(OXFORD, MISS.) – While the theme of tonight's debate was supposed to be foreign policy, the bailout bill John McCain suspended his campaign for dominated the first half of the evening, and by the time it was over, his campaign was taking credit for getting the legislation back on track.
"I went back to Washington, and I met with my Republicans in the House of Representatives," McCain said at the debate. "It was the House Republicans that decided that they would be part of the solution to this problem."
Campaign manager Steve Schmidt said that there was a lot of "faux outrage" and "acting" by the Democrats who were opposed to McCain's intervention.
"There was no deal. There's never been a deal. Representation by Senate Democratic leaders that they had a deal is nonsense," Schmidt said.
"Because of Sen. McCain, all five parties are sitting together at a table making progress in negotiation." Schmidt went to say that those five parties – House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and the White House — are working on a deal tonight, "and Sen. McCain made that happen."
"There's no truth to that," responded Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe. "McCain roiled things yesterday, and, I think, set things back," he continued.
"We're glad he swooped into Washington, but we think it was more of a political stunt than anything else. And listen, I think people will see through it."