September 29th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain defends campaign suspension

Sen. John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign Monday.

Sen. John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign Monday.

(CNN) - John McCain defended his decision to suspend his campaign last week to be on hand as Congress hammered out the details of the financial bailout plan that failed in a House vote Monday afternoon, telling an Ohio crowd that he left the campaign trail because he did not want to “simply phone it in.”

“I know that many of you have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.’ I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican. I believe our leaders belong ‘in the arena’ when our country faces a challenge,” said the Republican nominee. “I’ve never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I’m not going to stop now."

Over the weekend, both McCain and major supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham used similar language in describing the reason for his choice. “John didn’t phone this one in,” Graham told Fox News. “You can’t phone something like this in. Thank God John came back.”

Democrats responded by pointing to comments from top McCain advisor Mark Salter, who said that McCain had decided to spend his time at home or at his campaign headquarters instead of visiting Capitol Hill during marathon negotiations over the bailout bill over the weekend because “he’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can. …He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone,” said Salter.

McCain also told the crowd Monday that he “went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and evil and greed in Washington," and that that Barack Obama had been “watching from the sidelines” as the country faces a growing financial crisis.

“At first he didn’t want to get involved. Then he was ‘monitoring the situation,’” said the Arizona senator. “And watching from the sidelines is exactly what got us into this mess. It was the lack of accountability and oversight that put your working families tax dollars on the line,” he said, repeating his charge that Obama had supported tax increases on the middle class.

“A vote for Barack Obama will leave this country at risk during one of the most severe challenges to America’s economy since the Great Depression. You see, when it comes to growing the economy and protecting you from the corruption of Wall Street and Washington, Senator Obama just doesn’t get it.”

The Obama campaign responded with another statement that again made an issue of McCain’s demeanor. "Senator McCain’s angry diatribe today won’t make up for his erratic response to the greatest financial crisis of our time. John McCain knows that the budget he's talking about didn’t end up raising taxes on a single American,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

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soundoff (279 Responses)
  1. Get Real

    These were the best two comments that sum up that McCain is not a leader Do not be suprised if the GOP all of a sudden steals one of Obama's ideas from the meeting here are the two comments from this blog I like:

    According to sources in the room, the meeting began like this;
    After Pres. Bush convened the meeting, Pelosi began as is customary. ( as the majority leader of the House) She and Reid deferred to Obama. He laid out, without notes, the Democratic ideas about what safeguards the bill must have. When finished, Pelosi asked Sen. McCain to respond with the Republican plan at which time Sen. McCain deferred to the Republican Congressional leadership and said nothing else.
    Yep, he’s quite the leader.
    Did a lot of good too from the looks of things.

    During his campaign suspension, McCain claimed that he was devoting his time—ALL of his time—to the important task of solving the economic crisis.

    Later we learned this was not true. He spent Thursday evening, and Friday morning preparing for a debate that he swore he had no intention of participating in without a bailout deal. He refused to take a stand on the measure during the meeting with Bush and other officials. He claimed he would return to Capitol Hill after the debate, then it leaked that he had not done so, but instead was ‘working the phones’ in regards to solving the crisis. The very thing he criticized Obama for doing prior to the debate.

    It was a dishonorable attempt to score political points. He should be ashamed of himself. He is unfit to be president.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. ajks

    McCain is a complete idiot! He tried to use the bailout for political purposes and now look what is happening! Now he will have to go back and get his cronies to take his side!

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. tina

    He needs to stop lying. plain and simple. It did not go over as he had hoped and he lost the debate...We don't need another gambler in the white house. He was seen by everyone as a mean grumpy old man. Who did not have the common courtesy and respect of looking his debate opponent in the face. But I guess when you are going down in flames it is probably hard to look at the new when you are the old.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. mark

    I love how Ed Rollings talks about McCain as a gambler as some sort of positive trait. I don't want a gambler in the White House. McCain has lost the trust of the American people...

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Mickie in PA

    And I thought he said at the debate enough progress had been made that he wasn't needed - well guess what McCain, the Country doesn't need you misleading us on every turn any more. Retire to one of your homes (which I belive is 9 not 7).

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Pitbull without lipstick (get Palin out of my city, philly)

    And stop blaming Obama for the bill's failure it was the petty republicans once again to destroy our beloved country and americans. this is as expected in fact maybe they did this on purpose and then McCain will swoop in and pretend like he will convince the GOP party to vote for it and claim credit. This would be another political gimmick. The GOPS probably got together in a secret meeting to discuss this whole political gimmick.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Jan in CA

    Well it obviously didn't work for you to show up either!! You blinked dude and you can't bring in the vote so it was for nothing.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Melly

    This guy suspended his campaign, when to washington, injected politics into the bailout plan and HAS THE NERVE to defend his STUPID decision.






    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Matt

    He didn't suspend anything!!! You need to call him on this CNN, especially since you posted a story about it and everyone knows this is a lie. Enough is enough. He kept ads running, he kept surrogates talking, he did an interview with Couric, he spoke at CGI, his website kept seeking donations, he arrived in DC about the same time Obama did and they went to the meeting, WHERE HE SAID NOTHING. His arrival caused Republicans to suddenly balk at the bill. At some point CNN, you need to put aside ad revenues and stick up for what's right. And this is clearly NOT RIGHT.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. dlc

    I cant believe that liberman or graham can see what McCain is doing considering they have their heads up his rearend all the time. Its like Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCainty, Either Leiberman or Graham are telling Mccain who he is with, where he is, what he is doing. It's like the three stooges, ( sorry stooges for the insult ) McCain did not say anything in the meeting with the president. He was not helpful in any way. He needs to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Obama can do it, so can my 5 year old cousin. Suspend his campaign, what an idiot. He could fly to DC without making all the clucking noises and vote, or put in his two cents to a committe that he is not even on. Is this what you want leading our country? Sad day.

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. D&D

    The funny thing about whatever he's telling the crowd is there will be people who are actually going to believe this crap!

    Unbelievable McCain!

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. sallievoter

    Mccain thinks the whole country is stupid. Actually, though, only about 42% of them are according to Gallup today.

    Mccain did the old cut and run trying to get out of the debate. Then, he did the old cut and run and hid out all day Saturday after the debate.

    He did NOTHING by obstruct progress and make a total fool of himself.

    America, you just have to ask yourself how much of this crap are you willihg to listen to?


    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Rob

    your gimmick theatrics failed Mr. McCain. You can spin yourself to death and this just isn't going to ever look good on you. perhaps it's time for a permanent suspension for your campaign before it's too late... or maybe not it is kind of fun watching you implode.

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Lee in Ohio

    So he decided not to phone it in, then he phoned it in. Okay, I get that.

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Independent, white female !

    John Mccain is just another greedy politician who played politics with his drama last week and still is doing it today. He did not suspend his campaign, he did not help the republicans in the house understand the gravity of the ecnomic problem we are having. He couldn't get through to his republican buddies, he is not getting anywhere.

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. obama fan

    It has all blew up in his face and I think it is hilarious!!!! He was going to be the big HERO and now he looks like a moron!!!

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Beverly Davis


    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Election Watcher

    McCain was right to suspend the campaing, as Obama should have. I heard the speech he gave on Saturday, and he was trying to take credit for the bailout agreement, calling it "his" package.
    Do we need that? I say No way No bama!
    "O" = zero

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Alameda Chris

    McCain should have not gotten into politics and just stayed a war hero. Now he is a joke who will be better remembered for the sleaziest presidential campaign ever instead of for his sacrifice to his country. So sad.

    September 29, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Darrell

    This coming from a man that has no honour or credibility left whatsoever.He has been conning Americans with his campaign and if he were in business he would be in jail for his conduct.All the honour he had is wiped out and gone.There is nothing you can believe anymore from this man.NOTHING !!! He is a disgrace to to the campaign even more so then Bush.

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Barney

    If all christians lie like McCain and Palin, I'm not qualified to be a christian.

    Theenks but no theenks.

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Michigan Voter

    McGimmick shouldn't have to defend anything. He's a maverick, right?
    He's right about one thing, according to his last ad: Change is coming!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Bradley

    If it was so important for McCain to be in Washington last week, what has changed this week? In fact, isn't the Senate voting on the bill right now? If it is so important, why isn't he casting his vote?

    By the way, why did it take him over 24 hours to get from NYC to Washington last week?

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. marie

    Yes next he will try and cancel the VP Debate. Or better yet they are probably going to replace her with Mitt Romney. He has been all over the new channels this weekend. And didn't he phone in his vote or did he not vote. Which one? LIAR

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Rick

    The House fails to take action and then they immediate depart before 3PM. I'd like a job at which I could completely fail, leave early and still get paid.

    September 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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