Wednesday, September 24, 2008
NEW YORK (CNN) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington and focus on the “historic” crisis facing the U.S. economy.
The Arizona senator called on his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, to do the same.
The Obama campaign announced that Obama would make a statement shortly.
He also urged organizers of Friday’s presidential debate at the University of Mississippi to postpone the event.
“I am calling on the president to convene a meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Senator Obama and myself,” McCain told reporters in New York. “It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem.”
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It was not immediately clear how extensive the suspension he announced would be — whether it would include dropping television advertising or just canceling scheduled appearances. McCain took no questions after reading his statement.
McCain’s announcement came just hours before President Bush was scheduled to address the nation on the troubled state of the U.S. financial system — a problem for which his administration has proposed a $700 billion bailout.
In response, the Obama campaign said Obama called McCain at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to ask if the Republican nominee would join him in a joint statement of “shared principles and conditions” for the proposal. It said McCain called back at 2:30 p.m. — shortly before his New York announcement — to agree, and “The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.”
The bailout plan has met with a cool reception in two days of hearings on Capitol Hill, where both Democrats and Republicans have expressed skepticism about the proposal drafted by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
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