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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John McCain Suspending Campaign, Advertising and Fundraising Until Wall Street Crisis Solved

I started on this when I walked in the door and heard, so the previous piece is here, but this is a little more comprehensive with multiple sources.

Earlier today, John McCain suggested Friday's presidential debate should be canceled so he could travel to Washington to focus on Wall Street bailout negotiations. Further reports now indicate he suspended his campaign and advertising entirely.

McCain suggested he and Obama postpone the presidential debate on Sept. 26, in order to help the congressional negotiations on the Wall Street bailout plan. But further news reports indicate McCain is also suspending campaign activities until the deal is done, according to Fox News and other sources.

After delivering an address at President Clinton’s Global Initiative on Thursday, John McCain will be leaving the campaign trail to travel to Washington DC to help with the Wall Street bailout negotiations.

The McCain campaign has also canceled a Wednesday afternoon taping of The Late Show With David Letterman show and a Thursday interview with FOX News and will be canceling all campaign ads and fundraising until the legislation passed by Congress.

Drudge has McCain full statement, but the portion dealing with suspending his campaign states "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."

McCain's statement to reporters in New York:

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.

According to the Fox report, McCain has worked hard on negotiations for the first debate to be about Foreign policy and National Security which is what has been known as his strong suit, so his desire to cancel the Friday debate is suggestive of how serious he is about the importance of dealing with the Wall Street crisis.

McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said that McCain is just following his belief in putting the country first. She noted that he suspended the Republican National Convention when Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast and in defending the troop surge has said that he would rather win the war than win an election.

“We all watched the (Senate) hearings yesterday. … The bottom line is he did not think we would reach a conclusion and it’s absolutely imperative that we do so. This is vintage John McCain. He is going to put the country first and suspend the campaign,” she told FOX News.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell applauds McCain's decision.

Politicker reports the announcement of McCain suspending his campaign, meant for McCain volunteers was accidentally emailed to the entire Colorado press corps by McCain regional spokesperson Tom Kise.

ABC's Political Radar has more from McCain spokesperson, Brian Rogers, showing it isn't just the campaign stops and advertising McCain is suspending but also the fundraising as he states "To be clear, in addition to suspending his campaign to return to Washington to work for a bipartisan solution to this problem, this campaign is suspending its advertising and fundraising."

Via email, I see White House press secretary Dana Perino has also released a statement:

We welcome Sen. McCain's announcement. We are making progress in negotiations on the financial markets rescue legislation, but we have not finished it yet. Bipartisan support from Sens. McCain and Obama would be helpful in driving to a conclusion."

[Update] The Politico reports John McCain's campaign is in the process of notifying televisions stations to ask them to to take his political ads off the air and when asked how long the campaign would be going "dark", Tucker Bounds, another spokesman said "We're taking our guidance from Sen. McCain on that."

[Update] McCain's political director Mike Duhaime issued a statement, via Weekly Standard:

Quite frankly, I think you could ask Sen. Obama if he’s going to do what he thinks is right. I mean, he has never -- I believe -- never once made a decision that is an unpopular decision or went against the orthodoxy of his party, and was one that was one that was a tough decision to make. . . . Sen. McCain has done that throughout his entire career, his entire life -- not just in politics, but his life.”

More on McCain's proposed plan for the debate postponement from Lindsey Graham who says the McCain campaign will suggest to the commission if there is no deal by Friday, they will suggest the debate to be held in Mississippi, will be held in the same location, but on October 2, 2008, which is the scheduled date for the VP debate, and the VP debate will be moved to another date.

If there is no deal on the bailout, Graham asserts John McCain will not be attending the Friday debate.

[Update] The president has invited the congressional, bipartisan leadership, and the two senators running for president, to the White House tomorrow "to work on driving to a bipartisan and timely solution," according to NYT's The Caucus.

This story is developing...