A day after the historic Wall Street bailout failed in Congress, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama struggled on the presidential campaign trail to modify their tone, muting partisan blame and trying to make proposals on an issue so complex that few understand it.
The most dramatic difference in how they will handle the current impasse over the Wall Street meltdown is that they will both stay away from Washington.
McCain indicated he is not likely to rush back to Capitol Hill a second time, a tactic employed last week that was criticized by both Democrats and even some Republicans for drawing volatile presidential politics into the delicate financial negotiations.
"I'll do whatever is necessary. I don't know that that necessarily means go back to Washington, but I know it's a top priority," McCain told ABC News' Ron Claiborne in an interview. "I'll rely on the advice of some of my colleagues as to how I can be most effective. The last thing I want to do is go in and harm the process."
Watch ABC News' World News With Charles Gibson at 6:30 p.m. ET to Hear From Both Obama and McCain on the Economic Crisis and How Their Plans Will Affect Your Financial Future
McCain's decision to suspend his campaign last week and rush to the nation's capital to help solve the crisis may have cost him more than Obama, since the dramatic action failed to produce a solution.
But with the economic crisis now the overriding issue in the campaign, McCain denied that his election hopes are tied to Congress' ability to come to some kind of deal.
"If it were, I would be very optimistic," McCain told ABC News. "The important thing is to work together for Americans today. I can't frankly consider what effect this has on my political fortunes."
The candidates agreed on one thing today, that the federal government should raise the ceiling on bank deposits that will be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The FDIC, created during the Great Depression, currently insures bank deposits up to $100,000. McCain and Obama both suggested that limit be boosted to $250,000 so that it would protect the finances of small businesses as well as of individual savers.
They also agreed on sparing the blame, sort of.
Obama, speaking in Reno, Nev., Tuesday never once mentioned McCain's name in a speech and avoided some of the finger pointing that has become commonplace on the presidential campaign trail.
"There will be time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out," Obama said.
In an interview with ABC News' John Berman, Obama said, " I think that right now, everybody needs to lower their rhetoric and just focus on getting the job done."
And McCain, just like his Democratic counterpart, never once uttered the name Obama while discussing the failed bailout vote during a business roundtable in Des Moines, Iowa.
When asked by ABC News to elaborate on his charge that Obama's actions helped defeat the bailout bill Monday, McCain demurred.
"I don't feel like trading insults with Sen. Obama or anyone else right now. Let's sit down together and work it out," McCain said.
Both presidential campaigns did, however, launch television ads attacking the other over Monday's failed vote.