Open thread: Bush pitches the Paulson plan to America; Update: Paulson reaches deal with Democrats?

9 p.m. ET all across the dial. Here’s your thread to sound off. Video later is possible but unlikely unless he really ratchets up the doomsday rhetoric and I can’t resist. While you wait, a tidbit that’s just crossing the wires. Did Dubya do his pal McCain a solid by dragging Obama to D.C.?


With extraordinary stakes on the line, President Bush has invited both presidential candidates and the leaders of the House and Senate to the White House on Thursday in hopes of securing a bill to rescue the economy.

Bush took the unusual step Wednesday night of calling Democratic Sen. Barack Obama directly to invite him to the meeting, White House press secretary Dana Perino said. An Obama spokesman said the senator would attend. The White House has also invited Republican Sen. John McCain.

Update: Here’s the joint McCain/Obama statement on the need to come together in this trying time in the spirit of etc etc etc.

Update: A “fragile” deal has been struck with the Democrats at least. Durbin expects a bill as early as tomorrow but debate through the weekend; where that leaves McCain vis-a-vis Friday night is anyone’s guess.

Senators described a very somber, serious meeting, with Paulson describing the risk of inaction and working hard to sell the plan to skeptical Democrats during the closed-door caucus meeting. Paulson said unemployment rates could approach 10 percent if the plan was not adopted, senators said, although he did indicate possible receptiveness to the idea of implementing it in stages. Such a plan, Paulson told senators, has worked in countries like Japan, where financial rescue plans were done in stages.

“He talked about the risks in the markets, the risk of the financial system locking up, the risk of companies not being able to borrow money, the risk of major firms failing, the risk of a substantial increase in unemployment,” said Conrad.


Update: Is Jim Johnson going to help prep The One before his meeting with Bush? He’s still advising the campaign, apparently.

Update: The GOP is balking and the Dems won’t jump alone:

Frank added that he believes Pelosi has a minimum threshold of Republican votes necessary to bring the bill forward, but he said he did not know what that number was.

“They’re not even close to having enough votes,” said Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a freshman facing a tough reelection. “This has to be bipartisan.”

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