Sens. John McCain suggested delaying Friday's presidential debate amid concerns over the nation's financial crisis as lawmakers sought to reach a compromise on a $700 billion government bailout plan. Kwame Holman reports on the latest news from the campaign trail and Capitol Hill.
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The struggle to reach a deal on a bailout proposal shook up the political world today, both on the campaign trail, and at the White House, and on Capitol Hill.
First, on the presidential campaign, John McCain spoke to reporters in New York City early this afternoon.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: Tomorrow morning, I'll suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative. I've spoken to Sen. Obama and informed him of my decision, and I've asked him to join me.
I'm calling on the president to convene a leadership meeting from both houses of Congress, including Sen. Obama and myself. It's 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'm 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'm 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'm committed to doing so.
Following Sept. 11, 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.
Barack Obama was in Clearwater, Florida. This afternoon, he told reporters he phoned McCain this morning about the Treasury proposal.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), Illinois: Senator McCain, as I mentioned, returned my call this afternoon. We agreed that this was a critical time for everyone; Democrats and Republicans need to come together to help to stabilize the economy.
I have been in constant contact with leadership in Congress. I've talked to Secretary Paulson just about every day. I spoke to him twice today, indicated to him that I intend to do everything that's required to be helpful.
And we should all do everything that's necessary to get a bill passed that contains the proposals that I mentioned.
There are times for politics, and then there are times to rise above politics and do what's right for the country. And this is one of those times.
I don't think any of us enjoy putting taxpayer dollars at risk, but the risk of doing nothing is economic catastrophe potentially, and that is a risk we cannot afford to take.
No matter how this begun, this is no longer a Democratic or a Republican problem. It is an American problem; it requires an American solution.
With respect to the debates, it's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who, in approximately 40 days, will be responsible for dealing with this mess.
And I think that it is — it is going to be part of the president's job to deal with more than one thing at once.
I think there's no reason why we can't be constructive in helping to solve this problem and also tell the American people what we believe, and where we stand, and where we want to take the country.