I am told, Maggie, that the way McCain got involved in this in the first place, the Treasury Secretary was briefing Republicans in the House yesterday, the Republican conference, asked how many were ready to support the bailout plan. Only four of them held up their hands. Paulson then called, according to my sources, Senator Lindsey Graham, who is very close to John McCain, and told him: you’ve got to get the people in the McCain campaign, you’ve got to convince John McCain to give these Republicans some political cover. If you don’t do that, this whole bailout plan is going to fail. So that’s how, McCain, apparently, became involved.
He has gotten what he wants, he’s going to have this meeting, kind of a summit today with the president and Barack Obama. I’m told that the leaders of both parties are getting close to having some kind of a bill. The question, though, is whether rank-and-file Republicans, especially, are going to vote for this. A couple of thoughts:
First off, if true this completely changes our understanding of yesterday's decision. It would certainly explain why nobody saw this announcement coming: they didn't know. It also means that my own guess that this was part of some sort of machinations by the McCain campaign was off the mark. They were simply reacting - immediately, comprehensively, and with no overriding regard to their personal gain - to a crisis.
Second, at this rate we might as well let Senator Obama kick Senator Reid in the testicles whenever Senator Obama likes: at this moment, in the game of relevant weighting a Treasury Secretary beats a Senate Majority Leader all hollow when it comes to relevant opinions on somebody's value. So, nope, not a stunt: and as Ed put it, at 3 AM and the call was made, it was made to John McCain.
Third, the debate tomorrow is going to be epic. Not that there's going to be any pressure, or anything.