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Dems call McCain's move a 'stunt'; GOP welcomes return

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  • NEW: Top Democrat calls McCain's actions a "political stunt"
  • NEW: Sen. Durbin says move would bring "charged" atmosphere to Washington
  • NEW: McCain supporter says Republican's presence will help push negotiations
  • Top Senate Republican, White House welcome move
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional Democrats accused Sen. John McCain on Wednesday of potentially upsetting negotiations over a $700 billion bailout package by injecting presidential politics into the process, while Republicans welcomed his decision to return to Washington to participate in the talks.

McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, also called for a presidential debate scheduled for Friday night to be cancelled so both he and his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, can return to Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement that the candidates' presence could be a distraction during the delicate talks.

"If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership, not a campaign photo op," Reid said.

Sources say Reid read the statement to McCain when the two talked on the phone Wednesday.

And the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, said McCain's decision to return would would bring the "charged political atmosphere" of presidential politics to Washington.

"I'm not sure that will help create a positive, bipartisan or nonpartisan atmosphere to solve the problem," said Durbin, who added, "I think we need to do this in a thoughtful, quiet and sensible way. "

One of the Democratic negotiators, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, dismissed McCain's move as a "political stunt."

"The negotiations have gone on," said Schumer, an Obama supporter. "It's as if, you know, you're in the middle of drawing an amazing painting and someone else comes in and says, 'hey, come in, let me throw my brush marks on there.' It just doesn't make sense."Video Watch Sen. Schumer call McCain's move 'odd, weird' »

But McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said the presence of the two presidential candidates could help move the negations along.

"The point is that we're going nowhere quickly up here. Unless you get some new input and some new ideas and bring this country together, the Congress is going to fold and not act. That will be a financial disaster," Graham said.

And the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, called McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and join the negotiations "an outstanding idea."

"The threats to Americans and their homes, savings and retirements is really not a partisan problem, and it won't be fixed with a partisan approach."Video Watch Sen. Graham applaud McCain's move »


The White House also applauded McCain's move, saying it would help to drive the negotiations "to a conclusion."

"The financial market crisis is a big problem that requires a big solution, and solving this in a bipartisan way will help prevent economic damage spreading from Wall Street to all Americans."

All About John McCainBarack ObamaNational EconomyHarry Reid

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