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. James in Ohio

    Wow. This is a bold move. One might even say the move of a leader who will work across party lines to better all the American people.

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. O'Bama 08


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

    Desperation, not bipartisanism.

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

    Well that's going to go over like a ton of bricks.

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

    It is the only way McCrypt can get a handle on all the lies coming out of his camp!

    September 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Darrel from Denver

    Grandstand play on McCain's part in an attempt to look presidential and take a leadership role.

    This 'crisis' is being manufactured in order to grab as much power for the Executive branch as possible. It is, in reality, not a crisis at all. It is a few businesses floundering because of bad management and now looking for handouts.

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

    Uh, yeah . . . he needs to pull back, regroup, gather more steam. He's tanking fast - so say the polls.

    Or, he's having a stroke.

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

    I do agree with this. I don't like McCain and really can't stand Palin but I think this is the most responsible move the presidential candidates could make. Just leave Palin home or better yet, send her back to Alaska.

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

    Wow . . . I don't know what to say.

    This is either the dumbest move in political history or a grossly-cynical belief on the part of McCain-Palin Team that the citizens of the United States are as foolish as they are.

    No Guts, No Glory . . . I guess.

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Don

    McGramps is grandstanding here.

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. just vote

    What???? No! No! No!

    First of all the FED already made up their mind on what they will do.What will Mcain do at this point? Obama do not trust this man. Why can't they start this on Monday? He has rushed to another decision and this will not stop Nov 4th. What is he thinking?

    I belive he is protecting Palin once again.Everybody know AMERICA is in trouble so what can either party do right now?

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. Its a Trick

    dont fall for it...he could have done this on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesay or Thursday...what the hell is he gonna do on FRIDAY!!!
    Chicken, no Pig!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. S. Boatman

    This Shows Mccain Is Not Prepared! He Is Trying To Weasel His Way Out Of The Debates! The Bill Can Be Handled Without You Mccain! They Dont Need The Input Of A Deregulating Maverick! Stand Up And Debate Like A Man!

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. concern

    Here we go again!! John Mccain is trying to act as though this can't be done without him or Stop Obama from Beating him!!

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Noah

    John McCain and his political stunts. There you go again... When's the last time he showed up for a vote?

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. PoliticoPundit

    That's a good thing to do. Once again, McCain has proven that he is willing to risk his campaign for country ( first). I would hopethat "hope Obama" would do the same.

    the following comment is for next article : laura Bush – Foreign Experience-Sarah: ( since it is closed now)

    Bush said lot of things. and CNN picked one which suited for them and to malign, once again, Palin's experience. For the readers. Sara is not Running for President, McCain is. Secondly, We never talk about Obama's foreign experience. He went on world tour when everyone forced him to do so ( dems). Before that he haven't travelled anywhere as a Senetor. he was raised in Indonesia, that doesn't give him foreign experience. Come on ..

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. LOT

    McCain is just using this for political reasons. He is not ready for this debate. Why should we believe him now, he lied too much . Enough of this Senator McCain!!!!

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Rufus McGillicutty

    Nice stunt/ploy. Don't fall for this feeble attempt at "leadership". McCain's debate prep must not be going according to plan...

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. debbie

    He might have just made the most important decision of his campaign again proving he puts country ahead of his political future. Here is Mccain suspending his campaign to help and there is Obama having to prepare for a debate. Please wake up America!

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Honestlady

    Another one of John McCain's stunts....................................

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Steven McCarthy

    What a crock. What is he going to do. Ride in on a white horse and solve the problem. Looks like someone is just unprepared to debate and wants to wait to the polls regain in his favor. It he a maverick or a coward.

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader


    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Proud Soldeirs Mom

    Now that is being a leader. Don't hold your breath waiting for a reply from Obama. It will atke a while for Obama to get all of his advisors together the tell him what to do!

    McCain – The true Maverick – The True leader

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

    Nice posturing, McInsane. But admit it. You don't want to debate Obama because you know that you have nothing to say. Yesterday your vote didn't matter. Today you are going to pull your white horse routine. Pathetic. Just give up already.

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Shane Bierwith

    Wow. So the economy's been tanking for the past 8 years and all of a sudden it's top on his list of priorities. What a crock of you know what. Those 90 minutes on Friday night will TOTALLY be the end of the economy if they decide to move forward with the debate. I'm so tired of Republicans backing out of everything and giving BS reasons why they don't need to explain themselves.

    September 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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