The Washington Times - September 25, 2008, 10:38AM

There are signals that when congressional leaders and the two presidential candidates come to the White House this afternoon, an agreement on the administration’s $700 billion rescue plan will have been reached.

But there is equally strong pushback from the McCain campaign that such talk is pure political posturing.

Negotiators began meeting on Capitol Hill at 10 a.m., and yesterday evening a well-placed Democratic aide said that they planned this morning to “draft a final bipartisan bill to be passed and signed into law.” 

“Not too many unresolved issues remain,” the aide said.

Mr. Bush also made clear in his nationally televised speech to the nation last night that he was willing to limit pay packages for executives whose firms benefited from the bailout, which had been a sticking point.

And Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, said talk of a deal being reached was bluster.

“There has been no official announcement of any deal,” he said.

Mr. McCain maintained in his speech to the Clinton Global Initiative this morning what he said yesterday: “It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the Administration’s proposal to meet the crisis.”

“I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time,” he said, according to prepared remarks.

Barack Obama’s campaign sent out an e-mail to reporters after his speech questioning the Republican’s claim, citing press reports saying a deal was near.


Some in the McCain camp say Democrats are running from their statements Tuesday that Mr. McCain had to support the rescue plan or else they would not. Stephen Dinan and Christina Bellantoni’s piece today explains how Mr. McCain called their bluff.

What it all amounts to is that if and when a deal is reached, especially if it’s today, Mr. Obama and the Democrats will say there was a deal before Mr. McCain suspended his campaign and came back to Washington to push for an agreement.

Mr. McCain, meanwhile, will say there was no deal until he came back to help broker one.