In an interview with Fox News, President Bush argued that if his agenda and record are made central issues in the upcoming presidential election, then the Republican nominee stands “a better chance of winning” because the election won’t be about him:
My attitude is, so long as they’re talking about me, we have a better chance of winning because our candidate will — what’s going to matter is not the past but the future when it comes to campaigns.
If the Democrat Party feels like they can win an election by focusing on me, I think they’d be making a huge tactical mistake. But I hope they do that then because our candidate will be able to talk about the future.
Elections are about the future, and Americans are eagerly anticipating the end of the Bush era. But, Bush will play a central role in the upcoming presidential contest because the leading conservative candidates are espousing a “third Bush term” as their policy agenda.
Bush essentially conceded this morning that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will best carry on his agenda. “I know [McCain] well. I know his convictions,” Bush said. “I know the principles that drive him. And no doubt in my mind he’s a true conservative.” He added:
I think that if John’s the nominee, he has got some convincing to do to convince people that he is a solid conservative. And I’ll be glad to help him if he’s the nominee. Look, he’s very strong on national defense. He’s tough fiscally. He believes that tax cuts ought to be permanent. He’s pro-life. I mean, he’s a — his principles are sound and solid as far as I’m concerned.
In Jan. 2007, Newsweek conducted a poll asking Americans if “they wish the Bush presidency [were] simply over.” Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they did, including 59 percent of independents and 21 percent of Republicans.