“This meeting is an attempt to move the process forward,” President Bush declared Thursday, but it seems the White House gathering of congressional leaders and presidential candidates might have achieved the opposite effect. Lawmakers had agreed to a bailout outline earlier in the day, but the afternoon’s “political theater,” as Christopher Dodd put it, has raised doubts about the deal.
Did John McCain sabotage the process? He has at least politicized it (note that the senator brought a campaign staffer to the meeting). It seems that the GOP nominee is determined to be seen as either the man who gets it done or the one who stands in principled opposition to a bad bill. To be fair, that’s probably not an unusual desire in politics.
New York Times:
The status of a rescue plan for the nation’s financial system was in doubt, at least for the moment, on Thursday as lawmakers emerged from a White House meeting with President Bush to say that negotiations have a ways to go.
“My hope is that we can get a deal,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, hours after House and Senate negotiators had announced that an accord was at hand. It had also been President Bush’s hope that an agreement could be announced after the late-afternoon meeting.
Looking tired and annoyed, Mr. Dodd complained that late complications were making the episode sound more like “a rescue plan for John McCain,” the Republican presidential candidate, than one for the country’s financial system.
It does no good, Mr. Dodd said, “to be distracted for two or three hours by political theater.”