Here's a video of MSNBC's David Shuster -- whose over-arching disbelief in the John McCain camp version of events seems to be firming up as the mainstream point of view -- attempting to sort out all of the words that are coming out of McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin's mouth. It's hard to follow: Barack Obama failed today, despite the fact that the House GOP seems to be blaming Pelosi for hurting their feelings; McCain has been involved, except for Saturday, when the deal was initially ironed out; McCain "suspended his campaign" in a white-hot show of HEROISM, but he was also, according to Holtz-Eakin, "keeping a low profile." What? Huh? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE. Honestly, I kept waiting for that inevitable moment where Holtz-Eakin might start shouting: "JOHN MCCAIN INVENTED THE BLACKBERRY WHICH IS A MIRACLE."
One can only conclude that this is all part of a long strategy to make Sarah Palin sound sure-footed and sensible by comparison this Thursday night. THIS STRATEGY WILL WORK, OF COURSE.
SHUSTER: Joining us now John McCain's chief economic adviser. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain said over the weekend that he wasn't phoning it in, that would get lawmakers to get support this, Republicans. What happened?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Well, David, today Barack Obama failed the American people. what should have been a --
SHUSTER: Whoa, specifically, how did they fail them?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: At every point when John McCain came and tried to put together a negotiating process with all parties at the table --
SHUSTER: Whoa, back up a sec. You said today. How was John McCain involved in negotiations today? If you can't answer that specifically, how did the democrats fail them today?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Today, Speaker Pelosi delivered an incendiary partisan speech at a moment when bipartisanship was needed to prevail. John McCain put together a process where the Republicans were at the table. At every point in that process as he tried to develop --
SHUSTER: Let's take your first point, Doug. So you're saying, fair enough, partisan speech. fair enough. That would also then mean that republicans today put their own feelings, their own hurt feelings about partisanship, ahead of the good of the country. right?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Look, John McCain worked the phones today. He worked the phones every day. He's visited with members of the Republican party. This was a tough vote. A week ago they were excluded from the process. There was no deal. Taxpayers weren't protected. He moved the bill to match the principles they wanted. They really were counting on some Democratic participation in that.
SHUSTER: Doug, if he was moving it as much as you said, why was John McCain nowhere to be found on Saturday night? I mean, he was off having dinner with the Liebermans, which is fine, but up on Capitol Hill you have the House Republicans, the Democrats, Secretary Paulson eating pizza out of boxes in the Speaker's office negotiating until 1:00 in the morning. Where was John McCain on Saturday night?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Let us be very clear that John McCain understands that had he looked like he would have been the key to the success, the Democrats would have attacked him and killed the deal. That's what you saw today. They were not going to let McCain do the job that he was trying to do, deliver a bill to help the American people. The American people will lose as a result of this. John McCain understood if he had kept a low profile, talked to members of Congress as he did, called those members who were reluctant, he did his job and doing it with the low profile necessary.
SHUSTER: Where was the low profile last Thursday, Doug, when John McCain decided he needed to suspend his campaign and go to a meeting at the White House? Where was the low profile then?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Beginning last Tuesday, Harry Reid said Republicans needed to be in on this. John McCain needed to deliver votes. Speaker Pelosi said continuously she was not going to deliver Democratic votes. Republicans had to do it first. John McCain suspended his campaign to get relief for the American families.
SHUSTER: Right back to the original point.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Yes, we are.
SHUSTER: No, no. Wait a second.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: We are back to the Democrats once again sabotaging a bipartisan effort to help the American families.
SHUSTER: You said he was there to deliver Republican votes. The fact of the matter is, he did not.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: He took process from dead in the water to a vote in the House of Representatives this morning. absolutely dead in the water, no hope whatsoever, a bill everyone condemned. This morning we had a vote only because of John McCain. That vote could have been successful, but the Democrats behaved poorly. That's too bad.
SHUSTER: Because the Democrats' poor behavior, because Republicans got their feelings hurt, that's why this vote blew up, right?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: This is a serious matter that should have been conducted in a serious bipartisan fashion. That's not what we saw at many points in this process. The Democrats displayed no commitment. Where was Barack Obama today? If you look at what he said, he was praising the passage of the bill. Bill didn't pass.
SHUSTER: He was supporting it and you issued a statement saying he wasn't supporting it. Doug, first of all, before we go, only about 20 seconds, what does John McCain think we ought to do next?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: He's going to land and you'll hear from him. He's in Iowa right now. Tune in.
SHUSTER: Douglas Holtz-Eakin, economic advisor for the McCain campaign, thanks for coming on.
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