There isn't even a bailout bill to support yet! There may be some early draft and parts of a draft floating about, but nothing complete to lend ones support or opposition to. Ron Paul has come out in opposition to any notion of a bailout and specifically the primary crux of this bailout proposal of 700 billion to buy up bad assets. A number of Republicans have too, Shelby and DeMint for instance. Democrats haven't been against it so much as wanting to tack on "main street" spreading around money to buy some votes while they make good on all the lobbying money from Fannie and Freddie and others that they've taken with the bailout money and cover their political asses by blaming it all on Wall Street. But I digress... That's the point of what McCain wants to do, he wants to go there to help drive and coalesce the Republican side of the debate on the contents of the bill and help get it passed (which he has voiced grudging support for, he for a bailout bill passed, he just wants to make sure it is a good bill). Sure, he wants to get out ahead on economics and this financial crisis for political reasons, but that that doesn't remove from the fact his going there is honorable and the right thing to to do for the country, it is his current job description, and well within keeping of his "country first" slogan and principles that he's governed by the past couple decades.
Now lets consider Obama's retort on all this: He claimed that McCain had come around to his position on the bailout provisions (a rather backhanded politically motivated statement that happens to be lacking in facts given McCain has been much more vocal on this bailout issue than Obama or even the democrat leadership in congress, at least until the last two days of hearings happened). He then moved on to discuss his phone call the notion he floated to McCain about a joint press release about the bailout. McCain agreed to that and suggested that they suspend campaigning to go to DC and lead their parties in getting a bill through, postponing the debate on Friday if need be. Obama balked, thus betraying his true intent of not so much getting McCain in on a joint press release so much as getting McCain to agree to *his idea* of a joint press release. No doubt the fact that it was "his idea" would have leaked out in short order.
Of this McCain idea, which by that time had become McCain's announced plan of action, Obama delivered yet another politically motivated backhand saying that presidents are expected to multitask. Let's examine what the two would have been doing. Obama would have been most directly involved in his campaigning, doing debate prep, and talking on the phone to democrat leadership in the senate and talking with Bernake and Paulson each day. McCain's campaign would have gone on, except no appearances or ads on Thursday and except for the debate, probably not Friday either; debate prep would have continued on the assumption it would still take place; he would be in DC working directly with republicans, democrat leadership, the President, and Bernake and Paulson to hammer out the bill and get the votes together to pass it; and he would have been calling various campaign staff to work on message and planning for after they turn the visible campaign back on. McCain's multitasking just fine, he's also upholding his duties as a Senator, putting political capital at risk in the outcome of the effort and his ability to rally congressional republicans together. Obama is doing what he would have otherwise been doing, leading no where, risking only that which is risked by inaction before a very favorable press that is distracted by the goings on in DC itself, plus making a few more phone calls to people in DC to keep tabs on a process he's shown practically no interest in being a part of despite it being the most important thing happening in the nation at the moment and it being what he and Biden are currently elected to be working on.
Thank God Bush saved him from his mistake of sitting on the sidelines by called him up and asking him to stop by and help out, he might have been mistaken for being out of touch and abdicating his elected responsibilities otherwise.
What should McCain do next? He should announce he will be flying in for the debate baring a major market meltdown and/or significant problems getting the bill together and passed through the Senate. He should also politely demand that the topic of the debate be changed back to economic/domestic policy. It was changed to foreign policy a couple weeks ago, I believe at the behest of the Obama campaign. Given what is happening and the expectation that people will have for a heavy economic policy component to the debate regardless of the official topic, it should be changed back so the topic gets a strong, full airing from the outset of these debates.