President George W. Bush met with presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain in an extraordinary meeting on the Wall Street bailout. The meeting, which kicked off at 6am Australian time, but the New York Times reports that agreement remains elusive.

Neither Obama nor McCain spoke to the press as they left the meeting.

“The task of talking to the media was left to Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the banking committee and one of the most vocal critics of the bailout plan.

“I don’t believe we have an agreement,” he announced to an enormous press corps crowded under the portico of the West Wing entrance. Mr. Shelby then waved what he said were five pages of letters from the leading economists in the United States, from Harvard, Yale, MIT and the University of Chicago, who he said viewed Mr. Paulson’s plan as a “bad plan” that would create more problems than it would solve.”

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