President Bush is increasingly confident that John McCain, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will be an effective defender of the major Bush policies such as cutting taxes, fighting terrorism, and winning the Iraq war, according to White House aides.
Standing at an event this morning with former President George H.W. Bush to receive his and Barbara’s endorsement, McCain was asked whether he “would be in effect carrying out a third Bush term.”
“I’d be honored to have President George Bush’s support, his endorsement,” McCain responded. “And I’d be honored to be anywhere with him under any circumstances.” He added, “I am proud of this president’s strategy in Iraq.” Watch it:
McCain tried to qualify the strength of his ties to Bush. McCain said, “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to work with him on many issues,” but added, “obviously, as any president who follows one has different views on particularly specific issues.”
One McCain adviser told the NYT that “that while there were risks for Mr. McCain to appear with Mr. Bush, it would be a bad idea to keep Mr. Bush entirely at arm’s length.”
QUESTION: Your Democratic opponents say that you would be in effect carrying out a third Bush term. I’d like to ask you and President Bush, to what degree do you think the current president’s influence will affect your candidacy?
MCCAIN: Well, let me just say that I’d be honored to have President George Bush’s support, his endorsement. And I’d be honored to be anywhere with him under any circumstances.
Having said that, obviously, as any president who follows one has different views on particularly specific issues.
But I am proud of this president’s strategy in Iraq. It is succeeding. The Democrats are the same ones who said it would fail. The Democrats are the same ones that after they said the surge wouldn’t work, and it worked, that politically that it wouldn’t work, they are wrong, they are wrong. And we should start out this presidential debate by the admitting that they were wrong. And if we had done what they wanted to do, then we would have had Al Qaida succeed in Iraq.
So all I can say is that I’m glad to have campaigned hard for President Bush’s election in 2000, his reelection in 2004, and I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to work with him on many issues.
Are there issues we are in disagreement on? Of course. And, again, obviously, the American people will judge who they vote for by the qualities of the candidate and how those qualities and vision and leadership is displayed.