September 29th, 2008
02:22 PM ET
12 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. Abul

    What this guy think?? that we all are stupid enough to believe this???
    Hi doesn't have moral to be the president of this country.

    September 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Ken in Dallas

    McCain's now insulting Teddy Roosevelt with his self-serving lies.

    Roosevelt was a Progressive Republican, an extinct breed.

    McCain is a laissez-faire dogma Republican, the kind Roosevelt campaigned against.

    September 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. John

    I really feel sorry for this country, to see an experienced ,POW ,presidential nominee Senator John McCain lie to the people about where he stands and play politics.

    He keeps flip-flopping and doesn't see the consequence of his own actions.

    Its unfortunate that a white man standing for president can lie and make false accusation and is allowed to act the same in real life.

    God save this great country which has been a hope for all in this world.

    September 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Seattle Voter

    I use to respect McCain but not anymore. Maybe there's a truth from a friend of mine who was also a Vietnam veteran that the reason McCain was shot down was he was dumb!

    September 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. I Invented the McMuffin... and fire

    "Idiot" was originally created to refer to "layman, person lacking professional skill", "person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning".[6][7] Declining to take part in public life, such as democratic government of the polis (city state), such as the Athenian democracy, was considered dishonorable. "Idiots" were seen as having bad judgment in public and political matters. Over time, the term "idiot" shifted away from its original connotation of selfishness and came to refer to individuals with overall bad judgment–individuals who are "stupid". In modern English usage, the terms "idiot" and "idiocy" describe an extreme folly or stupidity, and its symptoms (foolish or stupid utterance or deed). In psychology, it is a historical term for the state or condition now called profound mental retardation.[8]

    September 29, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Straight From the Horses ..... Mouth ?

    Honestly ... what did he suspend?

    1st – Pailin and his other operatives made appearances ALL WEEK

    2nd – on the day, Thursday I believe it was, that he was suppose to "suspend" I know I saw TV ads run for him

    3rd – he announced this on Wednesday and stiffed Letterman on an interview but then delayed leaving for Washington to talk with Katie Couric that night and to make a 'very political" speach a Clinton's mtg the next day.

    4th – he continued debate preparation throughout the week including in his apartment in Virginia while he was suppposed in Washington "not phoning it in".

    5th – He was 100% useless and InEffective with his visit.

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Thanks but no thanks McCain

    McCain you're full of it!- The bailout started without you and ended without you- they didn;t need you! I know that hurts but often the truth does!!


    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Ex-Republican for Obama

    He suspends his campaign, and suddenly nothing gets done where he goes...par for the course Johnny, par for the course.

    McCain/Palin: The problem to all of our solutions

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Dan

    All I've been hearing is that John put the negotiations in a tail spin by showing up to the meeting at the last minute. Both republicans and democrats alike, said he did nothing, and said nothing of substance. They said his showing up just for a photo opp, was ridiculous and not productive.

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Jim in Raleigh

    But he didn't suspend his campaign. He still ran ads. He still sent out his news updates. He still went on the air with CBS (though not Letterman), made a pollitical speech, and other stops before heading to D.C. (including spending the night in NY).

    He lies a bit too easily – of course, it fits the party – just look at the current administration.

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. desertique

    i think he suspended his brain activity. geez we are that stupid

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Tara

    NOT ONLY was John McCain NOT on capital Hill. NOt only was he at his campaign head quarters but Saturday night he was at a very expensive resturant ( entre's starting at $55.00 not inlcuding salad drings dessert. )having dinner with Liberman, while Mr. and Mrs. America struggled to just eat. Bill Press talked about it this morning on his radio show. This whole I am going back to washington crap is just that ... CRAP

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Tyler, Cambridge, MA

    Why do people who call themselves morally righteous defend the endless string of lies and mockery at the heart of McCain's campaign?

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Mike in Sacramento,Ca

    Just shut up are making a fool of yourself.

    September 29, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Michelle, St. Louis, MO

    He has a lot of nerve attacking Obama for keeping his cool throughout this crisis. McCain switched positions so many times, he didn't know what to do. Obama showed real leadership and McCain didn't. He so called suspending his campaign was a political stunt, a gimmick!

    I hope Obama comes back swiftly with a response to how this man responded during this crisis. He needs to show him where the "real" leadership lies.

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. McGimmick gimmick FAILED!

    What the HELL happened McGimmick? I thought you said this gimmick would work. You even went on TV yesterday bragging about how you whipped the GOP in place, now tell me, if your own GOP party don't trust or respect you WHY SHOULD I?

    Your PHONE A FRIEND Thing didn't work! Get your gimmicky behind back in Washington and FIX THIS THING!

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Chris

    Well why hasn't he suspended his campaign again seeing how Wall St. has gone FUBAR. Country first John, remember?

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. bob

    "Senator Obama just doesn’t get it"

    Hmmm... isn't this the same line the democrats have been using against McCain for the last month. Do the McCain's campaign strategists have any original ideas other than repeating the Obama Campaign's ads with the names changed out?!?!? No wonder they are losing.

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. NY loves Obama

    McGimmick did not suspend his campaign. I saw two ads, Sarah Palin's shameless photo-op at the World Trade Center, Sarah Palin taking questions from reporters, and the McCain/Clinton love fest at the Global meeting on the day he "suspended" his campaign. Who is he trying to fool? The people who are not closely following this circus of events? I will move to Canada if America doesn't get this election right this time. God Bless Obama and God Bless us all!

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Bill O'Reilly

    He's a MAVERICK! He's not ms. Congeniality! He's a stoopid, old fool!

    September 29, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Sammy

    I am curious. Just how exactly did his phone calls help? Did he get more republicans to vote yes today that otherwise would have? Or did he give a reason for more republicans to vote no?

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Thanks but no thanks McCain


    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Becky

    Well he could have emailed it in.

    Oh wait, that's right...can't use email...

    WHAT SUSPENSION?!? His campaign still sent the typical update email to reporters on Thursday morning. And HOW LONG did it take McCain to get to Washington? And, his campaign said that he would only be able to vote this week on the bailout if "schedule permits".

    WHAT A JOKE! Keep preying (correct word choice) on the ignorant, McCain! Good for you there are still a lot of them!

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Lisa M

    Honey if you can't "phone this in" then what are you going to do as Prez when you're in Africa on a visit and something happens somewhere else that you "need to deal with"?

    What are you going to drop. That's what phones are for.

    PS. we have fax machines too–they send whole sheets of papers.

    You ran McCain.

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. RDS

    Its amazing how much he lies. Wasn't it his campaign that put out a press release Saturday that he wouldn't be going to Washington he would just be communicating over the phone!

    September 29, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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