Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his top aides took credit for building a winning bailout coalition – hours before the vote failed and stocks tanked.
The rush to claim he had engineered a victory now looks like a strategic blunder that will prolong the McCain’s campaign’s difficulty in finding a winning message on the economy.
Think about how bad this is for McCain. He "suspended" his campaign last week and promised to get the House GOP on board. The bill failed today because those very same Republicans bailed once Pelosi hurt their feelings. McCain put his leadership credentials on the line and failed. Not a little fail, but an Epic Fail. And the worst part about it is he and his campaign have been claiming for the past 48 hours that it was McCain's leadership that got the bill passed.
In political terms, John McCain needed this bailout bill to pass. Now that it's failed in the House, it's clear that this could pose a serious blow to his campaign -- and that his big campaign suspension gambit could backfire badly.