DESPERATE CANDIDATES DO DESPERATE THINGS…. As the political world continues to try to wrap its head around John McCain’s decision to “suspend” his campaign, the Obama campaign issued an interesting statement.

At 8:30 this morning, Senator Obama called Senator McCain to ask him if he would join in issuing a joint statement outlining their shared principles and conditions for the Treasury proposal and urging Congress and the White House to act in a bipartisan manner to pass such a proposal. At 2:30 this afternoon, Senator McCain returned Senator Obama’s call and agreed to join him in issuing such a statement. The two campaigns are currently working together on the details.

As we talked about earlier, McCain said yesterday he’s looking for a variety of things in the bailout package before he makes up his mind, including “greater accountability,” a “path for taxpayers to recover the money,” “complete transparency,” and a mechanism to prevent Wall Street executives from profiting from taxpayer money. Obama had expressed his own ideas on measures that the bailout package should include, 48 hours earlier, and the lists were nearly identical.

So, this morning, Obama called McCain with a straightforward idea: if both candidates supported similar provisions, the two sides could endorse a joint set of principles. McCain, this afternoon, agreed. Obama did this quietly, away from the media spotlight, and without leaking anything to the media. Just one candidate looking for a bipartisan solution with a rival candidate. Everyone was happy.

And almost immediately after an agreement was reached, McCain, in the middle of debate prep, decides it’s time for a stunt. How very sad that McCain’s desperation has become this transparent.

Details are a little sketchy at this point, but as I understand it, Obama still wants a debate on Friday, as planned, and does not plan to suspend his campaign, but we’re supposed to get another statement on these developments from Obama very soon.

Stay tuned.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.