The Note: The Wreckage

Whose fault is it? The new ABC News/Washington Post poll has the blame falling on congressional Republicans instead of Democrats, by a 44-21 split. And 25 percent of respondents singled out President Bush as being behind the crisis -- compared to 8 percent who say it's Congress' fault.

Obama on Tuesday endorses the idea of expanded deposit insurance "for families and small businesses across America who have invested their money in our banks."

"While [the current $100,000] guarantee is more than adequate for most families, it is insufficient for many small businesses that maintain bank accounts to meet their payroll, buy their supplies, and invest in expanding and creating jobs," Obama said in a statement released Tuesday morning, per ABC's John Berman. "That is why today, I am proposing that we also raise the FDIC limit to $250,000 as part of the economic rescue package -- a step that would boost small businesses, make our banking system more secure, and help restore public confidence in our financial system."

A path forward? "[House Minority Whip Roy] Blunt said he told Democrats he thought he could flip five votes, if Democrats could do the same," per The New York Times' Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn.

Who wants to work against this backdrop? "The changed landscape is marked by widespread mistrust of all branches of government; a powerless president and a paralyzed Congress; and above all a sinking realization that, five weeks before Election Day, the American economy is likely to get significantly worse before it can hope to get better," per ABC News. "The immediate fallout respects no party lines: The defeat reflects poorly on Sen. John McCain -- who made a dramatic return to Washington last week in the hopes of salvaging a deal that ultimately collapsed -- as well as the Democratic-controlled Congress, which looks powerless in the face of crisis."

"Even as McCain was telling reporters in Iowa that 'now is not the time to fix the blame, it's time to fix the problem,' his campaign was issuing statements criticizing 'partisan attacks' by Democrats 'to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis,' " Todd Spangler writes in the Detroit Free Press.

"For McCain, playing the blame game is a gamble. It could deflect attention from his own unsuccessful effort since last Thursday to rally House Republicans behind the bailout," McClatchy's Margaret Talev and William Douglas report. "It could backfire, however, if voters don't think his criticism of Obama is credible. It also could encourage Obama and his surrogates to paint McCain as temperamental and impulsive, a tactic they're weighing."

Writes former Clinton strategist Mark Penn: "The race is no longer about change, experience, Iraq, tax cuts or universal health care. The job posting has been fundamentally altered. . . . Right now the former Harvard Law Review editor, the candidate who is ready to reach out to everyone across the globe and who has a head for sorting out complexity, is the kind of presidential candidate voters are seeking to solve this crisis. It seems like a great fit for Obama."

Don't lose sight of what's being projected here: "Last week Senator McCain looked goofy by coming off the campaign trail and interposing himself into the legislative process over the bailout. Today he looks like a loser -- his credibility and prestige diminished by the bill's failure," Howard Wolfson blogs for The New Republic.

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