The Note: Now Batting, No. 44

Who makes this move? "It might make tactical sense for both Obama and McCain to return to Washington to lead the effort to get ball moving again (not just vote on the package but lead the effort to craft the package)," Phil Singer blogs. "From a tactical vantage point, this crisis allows for a substantive congressional role which means that presidential candidates who are senators can participate."

Stepping it up: Obama "was more critical than Mr. McCain of the bailout plan, and in both his tone and remarks sought to come across as the leader of the opposition party at a time of national crisis," Elisabeth Bumiller and Patrick Healy report in The New York Times. "Although he was in large part reiterating the concerns that Congressional Democrats have been expressing to reporters and at hearings in Washington, his goal was to encompass the various Democratic messages in one voice that would be a counterweight to the Republican position coming from the Bush administration."

Another poll to chew over: "By a margin of 55 percent to 31 percent, Americans say it's not the government's responsibility to bail out private companies with taxpayer dollars, even if their collapse could damage the economy, according to the latest Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll. Poll respondents say Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama would do a better job handling the financial crisis than Republican John McCain, by a margin of 45 percent to 33 percent."

Things are moving on the Hill -- but this is a tough sell to both Democrats and Republicans -- and surely anyone who's prepared to face the voters in seven weeks wants to get this one right.

"Lawmakers in both parties voiced anger over the steep cost and even skepticism about the plan's chances of success," David M. Herszenhorn writes in The New York Times. "As heated debate began on Capitol Hill, Congress and the administration remained at odds over the demands of some lawmakers, including limits on the pay of top executives whose firms seek help, and new authority to allow bankruptcy judges to reduce mortgage payments for borrowers facing foreclosure."

Try sorting this out: "$700 billion is on the table as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson . . . congressional Democrats . . . congressional Republicans . . . Wall Street . . . Barack Obama . . . and John McCain play their hands," ABC's Jake Tapper reported on "Good Morning America" Wednesday.

"The issue transcended party lines. Democrats voiced doubts, and many Republicans, particularly in the House, balked at the entreaties from Cheney, [Josh] Bolten and other officials," Lori Montgomery, Paul Kane and Neil Irwin write in The Washington Post. "The remaining sticking points in talks with the Treasury, [Barney] Frank said, are whether to limit executive pay and whether bankruptcy judges should be given authority to modify mortgages on primary residences."

Still pushing: "The Bush administration's forceful lobbying effort failed Tuesday to win support from rank-and-file Republicans or Democrats for a $700 billion Wall Street bailout package, though GOP and Democratic leaders still planned to move a bipartisan bill by the end of the week," Steven T. Dennis and Emily Pierce report for Roll Call.

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