"I cannot carry on a campaign as though this dangerous situation had not occurred, or as though a solution were at hand, which it clearly is not.... With so much on the line, for America and the world, the debate that matters most right now is taking place in the United States Capitol -- and I intend to join it. It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration's proposal to meet the crisis. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. So I am returning to Washington....I suspended my campaign and came back to Washington because I thought that it was vital to do so. I didn't want to phone it in.1 I'm proud that we were able to get this done, and I'll give the credit to everybody else."
Lindsey Graham told Fox News, "Thank God John [McCain] came back" to work on the bailout package.
House to Wall Street: Drop Dead!
With a firm rejection of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the House Republicans have told the financial markets that they'll have to solve their problems without $700 billion of taxpayer money. In a stunning vote on Monday, the House rejected a financial rescue package on a vote of 205 to 228. Republicans voted against the bill by a two-to-one ratio, and in the process rejected their own leadership. The outcome was a major setback to John McCain, who had backed the proposal and portrayed himself as a party leader who would win approval for the bailout. Chief McCain strategist Steve Schmidt said on Meet the Press, "What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this." And this morning, McCain backer Mitt Romney told NBC that "this bill would not have been agreed to had it not been for John McCain. And if people want to get something done in Washington, they just watch John McCain."
*fn1: "He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone. He's calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can." -- McCain aide Mark Salter explaining why his boss could work on the rescue package over the weekend from his luxury condo in Arlington, Virginia and wasn't needed in person on Capitol Hill.