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But then came two less-than-expected developments. The first was that their plan was not immediately hailed as the savior of the U.S. economy, but came in for considerable sniping in Congress and from doubting commentators. It no longer looks like a done deal, and the markets have been sinking again as a result, despite the awful warnings that Paulson and Bernanke delivered to Congress in their testimony Tuesday.
The day began with an agreement that Washington hoped would end the financial crisis that has gripped the nation. It dissolved into a verbal brawl in the Cabinet Room of the White House, warnings from an angry president and pleas from a Treasury secretary who knelt before the House speaker and appealed for her support.