On Sept. 24, as talks about a Washington bailout intensified, McCain announced he would suspend his campaign and fly to Washington. The theory: McCain would put country first, force Obama off the campaign trail, forge a bipartisan compromise, and alter the dynamics of the race. But McCain didn't have a game plan to triangulate effectively between the Republican gentry (the Bush administration, Wall Street, corporate America), who ardently demanded a bailout, and the pitchfork-toting peasants (House Republicans), who opposed it. He ended up leaving town and resuming campaigning without an agreement in place.
While McCain seemed detached, Obama caucused with financial graybeards and kept his campaign plane on the tarmac to get updates from his new speed-dialing buddy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Self-serving? You betcha. But doggone successful. And the passage of the bailout bill, which McCain grudgingly supported, neutered the increasingly ideological economic warfare McCain waged in the closing weeks. At a time when the Bush administration was nationalizing big portions of the (grateful) financial services sector, charges that Obama was a socialist, the redistributor-in-chief, the second coming of Eugene V. Debs, failed to gain traction.
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Curiosamente, ese día McCain estaba invitado al programa de televisión Late Night con David Letterman. McCain canceló su asistencia para, según el, ayudar a negociar el paquete de rescate bancario. Aquí la reacción de Letterman ese día quien no dejó de burlarse de la reacción del Senador (no tiene desperdicio este video de 9 minutos).