John McCain felt it was safe enough to leave Washington for the Mississippi debate, but if he doesn't' like what he's hearing from the congressional front, he'll be right back at the negotiating table.
According to a press pool report filed from McCain's campaign plane just as it touched down in Mississippi this afternoon, McCain may fly back to Washington immediately after the debate if he feels no consensus is in sight on the economic bailout package, according to campaign adviser Mark Salter. The pool report was filed by the Los Angeles Times.
The schedule is unclear after that. McCain only made his decision about an hour before he left, saying enough progress had been made on the bailout negotiation so he could leave for Mississippi.
If anything, Senate and House Republicans have coalesced around McCain's dramatic trip to Washington yesterday, with Sen. Mitch McConnell saying "he's been a constructive part of this," while Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a House conservative, said, "I think McCain did help."
Whether the main negotiators actually want McCain back in the room this weekend is another question. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggested this morning that it's "time for presidential politics to leave the negotiating table."