Bailout Package Fails As Dow Plunges: [T]he outcome this afternoon was a major setback to John McCain, who had backed the proposal and portrayed himself as a party leader who would help win approval for the bailout. Chief McCain strategist Steve Schmidt said yesterday on Meet the Press, "What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this." And this morning, McCain backer Mitt Romney told NBC that "this bill would not have been agreed to had it not been for John McCain....this is a bipartisan accomplishment, a bipartisan success. And if people want to get something done in Washington, they just watch John McCain." Instead, members of McCain's own party voted 133 to 65 against the measure. Democrats, on the other hand, voted 140 to 95 for the bill.
In an attempt to shift blame for the defeat, House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri charged that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provoked the 'no' votes by angering Republican members with an excessively partisan floor speech. "We could have gotten there today had it not been for the partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House," Boehner said. House Financial Services Committee chair Barney Frank of Massachusetts... [ssid] the claim amounted to an extraordinary level of personal and parochial motivation: "Because somebody hurt their feelings, they decided to punish the country."...
Shortly after Boehner spoke to reporters, the McCain camp issued a statement by economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin similarly seeking to shift the blame to Democrats:
From the minute John McCain suspended his campaign and arrived in Washington to address this crisis, he was attacked by the Democratic leadership: Senators Obama and Reid, Speaker Pelosi and others. Their partisan attacks were an effort to gain political advantage during a national economic crisis. By doing so, they put at risk the homes, livelihoods and savings of millions of American families. Barack Obama failed to lead, phoned it in, attacked John McCain, and refused to even say if he supported the final bill. Just before the vote, when the outcome was still in doubt, Speaker Pelosi gave a strongly worded partisan speech and poisoned the outcome. This bill failed because Barack Obama and the Democrats put politics ahead of country."
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton countered:
This is a moment of national crisis, and today's inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington...