John McCain's Remarks on the Economic Crisis
New York Hilton
New York, NY
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
approx. 2:40 p.m.

America this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system. We must pass legislation to address this crisis. If we do not, credit will dry up, with devastating consequences for our economy. People will no longer be able to buy homes and their life savings will be at stake. Businesses will not have enough money to pay their employees. If we do not act, ever corner of our country will be impacted. We cannot allow this to happen.

Last Friday, I laid out my proposal and I have since discussed my priorities and concerns with the bill the Administration has put forward. Senator Obama has expressed his priorities and concerns. This morning, I met with a group of economic advisers to talk about the proposal on the table and the steps that we should take going forward. I have also spoken with members of Congress to hear their perspective.

It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time.

Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I have spoken to Senator Obama and informed him of my decision and have asked him to join me.

I am calling on the President to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.

We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved. I am directing my campaign to work with the Obama campaign and the commission on presidential debates to delay Friday night's debate until we have taken action to address this crisis.

I am confident that before the markets open on Monday we can achieve consensus on legislation that will stabilize our financial markets, protect taxpayers and homeowners, and earn the confidence of the American people. All we must do to achieve this is temporarily set politics aside, and I am committed to doing so.

Following September 11th, our national leaders came together at a time of crisis. We must show that kind of patriotism now. Americans across our country lament the fact that partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.

Note: McCain read the statement from a teleprompter...these seem to be the prepared remarks; McCain hewed fairly close to them.

Some Reactions
STATEMENT from Commission on Presidential Debates via PRNewswire

OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is moving forward with its plan for the first presidential debate at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. this Friday, September 26. The plans for this forum have been underway for more than a year and a half. The CPD's mission is to provide a forum in which the American public has an opportunity to hear the leading candidates for the president of the United States debate the critical issues facing the nation. We believe the public will be well served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled."

JOINT STATEMENT from Nader and Barr campaigns

Statement from Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr on McCain's Call to Delay Debates:

The fact that a candidate can call for changing the date of the debate only two days before it is scheduled indicates how easy it would be for the candidates to also call for the inclusion of the leading third party and independent candidates, which would bring fresh ideas to the table on how our country can truly tackle this heavy challenge.

STATEMENT from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid: Debate Should Take Place As Scheduled - "We Need Leadership; Not A Campaign Photo Op"

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to the McCain campaign’s call for postponing Friday’s scheduled debate:

“This is a critical time for our country.  While I appreciate that both candidates have signaled their willingness to help, Congress and the Administration have a process in place to reach a solution to this unprecedented financial crisis.

“I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama’s suggestion.  But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy.  If that changes, we will call upon them.  We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.

“If there were ever a time for both candidates to hold a debate before the American people about this serious challenge, it is now.”


PRESS RELEASE from Nader for President 2008


Senator John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and participation in the first presidential debate is pure and simple showboating. The Washington DC bailout by Bush and his Congressional allies of the Wall Street crooks and speculators is not dependent on Senator McCain's return to Washington.

He has been an advocate of the deregulation that caused this debacle and offers nothing significant to address it. However, tens of millions of Americans depended on Senator McCain to show up at Friday's debate in Old Mississippi.

They expected him to do so and have arranged their plans to watch him interact with Barack Obama. By turning his back on at least 50 million American voters anticipating Friday's debate, he has dishonored his commitment and undermined the respect which he hoped the American people would accord him during his presidential campaign.

I urge him to restore his honor and self-respect by ending this political stunt and maturely fulfilling his commitment on the presidential debate stage this Friday.

Should he choose to maintain his present, impulsive course and leave an empty chair on the stage, I would be most pleased to take his place as the number three Presidential candidate in the race.