BY MARC COOPER
Call me naive or even delusional, but I think we can surmise the political implications of McCain's transparent campaign-suspension gimmick. I'm standing by my view that these past two weeks we have witnessed the implosion of his campaign. The American people take this catastrophic threat to their economic security far too seriously to be toyed with so blatantly by a desperate and failing McCain-Palin campaign.
Adam Nagourney and Elizabeth Bumiller say all you need to hear:
"Senator John McCain had intended to ride back into Washington on Thursday as a leader who had put aside presidential politics to help broker a solution to the financial crisis. Instead he found himself in the midst of a remarkable partisan showdown, lacking a clear public message for how to bring it to an end.
"At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.
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"In subsequent television interviews, Mr. McCain suggested that he saw the bipartisan plan that came apart at the White House meeting as the proper basis for an eventual agreement, but he did not tip his hand as to whether he would give any support to the alternative put on the table by angry House Republicans, with whom he had met before going to the White House.
"He said he was hopeful that a deal could be struck quickly and that he could then show up for his scheduled debate on Friday night against his Democratic rival in the presidential race, Senator Barack Obama. But there was no evidence that he was playing a major role in the frantic efforts on Capitol Hill to put a deal back together again.
"On the second floor of the Capitol on Thursday night, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of Mr. McCain’s closest confidants, complained to a throng of reporters that Democrats were using Mr. McCain as a scapegoat for the failure of the rescue package. But Mr. Graham was met with a barrage of questions on why Mr. McCain never explicitly said he favored the bailout proposal.
"The situation was evolving so rapidly that it was all but impossible to judge the political implications; with the government under intense pressure to avoid another breach in confidence in the global financial markets, it was possible that a deal could be struck without further reshaping the campaign and that Mr. McCain could still be able to claim a role in a positive outcome. Here's the rest of the piece, "McCain Steps Into a Thicket."