WASHINGTON -- Negotiations on a massive Wall Street bailout are about to start up again tonight. John McCain won't be there, but as far as top Democrats are concerned, he wasn't helping, anyway.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chris Dodd, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, essentially accused McCain of having torpedoed the agreement in principle that Dodd and others had announced earlier in the day. They also said he'd shown no interest in participating in further talks, which are scheduled to begin around 8 p.m. EDT Thursday. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Senate Republicans will join House and Senate Democrats in the meeting. It wasn't clear whether House Republicans (who appear to have concocted their own plan) would attend; Reid said he asked Paulson to invite them.
Referring to a meeting President Bush held at the White House with McCain, Barack Obama and congressional leaders on Thursday afternoon, Reid said, "I would suggest that anyone in that meeting that tried to understand what John McCain said in the meeting, couldn't ... John McCain did nothing to help. He only hurt the process."