This from a source who knows a source so don't quote me. Shortly after 4 PM last Thursday, GOP presidential nominee John McCain arrives at the Whitehouse for a much vaunted financial summit which is meant to quell market jitters and curtail a disaster never seen since the the Great Depression of the 1930s. As he is whisked past security, he is overheard saying to an aide: "Let me know when Obama shows up," to which the aide replies, "he is already here." McCain's reaction was odd, according to the source who spoke on the condition that his name not be used. " It was almost as if he wanted to be the first one in and the last one out to show the world he was the leader and Obama the follower." He had a lot riding on the outcome of the meeting. Enough investment in it he had already suspended his campaign. Before entering the conference room, McCain stopped to make a cell phone call. The call was brief and to point. "Tell them that tomorrow night is off," he said in apparent reference to the next day's debate with Obama. Once in the conference room, McCain was led to his seat which was directly opposite Obama's. The two men did not shake hands or acknowledge each other. The GOP presidential contender was one of the last to arrive. Most of the chairs in the room had already been taken by top congressional leaders. The source says that quite a few of them had taken off their coats, loosened their ties and rolled up their sleeves in anticipation of the steep hill that lay ahead. "The atmosphere was tense. It was almost as if everyone knew that the deal was already dead," the source added. A few minutes later, the president walked into the room unannounced and took a seat at the head of the table. The secret service men who had been in the room left and the room was sealed. What happened next is unclear but more than one source claims that it did not take more than two minutes for the meeting to turn to utter chaos. According to one source, as soon as the president sat down, McCain turned to him and asked him to explain why there were reports in the media that a deal had been reached on the 700 billion dollar rescue package. "The president was taken aback by the abruptness of the question. He never really had a chance to answer. Next thing you know, everybody started raising their voices and all order was thrown out the window," the source said. After about two minutes of shouting with expeletives being thrown back and forth, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, stood up and banged both fists on the table. The shouting stopped. Slowly, Paulson told the attendees to "shut up and listen." He then outlined his plan for the bailout. "If this deal falls through, then you will have only yourself to thank for the catastrophe that will follow in the next few days," he said according to the source. All this while, the president had not uttered anything that could be construed as constructive. Neither had McCain or Obama. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been making her arguments as loudly as the other congressional leaders was livid. The source said that after Paulson made his remarks and sat down, Pelosi turned to the president and pointed rather chidingly that "Bush was still the president and he should have something more to say instead of sitting there and nodding his head." Chaos broke out again. Somebody called Pelosi a nag. McCain was labelled a "lame duck candidate," and then somebody called Obama a "Chicago street thug." And then in a scene never seen in living memory, the Treasury secretary got out of his chair, walked halfway across the room and went down on one knee in front of Speaker Pelosi. "Ma'am," he reportedly said," if this deal dies, the American economy will die with it." This apparently was the turning point of the meeting. Obama is said to have stood up and pointed out that the meeting was "too poisoned to continue." He accused McCain and the republicans of "serving lies, rumors and innuendo." He then asked for the meeting to be postponed. Nobody objected. The next day, the president issued a brief statement in which he said "the legislative process is, sometimes, not very pretty," in apparent reference to the happenings of the evening before. And that ladies and gentlemen is what happened.