Wells Fargo, which had lost the original auction for Wachovia, came back with a surprise bid of $7 a share. Wachovia accepted that superior offer after a series of court hearings.

But the Wachovia deal was more important for Citigroup than many investors realized. Indeed, in parts of Washington and Wall Street, some whispered that the Citigroup-Wachovia tie-up was actually a backdoor bailout for Citigroup, not just Wachovia.

Finally, hell freezes over: Paul Krugman is lauded on the WSJ edit page.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.