The Note: The Wreckage

It's an eight-point spread in Gallup's daily tracking: 50-42.

Do they herd cats out in Sedona? "McCain's political situation is complicated by disarray in the Republican Party," Michael Shear and Dan Balz write in The Washington Post. "The split between Senate Republicans and President Bush, both of whom supported the plan, and House Republicans, who largely opposed it, make McCain's effort at trying to show leadership over his party all the more difficult."

Explaining the "nos": "They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them," David Brooks writes in his New York Times column. "The 228 House members who voted no have exacerbated the global psychological free fall, and now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority."

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and colleague Marilyn Musgrave defended no-voters to Chris Cuomo on Good Morning America Tuesday. "We need to have a good bill, not a fast bill. We need to be prudent in what we do," Kaptur said. "We have to address the real estate issue and get that mortgage market working again. This bill would not do that, so I think so we have to look for something that will really make the markets function in the way that they should, not reward bad behavior and give all these bills to the American taxpayer, who didn't cause this problem."

"The nation's credit crisis exposed Monday a much deeper and more fundamental problem -- a political credibility crisis that now threatens to harm our nation further, should the markets freeze up and more companies begin to fail, as many experts predict," Time's Michael Scherer writes.

In the post-post-game, a lowering of the heat: Roy Blunt says it wasn't all Pelosi's fault. "A couple of things happened that we didn't quite get there but, well, you know . . . [when] things are hard to do people are always looking for that last thing that makes them mad, that last thing that says, 'Well, I was gonna be there and that happened,' " Blunt, R-Mo., tells ABC's Z. Byron Wolf and Jake Tapper.

How involved does either candidate want to be? "Both face difficult political choices, as they try to balance appeals to the widespread anger over the 'bailout' -- and the fear of letting markets continue to sink if it fails," Amy Chozick and Elizabeth Holmes write in The Wall Street Journal. "Sen. McCain arguably has more to lose in this crisis, after inserting himself into the negotiations late last week with a dramatic move to suspend his campaign."

All politics . . . ""The bill was a priority for President George W. Bush, yet 15 of 19 Republicans from his native Texas voted against it," Bloomberg's Nicholas Johnston and Dawn Kopecki reports. "Republican presidential candidate John McCain left the campaign trail to help the measure, which didn't get a single vote from his state of Arizona. Almost half the usually loyal California Democratic delegation rebuffed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

The biggest single predictor of how a House member voted: How tight his or her reelection race is. "Among 38 incumbent congressmen in races rated as 'toss-up' or 'lean' by Swing State Project, just 8 voted for the bailout as opposed to 30 against: a batting average of .211," Nate Silver blogs at FiveThirtyEight.com.

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