Forward Progress on Bailout: The Senate came out strongly in favor of the $700 billion bailout package last night, leaving its supporters optimistic that with a number of popular additions the proposal would lead to House acceptance by Friday, The New York Times reports. The Senate passed the bill with a 74 to 25 margin. Both presidential candidates approved the bill, and only Sen. Edward Kennedy, who is being treated for brain cancer, did not vote.
The FDA's Bad Makeover: The Food and Drug Administration had hoped that hiring a public relations firm could help the agency shake its image problem in the wake of months of congressional pummeling for poor inspections of tainted vegetables, drugs and other products. But according to an investigation by The Washington Post, the PR firm the agency hired did not go through a public competition as required by government policy to get the $300,000 contract. Instead, FDA officials came up with a plan to ensure the work would go to a Washington public relations firm with ties to the FDA official arranging the deal.
The Price of Sanctions: Colorado Judge Judge Richard Matsch ordered McDermott, Will & Emery and client Medtronic Inc to pay $4.3 million in attorney fees as punishment for alleged "abuse of advocacy" in a patent case, The Recorder reports via Law.com. It was unclear Wednesday what portions would be paid by the company and the law firm.
Fighting for No. 2: With the vice presidential debates tonight, expectations for both candidates, Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin, have hit a high point. Palin's poll numbers have slipped after a series of dismal performances in interviews with CBS anchor Katie Couric, but the McCain camp says she still has a few tricks up her sleeve. Biden, the long time senator from Delaware, is known for letting his mouth run away with him and for sometimes putting his foot in it. Even moderator Gwen Ifill has high expectations on her to appear neutral after headlines have taken shots at her for having written a book titled, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The debate begins at 9 p.m. and will last 90 minutes.