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. wjc

    And despite all of the gimmicks, McCain still pounds on with the insulting "Country First" slogan. Apparently, you believe in "Country First" if you agree with McCain, but not if you don't. I am a LIBERAL (there I've said it), and I believe in putting the country first. What a condescending windbag!

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. CNN = Jerry Springer of news

    The new mantra of the McCain campaign is to repeat how McCain is a "Teddy Roosevelt" Republican over and over. He made this comment several times on "This Week" on ABC. Going back to the past of Teddy Roosevelt is not going to help him look like a forward-thinker, which is what the voters are looking for in these dire times. I thought he was the "original Maverick" which should mean he is beyond comparison to other politicians.

    I am truly tired of McCain. The only way he was able to keep his composure during the debate was to not look at his opponent. That certainly did not portray a presidential demeanor to me. His consistent procolomation that Obama "just doesn't understand" really made him look old because he did not support his claim with facts, he merely wanted the public to believe him because of his "wisdom," which is code for age.

    McCain did nothing to help the credit crisis. It was a political stunt and he should be ashamed of himself, trying to use this critical situation as a political photo-op.

    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. We love Sarah


    September 29, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Becky

    McCain "suspending" his campaign showed America that he doesn't trust leaving Sarah Palin in charge, even just for a day or two...

    Hey, John, I wouldn't either!

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Independent

    What did McCain achieve by suspending? The bill failed. Show me leadership McCain.

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Wendy in NC

    PHONE IT IN??? Heck he had the bill in his hands for three days – it was a 2 1/2 page bill and he couldn't be bothered to read it. Meanwhile Obama was on TV listing the things that must be included in the bill inorder for him to consider it. Someone teach McCain to use 'The Google" and 'The Blackberry' he invented.

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. McGimmick gimmick FAILED!

    The ecomony is bleeding like a freaking pig in lipstick and the only thing McGimmick offers the American people is more lies?

    ANYONE voting for this man should be charged with TREASON!

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Greg in Colorado

    He never did suspend his campaign... that was politics as usual. I was at the gym at saw his commercials and him with Katie Courac and a Bill Clinton sighting... so I am guessing that the economy was probably 10th on the list... next to health care.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Phil, CA

    Phone it in? Do they still make those two-piece, hand-cranked telephones?

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. No longer for McCain

    It has become apparent that John McCain is loosing his mind.
    The choice of Sara Palin for his running mate was questionable enough. His idea that suspending his campaign and going to a photo op in Washington would save the country is another stupid more decision on his part. What really gets me is he continues to say the same untrue statements even after they have been proven wrong.
    I cant not vote for an out right liar.

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Tammy - KCMO

    It wasn't that important to you.

    You cancelled Letterman to be on Katie Couric's show, spent another night there. Said nothing when you did get there. After the debate when you were "heading straight back to handle things" you were off having dinner with your buddy Lieberman while the rest of the politicians worked on the package. Simply a photo op and a chance to try to take credit for something you did nothing to accomplish. Will you vote this time? Or will it be like all the other times you were a no-show.

    People are starting to see you for who you really are now McCain. An empty suit that says and does anything to get into office. Makes me wonder what promises you've made to your largest donors.l

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Linda

    Why am I not surprised. The GOP in the house are concerned about their own reelection campaigns – not that of McCain. Just shows what they think of him.

    September 29, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. mohan, Bogota

    Hypocrisy at its highest Peak!!!

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. J from DC

    Let Obama and the Democrats continue to do what they do best to make the country profitable. Old Joe Biden basically said it best when he took on both McCain and Palin, in his last speech. He did not get much press because of the bailout circus. Biden spoke to women issues, and on the economy. I think that is why so many women favor the Democratic Ticket. It is because of Joe Biden, and this Economy. Biden is not only ready for the debate; he is also ready for the Oval Office. I am fully persuaded that Obama and Biden, can turn this economy and country around. Someone tell McCain and Palin,”Thanks, but no Thanks.”

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. bonna

    Please, spare me, old man

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Tony



    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Bulldog

    Once an honorable man but no longer. If he were in the military he would be getting a dishonorable discharge by today's standards.

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. SDunn

    McCain step down and allow someone competent to take over! You are a pandering liar!!

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Wes

    I find it interesting McCain keeps calling himself a "Teddy Roosevelt Republican", Theodore Roosevelt was the worst kind of populist, whichever way the wind blows president we had in the 20th century. Although, like so much else with popular perceptions of historical figures, the legend has replaced fact.

    Mark Twain wrote about Roosevelt:

    "We are insane, each in our own way, and with insanity goes irresponsibility. Theodore the man is sane; in fairness we ought to keep in mind that Theodore, as statesman and politician, is insane and irresponsible."

    On second thought maybe McCain comparing himself to T. Roosevelt is accurate.

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. suzyku

    This old fool is a very bad joke! He's no maverick, he is just a putz!

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Kelby from Houston, TX

    What suspension? Come on now...tell the truth.
    Were your ads still running on TV? Was your staff still working? Did you accept any donations? Did you do an interview after you called for this so called suspenion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you did not suspend your campaign.


    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Accountability

    Yeah...McCain saved the day this writing the Dow is down over 700 points. Thanks John!

    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader



    September 29, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Patrick, Fairfield, CA

    John McCain never suspended his campaign. He tried to enhance it by flying into Washington last week to throw his unwanted two cents into a process that did not need or ask for his support. Now he is blaming the no vote of the bailout initiative on Obama! What? How is this Obama's fault? McCain's campaign is delusional and out of touch with what is going on in America. We are in trouble and we need help; but let’s not enlist the help of John McCain!

    September 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Michael, watching from Canada

    The reason why the economy is screwed up is because......

    failed Republican policies of deregulation!!!


    It is not McCain nor Obama who caused this financial crisis….

    It is the failed policies of eight years of the Republican deregulation and mismanaged fiscal policies.

    September 29, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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