The Obama and McCain campaigns traded charges on Monday as the House unexpectedly rejected the Bush administration's $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill.
John McCain "was actually out on a double date with his wife," Obama spokesman Bill Burton told MSNBC. "[O]n Saturday night, when negotiators were getting together, he wasn't making phone calls. He wasn't doing the work. He was actually out at one of the finest restaurants in Washington D.C. on a double date with his wife. I think Joe Lieberman was there -- both their wives."
"I understand they had a great meal," Burton continued. "It's a great restaurant. But what we need to do is really put the rubber to the road."
Burton was referring to a Politico report that McCain and his wife, Cindy, dined with Joe Lieberman and his wife, Hadassah, at Café Mozu inside Washington's Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
The Obama campaign was not alone in pointing fingers.
As the Dow fell 777 points, McCain's top policy adviser hammered Obama for a set of prepared remarks which incorrectly assumed that the bailout would pass.
"Senator Barack Obama today released written remarks that suggested the bill had been passed without obviously doing the due diligence to make sure that it did," said McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin on a conference call with reporters.
In the Westminster, Colo., speech text distributed by Obama's campaign on Monday morning, the Democratic presidential nominee was to say, "And today, Democrats and Republicans in Washington have agreed on an emergency rescue plan."
McCain himself joined in the finger pointing, accusing Obama and his congressional allies of infusing "unnecessary partisanship into the process."
So where does Congress go from here?
Per ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, congressional leaders are considering three or four possible solutions:
# 1 -- Muscle Bailout Bill Through House: Some leaders suggest some House GOPers will be persuaded to support the bailout if the market continues to drop.
#2 -- Pass Bailout in Senate First: Since there appears to be broader support in the Senate for the bailout package, one option would be for the Senate to vote first in order to increase pressure on the House.
#3 -- Make Small Tweaks to the Bill: Congressional leaders wonder if perhaps there are a couple of small tweaks they can make to the package that would bring along the 12 votes they lost the vote by. Option A, sources say, would be for FDIC to guarantee all deposits in transaction accounts, not just up to $100,000. That would deal with the credit crunch and it would be quite popular, some on Capitol Hill argue. Option B would be eliminating the mark-to-market rule (the accounting practice of valuing a financial position in an investment at its current market price) in the hopes of stopping the downward spiral in asset values.
#4 -- Get More Democrats On Board: Finally, one other unlikely option talked about on Capitol Hill is to try to pass the bill almost entirely with the Democratic majority in the House. That would require adding a major stimulus package favored by Democrats, infrastructure spending, unemployment insurance spending, and heating and food stamp assistance for low-income Americans.
"This is all about gotcha journalism. A lot of it is. But that's okay, too."
--Sarah Palin to CBS' Katie Couric when asked about criticism she has received for sounding like Obama when discussing Pakistan at a Philadelphia pizza parlor