The key might prove to be a big bloc of Republicans retiring at the end of this year. Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood volunteered earlier this week to help Republican Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and party Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) corral the votes of his soon-to-be-retired colleagues should they need to build support for an administration proposal.
"I would talk to each one of them and tell them that we've got to do this for the team," LaHood said. "It gives them a little momentum."
LaHood himself was the target of some whipping on Saturday, taking an unexpected phone call from John McCain during a round of afternoon votes. McCain asked the veteran House member where he stood on the bailout and what he's hearing from his colleagues.