Republican John McCain on Wednesday said he was suspending his campaign and would return to Washington to focus on the roiling US financial crisis. He said he asked Democratic opponent Barack Obama to join him in the nation's capital and to agree to a delay in Friday's first presidential debate.
The Obama campaign said the Illinois senator was inclined to go ahead with the debate and the University of Mississippi, which is hosting the event, said it too was moving ahead with preparations because it had "received no notification of any change in the timing or venue."
Even before the Obama campaign said it was inclined to go forward with the face off, Obama spokesman Bill Burton issued a statement saying that McCain made his announcement unilaterally moments after agreeing to joint action by both candidates that was initiated by Obama in a personal phone call to McCain early Wednesday.
"At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details," Burton's statement said.