Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) hasn’t been involved in the deep negotiations over details of the bailout bill. In fact, he was largely silent during a meeting with President Bush and top congressional leaders. As the AP reported, the one role that both Democrats and Republicans alike were counting on McCain to play was to “deliver GOP votes” for the bailout bill.
Over the past week, McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign has already been to touting the senator’s success and casting his role as pivotal to bringing the parties together. His supporters have hit the airwaves, giving McCain credit for negotiating a deal:
“[T]his bill would not have been agreed to had it not been for John McCain. … But, you know, this is a bipartisan accomplishment, a bipartisan success. And if people want to get something done in Washington, they just watch John McCain.” — Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, 9/29/08
“Earlier in the week, when Senator McCain came back to Washington, there had been no deal reached. … What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all the parties to the table, including the House Republicans.” — Senior adviser Steve Schmidt, 9/28/08
“But here are the facts, and I’m not overselling anything. The fact is that the House Republicans were not in the mix at all. John didn’t phone this one in. He came and actually did something. … You can’t phone something like this in. Thank God John came back.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 9/28/08
“Before John McCain suspended his campaign yesterday, the situation that we’re looking at today looked very different then. After he showed leadership and called for bipartisanship, for us to partisanship aside and tackle this solution head on, here we are.” — Spokesman Tucker Bounds, 9/25/08
However, today Republicans failed to deliver the 70-100 votes needed from conservatives for the deal to pass. On the Republican side, 133 lawmakers voted against the bill; just 65 voted for it.
If the McCain campaign was willing to take credit for the success of the bill, does McCain also deserve credit for its failure?
Josh Marshall writes, “If McCain doesn’t suspend his campaign again soon — it may be time to panic.”
,CNN’s Ed Henry commented, that the McCain campaign is going to try to “run away” from the fact that this failed.
,On MSNBC, Chris Matthews faulted McCain’s leadership, arguing that McCain called “charge” while the Republicans “retreated.”