Cross-posted at my blog, narus.info.
The Washington Post has a detailed and major story describing much more detail about Thursday's show meeting convened by Bush and McCain in order for John McCain to "save the economy." It turns out that Obama spoke for the Democrats in the room officially, and confronted John McCain in front of everyone present, coming out the winner. Quotes after the jump.
UPDATE: Talkingpointsmemo.com has has just cited this diary. Thanks recommenders, commenters and thanks TPM!
Boehner was blunt. The plan Paulson laid out would not win the support of the vast majority of House Republicans. It had been improved on the edges, with an oversight board and caps on the compensation of participating executives. But it had to be changed at the core. He did not mention the insurance alternative, but Democrats did. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pressed Boehner hard, asking him if he really intended to scrap the deal and start again.
No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: "What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?" he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.
One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans. "They had taken McCain's request for a meeting and trumped it," said this source.
Congressional aides from both parties were standing in the lobby of the West Wing, unaware of the discord inside the Cabinet room, when McCain emerged alone, shook the hands of the Marines at the door and left. The aides were baffled. The plan had been for a bipartisan appearance before the media, featuring McCain, Obama and at least a firm statement in favor of intervention. Now, one of the leading men was gone.
Perhaps this will satisfy some of the people who believe that Obama did not "hit McCain hard enough." He confronted McCain directly, and McCain more than blinked, he stomped out of the self-convened high stakes meeting Bob Novak style. The vaunted "House GOP Plan" was a fig leaf that McCain tried to use as a means of delaying the negotiated plan so he could avoid the debate the next day, but the plan did not work.