John McCain's announcement that he's suspending his campaign to help work on a bailout plan is looking less and less sincere by the minute.
At about 4:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers e-mailed reporters to say, "To be clear, in addition to suspending his campaign to return to Washington to work for a bipartisan solution to this problem, this campaign is suspending its advertising and fundraising."
Apparently, someone forgot to tell the boss.
The National Journal's Peter Stone reports that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, held a dinner at New York City's famous 21 Club Wednesday night at which he met with about a dozen top New York-based fundraisers. Stone writes:
The dinner meeting, according to an attendee, included an update on McCain's decision to return to Washington today, criticism of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. for failing to act more decisively earlier, and calls for more fundraising for the party by leading New York money harvesters ...
Even though campaign officials were temporarily told to suspend their fundraising and other activities per McCain’s instructions, [Woody Johnson IV, a top GOP fundraiser] told the assembled guests that they "ought to redouble their efforts" to make sure that an upcoming fundraiser in New York on Oct. 14 is a success, according to the attendee.
Separately, the Obama camp is working overtime -- and, obviously, with good reason -- to press a case that McCain never truly suspended his campaign at all. In a memo sent to reporters Thursday night, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "Make no mistake: John McCain did not 'suspend' his campaign. He just turned a national crisis into an occasion to promote his campaign. It's become just another political stunt, aimed more at shoring up the Senator's political fortunes than the nation's economy."