ABC News’ interpretation of things:
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.
Wait a minute. The House Republicans were never on board. And you don’t actually need their votes to pass this bill; the holdup is that the House Democrats are terrified of having sole responsibility for the bill.
What changed between yesterday afternoon and evening is that the Democrats position changed from “we’re comfortable passing the bill without many House GOP votes” to “we’re NOT comfortable passing the bill without many House GOP votes.”
How is that John McCain’s fault again?
Obama said McCain “injected presidential politics into delicate negotiations.” How? By showing up to vote on legislation?
Notice that they never explain how John McCain, simply by arriving inside the Beltway, somehow broke up a consensus that was there earlier in the day. If McCain had come in and persuaded people to oppose the bill, it would be a different story. But the message of Pelosi, Reid, Dodd and Obama is, “McCain is here, so it must be his fault.”