With the US economy in utter freefall, John McCain suspended his presidential campaign, jetted to Washington, called a meeting to fix the crisis—then did nothing, according the Henry Paulson's new book, On the Brink. In an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, the former Treasury secretary recounts McCain's odd refusal to speak at the emergency meeting he called, and how the Democrats and Barack Obama pounced.
When Obama finally pressed McCain to speak, "I could see Obama chuckling. McCain's comments were anticlimactic, to say the least. His return to Washington was impulsive and risky, and I don't think he had a plan in mind." As the meeting descended into chaos, "It got so ridiculous that Vice President Cheney started laughing. Frankly, I'd never seen anything like it before in politics or business—or in my fraternity days at Dartmouth. Finally, the president just stood up and said: 'Well, I've clearly lost control of this meeting. It's over.' "