In Shadow of McCain and Bush Gimmicks, Congress Nearing Deal on Bailout

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Ramon Martinez takes one you-know-where. Photo: Getty Images

In a desperate move to change the game late yesterday, John McCain suspended his campaign and asked Barack Obama to delay Friday night's debates while the two of them traveled to Washington to help pass the bailout bill facing Congress. Then, last night during his prime-time televised speech, George Bush invited both candidates to the White House on Friday to meet and discuss the economy. (The meeting, scheduled the same day as the planned presidential debate in Mississippi, was McCain's idea, natch.) To show his seriousness in the matter, yesterday McCain even skipped out on his television appearance with David Letterman, explaining that he was going to Washington. (He wasn't — he appeared in New York on CBS News instead, causing Letterman to shred him on the air.)

But all these press-baiting maneuvers might be moot, as congressional leaders yesterday said that a deal might be reached on the bailout as early as today. After the Bush administration conceded on the issues of executive pay and partial taxpayer ownership of rescued companies, the AP reports that a bipartisan meeting this afternoon will very likely mark the end of this debate.

Bush and Candidates to Meet on Bailout [NYT]
Deal Close on $700 Billion Bailout Plan [AP]