The fundementals of the economy are sound" to this – he will say or do anything to change the nature of the race.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Robbin

    trying to take all eyes off of the Rick Davis thing huh? Nope we want to see the debates Friday....nice try though

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Jeff Wigington

    Why call fo this now? Why not last week when it came up? Could it be that Mr. McCain, seeing his election chances go down the tubes, is trying a changeup to save it?

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. kathy

    No way should Obama agree to postpone the debate! After all McCain is NOT in charge of the debate!.....if he wants to look "more political" by cancelling his shceduling, etc and by cancelling the debate...then he should also unleash his VP running mate puppet to cover some campaign ground..and NOT cancel the debate. The amercian people understand the dire straits we're in...they also have been waiting for the debate to help them make their decision....i say "bring it on" as planned!

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. gourdlady

    Are you kidding me?!!!! This is the biggest POLITICAL move of McCain's campaign....and he can "look presidential" while avoiding a debate...

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Cheri

    What a political stunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!! McCain is just running scared because he is tanking in the polls.I hope the american people don't fall for this crap.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Lisa P

    The debate should go on as scheduled. The world doesn't stop turning because McCain declares a "crisis", and from what I'm hearing Congress is somehow managing to come up with some bipartisanship without either McCain or Obama in town. Maybe that's what McCain is afraid of.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Is He Kidding??

    I don't believe this. Here is the opportunity for me to finally hear what he has to say about how he would handle this crisis and he wants to postpone the first debate? Obama has my vote.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Linda from Minnesota

    He wants to delay the debate because he is afraid of how completely clueless he will look.

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

    this would have meant a great deal if he had contacted the Obama campaign and they announced in a joint manner.
    Now it just looks like a cynical attempt to play the circumstances for political gain.
    I just can't believe McCain anymore and that's a shame. He used to be a truly inspirational man.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Aleisha

    This is absolutely ridiculous! The first debate is about Foreign Policy! Why is he doing this? Is he afraid of the polls? My God man, get it together. You can always go back to Congress Monday. ugh!!!

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

    Suspend campaign? Come on. Looks like another gimmick to me. Get off of the defense, stop the sliding polls...

    OK, take a few days off, go do what needs to be done, no need to get so dramatic and "suspend the campaign." Theatrics.

    I say do not postpone the debate – the American people need to see it. After the sleazy campaign run by McCain, we want to know what he's about.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Oh Boy!!!???


    Way to go there, John.

    Be the first to call a meeting to help clean up the mess you made. We still know who helped create it and why it is there.

    We also know that this was not your idea.

    Stop playing us as fools!

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