Anger vs. Steadiness in the Crisis

While McCain blusters, Obama is keeping his head. And now he's taking control of the election

Illustration by Stephen Kroninger for TIME; Obama: Chip Somodevilla / AP

A few hours before the House of Representatives smacked down the financial-bailout package, I watched John McCain — eyes flashing, jaw clenched, oozing sarcasm and disdain — on the attack in Ohio: "Senator Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn't want to get involved. Then he was 'monitoring the situation.' That's not leadership; that's watching from the sidelines." And I thought of Karl Rove. Back in 2003, at the height of Howard Dean mania, Rove was skeptical about Dean's staying power as a candidate: "When was the last time Americans elected...

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