The bailout deal that seemed within reach this afternoon appears to have veered off course. Today's White House meeting turned unexpectedly contentious and broke up without any sign of agreement, the Washington Post reports. One participant, Sen. Chris Dodd, blamed John McCain and Republicans for floating a new plan out of the blue. "What this looked like to me was a rescue plan for John McCain," Dodd said. Meanwhile, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke headed back to Capitol Hill tonight for more negotiating.
Both McCain and Obama said in interviews afterward that they were confident of an eventual deal. Obama said "something happened in the intervening hours" between a hopeful Capitol Hill meeting and the White House gathering. GOP Sen. Richard Shelby said after the latter meeting that "we will not have a deal." He called attention to a letter from economists expressing worries about fundamental principles of the current plan. "I'm probably not welcome again," he added.