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Reid’s autobiography says McCain’s reaction to economy cost him election

WASHINGTON — Arizona Sen. John McCain blew any chance he had to be president when he bumbled his response to the economic crisis, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says in a new version of his autobiography.

“As John McCain behaved erratically, Barack, by contrast, remained the picture of calm,” Reid, D-Nev., writes in a new epilogue to his autobiography, “The Good Fight,” which comes out in paperback next week.

McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Tuesday that McCain does not comment on books and had no response to Reid’s.

Reid called McCain’s decision to briefly suspend his campaign after the collapse of America’s financial markets last September “a bizarre stunt” that ended up backfiring.

As Senate leader, Reid also makes it clear that he resented attempts by McCain to try to take the lead in negotiations on a bailout bill.

“(Banking committee chairmen) were on the verge of an agreement, and any such McCain stunt would cost us valuable time,” Reid wrote.

“John, please don’t come,” Reid said he told McCain in a phone call.

He then read McCain a statement he had just issued in which he said, “We need leadership, not a campaign photo op.”

Shortly after he hung up with McCain, Reid got a call from Obama.

“Harry, what’s John up to? It sounds crazy,” Obama asked Reid.

Obama was “very poised,” Reid said

“By contrast, McCain was setting his hair afire,” Reid wrote.

When McCain announced the suspension of his campaign, Obama declined to follow suit, saying, “The American people expect their candidates for president to be capable of doing more than one thing at a time.”

“I believe it was the stark contrast between the behavior of the two men during this crucial test that sealed the election for Obama,” Reid wrote.

In an interview this week in his leadership office in the U.S. Capitol, Reid said he didn’t think the book would hurt his relationship with McCain — whom, he acknowledged, he will need on big issues such as immigration reform.

“John McCain will just go on being John McCain,” Reid said. “He’ll work with us on issues he believes in, like immigration reform, and he’ll fight us on others.”

Reid said that he reached out to McCain after the election, and that McCain was gracious.

“If I said anything (during the campaign) that hurt you, I apologize,” Reid said he told McCain.

“Senator McCain thanked me warmly, said that all was forgotten, and that he was ready to get back to work,” Reid wrote.

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