Here is the timeline of events according to both campaigns source
From the Obama campaign:
At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama's call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.
From the McCain campaign:
Senator Obama phoned Senator McCain at 8:30 am this morning but did not reach him. The topic of Senator Obama's call to Senator McCain was never discussed. Senator McCain was meeting with economic advisers and talking to leaders in Congress throughout the day prior to calling Senator Obama. At 2:30 pm, Senator McCain phoned Senator Obama and expressed deep concern that the plan on the table would not pass as it currently stands. He asked Senator Obama to join him in returning to Washington to lead a bipartisan effort to solve this problem.
Now, for a moment let's assume that events are exactly as the McCain campaign describes (though in fact the two statements in their details are not actually contradictory, just emphasizing different points.)
In that case I have only one question: why did Senator McCain then just moments after the phone call to Senator Obama, come out publically and issue a unilateral statement in which he said he was suspending his campaign and returning to Washington and attempting to call off the debate? That was so quick that even if Obama was taking a few minutes to ponder Senator McCain's offer and talk it over with his staff he wouldn't have had time to respond before it was all over the airwaves.
If the two of them were really working on coming together to propose a resolution to this crisis (and both campaign statements seem to suggest that that was the gist of the conversations during the day) then why did McCain clearly become the one to throw it out the window in favor of a political circus?
Was it because he is willing to throw away an opportunity to demonstrate real bipartisanship in exchange for a few moments of appearing to demonstrate it?
Was it because he wanted to make sure (even though both campaigns agree that Obama called first) that he would get credit for whatever comes of this, and not Obama?
Was it because he's not been spending adequate time preparing for the debate and was afraid of getting his rear end handed to him on a subject he is supposed to have the edge on?
Was it because if he can move the first Presidential debate to next Thursday he will be able to cancel the Vice Presidential debate so people won't have their own chance to judge how Palin, who has already been kept away from reporters, thinks on her feet? Is there something about Palin we don't know yet?
Was it because with the polls moving against him, McCain just lost his head and did something desperate?
As we learn more about what happened today and the timeline of events, it is increasingly clear that it is John McCain who has some big questions to answer.