This morning on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for returning to Washington to help the bailout negotiations, saying his presence was vital to the negotiations:
John didn’t phone this one in. … You can’t phone something like this in. Thank God John came back.
Of course, though McCain made much of his rushing back to Washington after Friday’s debate, it turns out that he never went to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers stayed late working on the bailout. The New York Times reports that McCain was at his apartment “until 12:30 p.m. Saturday, when he emerged and made a one-minute trip in his motorcade to his campaign headquarters around the corner.” A McCain aide explained that “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone.”
UPDATE: On ABC’s This Week today, McCain said, “I came back because I wasn’t going to phone it in.” Watch it:
UPDATE II: Politico reports, “As his colleagues worked on the deal at the Capitol Saturday night, McCain and his wife, Cindy, dined with Sen. Joe Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, at Cafe Mozu inside Washington’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.”
UPDATE III: The Washington Post has more details on McCain’s disengagement:
In the wake of Thursday’s “disaster,” McCain was no longer interested in remaining locked in negotiations. He spent only 90 minutes on Capitol Hill on Friday, most of it in conversations with House Republicans, trying to persuade them to rejoin talks with Democrats.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner was “really pissed,” said one participant in the meeting with McCain. Boehner felt as if he had been set up for an “assault” at the White House, the participant said.