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UPDATED: McCain Suspends Campaign


From CBS News' John Bentley:

(NEW YORK) – John McCain is suspending his campaign and returning to Washington to work on the financial crisis. He has asked Barack Obama to join him, and for Friday's debate to be suspended until legislation is agreed upon, but a senior Obama adviser says they are "inclined" to go forward with the debate.

"I am calling on the President to convene a leadership meeting with the leadership from both houses of Congress, including Sen. Obama and myself. It is time for both parties to come together to solve this problem," McCain said. "We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved."

But Obama said he was surprised that McCain had called a press conference and said he was suspending his campaign and asking the debate be postponed. "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," Obama said. "What I'm planning to do right now is debate on Friday, and that's what I'm preparing to do."

The Commission on Presidential Debates released a statement saying they are also "moving forward with its plan for the first presidential debate" because preparations have been underway for a year and a half. "We believe the public will be well served by having all of the debates go forward as scheduled," the release stated.

If an agreement is hammered out before Friday morning, McCain would participate in the debate, according to senior adviser Mark Salter.

McCain has also suspended all political advertising and canceled all campaign events, Salter said. He added that McCain's colleagues on Capital Hill have told him that passing Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson's plan was going to be "next to impossible."

Yesterday, McCain expressed concern on the proposed bailout legislation, and offered five provisions of his own that he'd like added to the bill. But he stopped short of saying he would not vote for the bailout, arguing that passing the legislation quickly was of the utmost importance.

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