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. Terry

    This man turns my stomach and is so transparent but what we see is just plain disgusting. As for the problems facing America there enough blame to go around for all parties.

    September 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Trysh, Los Angeles

    If he genuinely thought he'd done the right thing, he wouldn't be defending it right now. He sees how we responded to it and he is trying to do damage control.

    September 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Bert Killian

    Hey Doug D: Most of these posts are spam slams by the Obama campaign; just mindless drivel being propelled by hate. You cannot argue with someone who is really not here. I am with you buddy.

    September 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Republican not buying it..




    September 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. sallievoter

    oh, john and sarah,




    September 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. JayT.

    At this point there is no convincing you if you are still voting McCain/ Palin. As those who voted for Bush/ Cheney in 2004 had literal blood on their hands in relation to the war, those who vote McCain/ Palin in 2008 will have the figurative blood of a crashed economy on their hands. Serves them well. I only wish those who see the forest for the trees did not have to go down with them.

    September 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Jim in NY

    Thank heavens that John McCain put everyone through the additional drama that he did. As we can see It Really made a difference 😉
    I will vote for the stable team-
    Obama/biden in 08!

    September 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. MN

    1. McCain did not suspend his campaign. He said he was going to, but he didn't. Ads were run. Talking heads were all over the television.

    2. McCain spent all day Saturday "phoning it in" to Washington.

    It's hard to believe anything he says anymore. He will do something right in front of your face, and then thinks that if he tells you over and over that he didn't do it, that eventually you'll believe him and start questioning yourself.

    McCain is not the answer to our tough times. With all due respect, his policies and political stunts just aren't what our country needs right now.

    September 29, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Sue, California

    John McCain's "suspension" of his campaign was a joke. So was the threat not to debate. All he did was make a bad situation worse. What is hardest to believe is that his campaign thinks Americans can't see through this charade.

    My take on the debate is that McCain did not look at Obama because one of his handlers told him not to lose his famous temper. You could tell by the look on his face that he came close.

    September 29, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Susan

    HE COULD HAVE USED HIS BALCKBERRY, the one he invented.

    September 29, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. gene

    This is such a joke.. he suspends his campaign, runs to washington to help fix the problem. Ok.. that would be noble if that was how it happened. Instead.. while everyone is participating in a serious discussion.. he's just sitting back there with a smirk on his face and not contributing at all. Then at the end.. his imput consisted of him stating that house Republicans needed to be included in the negotiation since they refused to participate initially. Unfortunately.. he was parroting a statement already made by Howard Dean. So.. McCain flies accross the country to sit in a meeting and contribute NOTHING. Thanks McCain for being there.

    September 29, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. The Fab One

    You should have phoned it in, Sen. McAncient. You'd have had more interaction over the phone than you reportedly did in person.

    GO OBAMA!!

    September 29, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Vote Out the LOSERS

    Too bad McCain and Obama don't have to defend why they have suspended their Senatorial Duties to run their campaigns.

    I don't vote for politicians so that they can spend their time in office out on the campaign trail trying to get a promotion.

    The audacity of these two. Talk about wasting money and time. Good thing Congress is almost ready for recess...then maybe they won't feel so guilty about bilking the taxpayer.

    September 29, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. MinFL

    Like others have asked, when did he actually suspend his campaign?

    No answer, eh?

    September 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Big Ed

    What suspension? Talk about failure to lead, Senator McCain couldn't deliver the Republican votes for the bailout, so much for his leadership and trip to Washington D.C.. Then his cronies are upset about what Speaker Pelosi said. They got their feelings hurt, so twelve of them changed their vote. Because their feelings were hurt. "Take that America!" Country First my foot! Where were the Republicans when Cowboy Bush kept shooting off at the mouth? What's good for the Republicans is good for the Democrats! McCain and Palin – can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk!

    Hey, you twelve – if your vote depends on how your ego is stoked, there's a bus leaving town soon. You should plan to be on it. Prema- Donna sissies!

    September 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Samuel

    That is a Lie. Senator McCain, your credibility is fading very fast. No one takes you serious anymore. Check it out and save yourself from self destruction.

    September 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. tim

    McCain.... you are a sleezy worm who will say anything to get into office.

    I really dislike the republican party now. I used to be republican, but not this year. I will not vote in a person who can't even look his opponent in the eye.


    September 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. hometowndemocrat

    A Teddy Roosevelt republican??????? Shame on you John putting yourself in league with President Roosevelt! I'm sure if the man was alive today he would be horrified at the very idea!

    The ONLY thing that this republican ticket and Teddy Roosevelt have in common is that they both like to shoot things. Roosevelt liked to shoot wild game, Palin likes to shoot moose and McCain likes to shoot off his mouth!

    September 29, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. C W

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, the sun doesn't come up unless John McCain tells it to!

    Everyone can see through the publicity stunt your "suspension" was.

    Maybe the real reason he seemed so grumpy during his debate was because the stunt didn't work!

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Dan in CHI

    Here is the GOP playbook as though I needed to expose it:

    Stratagem 1: MISLEAD by any means necessary, omission of the truth or outright lies OK
    Strategem 2: DISTRACT (via multiple outrageous actions and statements)
    Stratagem 3: INVERT your weaknesses and flip them onto your opponent
    Stratagem 4: DENIGRATE the opponent via attack or dismissal of their legitimacy or policies
    Stratagem 5: PARROT any ideas or language that is working for your opponent, and obfuscate the origin of anything that is working as intended for your opponent (see stratagem #1)

    sounds like a recipe for "change", doesn't it? NOT. Sounds like Bushie. "That's fuzzy may-ath!"

    I dare any republycanthrope to refute this post. DARE you.

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Thomas Oladele

    What Americans and Obama should ask Mccain is IS THE SURGE WORTH THE OVER 4000 DEATH AND THE WASTED BILLIONS,COUPLE WITH LOW RATING OF AMERICA IN THE WORLD AND THE WORST ECONOMIC PROBLEM IN HISTORY The answer from Mccain should be Yes or No.If Mccain can answer Yes then we should vote for him but if it is NO then he should go and live in Alaska,forfeiting his 8 houses and 13 suvs

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. barbara campbell

    These people just invent reality minute-by-minute, not caring whether they repeatedly contradict themselves.

    I guess when you're responsible for sending over 4000 good Americans to their deaths in Iraq; when you've participated in the economic collapse of the wealthiest country in the world; when you've sold your soul to the rich and powerful – you really don't want the American people to know where you stand. Hence the moving target.

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. A Boston

    It's not like you made any contribution John else we'd be seeing some results ehhh!?! Well there's still no bail out. We're in even a worst situation then wwe were on Thursday. How come you've decided to resume the campain? I'll tell you why, b/c you're a lying opportunist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Liz F

    yeah, the suspension that never was.
    some ill-dreamed up illusory college football type play, something to throw the voters off the subject, and try to get as many as possible to lay down at the feet of emporer mccain, (hoping no one will see he has no clothes) fanning his majesty with palm fronds and feeding him grapes, because, don't cha know, he deserves it for saving the economy.
    a lot of good it did, huh?
    they still don;t have an answer.

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. sabrina01

    Why drop everything and RUn there and say NOTHING

    September 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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