The man who was most responsible for the election of Barack Obama was George Bush, when he signed TARP.
The election was lost long before that.
The person most responsible for obama’s win was Mike Huckabee. His strong anti-abortion message took Evangelical Christian Conservative Primary votes away from Fred Thompson, and by splitting those Conservative votes, it left mclame standing, and 15,000,000 Conservatives stayed home in November because they couldn’t stomach mclame.
I think McCain's reaction, suspending his campaign, and running to congress for the solution to this problem, was what sucked the life out of the conservative base.
The base was never very supportive of McCain, but between Sarah, and the fear of a Dem dominated government, his support amongst the conservatives was respectable. It seemed to me, from talk radio and the internet, that the conservative voters wanted no part of a TARP bailout for the financial institutions.
It would have been a perfect position for a true maverick to declare emphatically that there was no such thing as too big to fail. But he embraced the DC solution and the base let out a collective sigh in exasperation at their frustration over having no one in the race to vote for. So...many didn't.