OH CRAP, I THINK I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
So congressional negotiators reached a general agreement on a bailout plan today. Also today, the Obama campaign announced that Senator Obama will go to Oxford, Mississippi, tomorrow night and hold a town-hall meeting at the debate site if John McCain doesn't show up. But now members of Congress have had their meeting at the White House, and that general agreement didn't lead to a deal:
The White House and congressional leaders pledged to continue working together to finalize a $700 billion plan to rescue the financial markets, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday.
The statement came after President George W. Bush, congressional leaders from both parties and presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain met at 4 p.m. to discuss the plan. But no final agreement was reached....
So here's what I think is going to happen: Negotiations are going to continue. At some point tomorrow, Obama's going to go to Mississippi. But McCain's going to stay in Washington. (If today is any indication, he won't be doing anything constructive on the bailout plan, but he'll be around.)
And then the White House and GOP congressional leaders -- McCain prominent among them -- are going to announce that they've agreed to whatever terms are on the table.
They're going to announce this during or just before the debate-turned-Obama-town-meeting.
Message: McCain saved the country while Obama went off to do some politicking.
Argh -- is that the trap?
UPDATE: The scenario above probably doesn't seem likely, given the fact that John McCain seems to have been part of the problem rather than part of the solution:
During the White House meeting, it appears that Sen. John McCain had an agenda. He brought up alternative proposals, surprising and angering Democrats. He did not, according to someone briefed on the meeting, provide specifics.
One the proposals -- favored by House Republicans -- would relax regulation and temporarily get rid of certain taxes in order to lure private industry into the market for these distressed assets....
But I think he felt he had to do that to buy time. He had to queer the deal however he could. He couldn't let this be resolved before debate time, along lines worked out without his input.
And then tomorrow, when the stock market plummets, he'll ride to the rescue, opposing the very ideas he was advancing today -- he'll be putting country first, taking on members of his own party, blah blah blah.
But not early in the day. Late -- late enough to embarrass Barack Obama as he's about to take the stage in Oxford.