Return of the Mack

John McCain is expected to make his first vote since April 8, when the Senate takes up the Wall Street bailout tonight. Barack Obama will vote for the first time since July 9.

Published October 1, 2008 8:51PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- Arizonans, rejoice: Your senior senator, John McCain, will return to the Capitol to cast his first vote in months.

The Senate will vote on the Wall Street bailout a little after sundown, when Rosh Hashanah ends. McCain, as well as the Democratic ticket, will be there to help pass it -- and also, given polls like this one showing voters don't think McCain handled the bailout situation that well, to demonstrate that he is doing something productive about the legislation.

Barack Obama and, lately, Joe Biden have missed plenty of their own votes this year, but McCain is still the champion on that front, skipping 64.5 percent of the roll calls held this Congress. (That puts him well ahead of South Dakota's Tim Johnson, in second place, who missed several months of work recovering from a brain hemorrhage.) Obama has skipped 46.5 percent of votes so far, and Biden's now at 31.6 percent. Those tallies probably won't change much, since the Senate is trying to wrap up its business this week until after Election Day.

McCain hasn't cast a vote since April 8, which feels like, oh, the Mesozoic Era, given the pace of this year's campaign. (For some perspective, back then the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,576.44, 16 percent higher than it closed Wednesday, the American League East champion Tampa Bay Devil Rays had a 3-4 record and Democrats were still wondering whether Hillary Clinton would win the Pennsylvania primary by more or less than 10 points.) Obama last voted on July 9, when he left the campaign trail to support reauthorizing FISA legislation.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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