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. Bob

    And many right wingers say Obama is full of himself.

    September 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |


    September 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. DB - Colorado

    Yep; McCain went back to Washington to derail all the progress made to date. Now look where we are at...the stock market is tumbling...we want 4 more years of this? He could have inflicted the same damage via the phone.

    Come on people, lift your heads of of the sand. Palin/McCain are an absolute joke!!!

    God help this country. If McCain believes in 'Country First', he and Sarah need to step down.

    September 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I wish McCain would just sit down and shut-up. He sounds ridiculous at this point. The nation is in serious trouble and all he can talk about is his "suspension".

    September 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I wish Obama would pick up on this "Teddy Roosevelt Republican" mantra. Something along the lines of the American people looking for 21st-century solutions to problems facing them today.

    It conveys his "McCain is out-of-touch" message while getting in a subtle shot as McCain's age.

    September 29, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Brandi

    John, are you going to suspend your campaign again? We still don't have a bailout plan....when are you leaving for DC?

    September 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. OBAMA'08

    CNN – Please Post this – Comment Re: McCain's public comments about attending the Presidential Debates

    I would also like to interject that if McCain is aiming towards transparency if elected as our President then why did he not tell all of us (Americans) that there was no Republican elder that would be at the Economical Bailout and that was why he flew back to Washington? Instead he put everyone into a tail spin because we did not understand his position. This tells me that he was making a political attempt to throw the entire debate and the polls to slant his direction because he KNEW he was loosing ground....

    September 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. 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!

    Where the HECK is Palin's witch doctor when we need one!? Send her to Washington and tell her to do her voodoo and FIX this ecomony!

    September 29, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Jim

    Helluva job there, Johnny...

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. lola Planner, Houston, Texas

    Suspend his campaign? When did that happen?

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |

    What a pathetic LIAR.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Ex Republican

    Feel free to suspend it forever.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Lesley

    Excuse me but McCain did phone it in. He spent his time in his Virginia office talking on the phone. Both candidates appeared at the WH on Thursday and participated in a meeting. But while Obama was campaigning after the debate, he was also speaking on the phone, same as McCain, to the WH and other leaders about the crisis, staying on top of the negotiations. Obama was doing double duty, speaking to negotiators and also speaking to the American voters in the towns that he visited. He was doing it all. And apparently McCain could have stayed home and not said anything to anybody because the Repubs did not listen to his advice after all, as we see in the news today. What else are the negotiators going to say! That they didn't need McCain? That wouldn't have helped his campaign. They had no other choice but to back his silly drama. They had to deal with his campaign tactics at a time when they were stressed out trying to negotiate this megadeal. McCain is no leader.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Spencer from VA

    If I see another sign saying 'Virginia is McCain Country," I will be doing some serious defacing. This guy is so besides himself. He's in for rude awakening 11/4/08.


    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. bree

    cnn probably won't even post this comment because i am not a raging liberal, but that's okay. anyway... i say lots of negative things about obama, because i cannot stand him as a person, nor as a politician. therefore it doesn't offend me to come on here and see people saying such disrespectful, false, ignorant comments about mccain. HOWEVER... the person who said that "mccain hates america and americans" deserves to be shipped off to a third world country where there is no food and it's 150 degrees. HOW DARE YOU. mccain almost died for AMERICA and AMERICANS. how about obama hates white people? ooops did i say that? it's one thing to debate about a candidate's choices, but you are so ignorant and have such a low iq that they shouldn't even let you vote.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. jm for sc

    This man is so full of BS until it is not funny.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Brian

    Give Obama a chance on the economy. We know McCain's hypocrisy and partisan pandering is not going to get us anywhere that Bush hasn't already gotten us.

    We need to let Obama have the economy and see what he can do with it. It's all we've got left as a choice.

    September 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Seattle Sue

    It appears that Mc(worthless as teats on a boar hog)Cain does not have much clout with his fellow Republicans as they voted 133 against the bailout bill.

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Laughing, No Really, I'm Laughing

    Ok. So the bill was shot down. Will he suspend his campaign again?

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. beevee

    No amount of justification will cover MCcain's ploy as something he did in peoples' interest in mind. It is so glaringly evidnet that it is a political stunt that he tried to pull to come across as a leader and it backfired. Everyone knows that McCain knows a didley about economics and his apparent campaign suspension is a scam. If he so bipartisan and resolving issues how come the house republicans did not vote for bailout?

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. PD Thomas

    Bottom line...if he were plugged in from the beginning and actually 'phoned it in' he would not have needed to 'rush off to Washington' 22 hours from NY (it's an hour flight max).

    This is a scham. Obama needs to call him out on this directly...not through serogates...not through a written statement...he needs to say the words outloud!

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Pitbull without lipstick (get Palin out of my city, philly)

    You know what CNN, and stupid supporters of McCain/palin.
    I am extremely furious about this, I live in PA and not one day has gone by where ads for McCain have stopped!! there are ads every 30min on TV, and Obama's ads air only a couple of times per day.

    This is an outright LIE! I can send you footage of mcCain's ads. This is not a campaign suspension if his ads attacking Obama, Pelosi, reid are continuing. Ask every battleground state and you will get proof that the campaign is continuing. I am so tired of these lies.

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. vince

    John McCain did NOT suspend his campaign!

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Uncle Sam

    While McCain tried to lead, Obama played it safe.

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. JU

    "McCain is so full of himself.

    He is also full of it."

    you mean there's a difference between the two??

    September 29, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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