The Note: McCain Gamble Leaves Bailout, Debate in Limbo

By Hope Ditto

Sep 26, 2008 9:11am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports in Friday’s Note:

OXFORD, Miss. — Sen. John McCain may or may not have broken the bailout bill — and surely he didn’t do so all by himself.

But he owns it now.

In the battle over perceptions, it really is this simple: There was a deal before McCain came back to Washington. There was not a deal by the time the evening ended. And now there might not be a bill — or a first presidential debate Friday in Mississippi.

Holding that very heavy bag are McCain and his GOP colleagues in Congress. Steve Schmidt gets his wish: McCain is in the middle of the action — amid friendly fire, political gamesmanship, competing loyalties, reelection fights, and a White House with no juice left.

(And, oddly, the whole distraction has an upside for Team McCain: We’re not talking about Gov. Sarah Palin, whose slow media rollout is maybe not going slow enough.)

Read the rest of The Note — and get all the latest on the 2008 election, Congress, the White House and the wide world of politics every day — from Rick Klein by bookmarking this link.

“Democrats immediately blamed McCain for disrupting the effort at compromise, saying his decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington shifted the klieg lights of the White House contest to the tense and delicate congressional negotiations,” Michael D. Shear and Jonathan Weisman write in The Washington Post.

Oh yes, the debate.

We know that at least half of this strange non-team that saw the bailout bill go from done deal to just plain done Thursday at the White House will be making the trip to Ole Miss.

Sen. Barack Obama’s A team is already in Oxford, Miss., for a debate that would be fraught with symbolism and historical significance even if its very existence wasn’t still in doubt.

“Come hell or high water, we’re going to Oxford,” an Obama press aide said late Thursday, per ABC’s Sunlen Miller. 

Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.

ABC News’ Hope Ditto contributed to this report.

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