On Fox and Friends this morning, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called President Bush’s anointment of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as his chosen successor “a significant and symbolic moment.” Perino then described Bush and McCain’s friendship, including how after the 2000 primary, “McCain went on to work his tail off to help this president.” She said that they were never “enemies” or “rivals,” but always “buddies.” Watch it:
Bush and McCain’s embrace yesterday was a “symbolic moment.” Symbolic of the fact that McCain represents a “third Bush term.”
KILMEADE: And let’s talk about what was going on yesterday at the White House. What was it like?
First off, the president waiting for John McCain, who’s a little tardy, decides to dance a little — a little some of those African moves he brought back with him.
PERINO: Yesterday might have even been better than the African moves.
KILMEADE: Actually, this is an Irish jig.
KILMEADE: All right. So the president having a good time with the press. Seemed relaxed. Could you bring us behind the scenes when the senator and the president were together?.
PERINO: Sure. There was a wonderful atmosphere. It was a great morning yesterday. A great day. And the sun came out. And we were excited in the White House to have Senator McCain there. It was a really significant and symbolic moment for us.
Right before they went out to do their statements, I had a chance to talk to them a little bit. And they were having a chat about old times and in 2000, how they worked together and went on the campaign bus together.
And Senator McCain said, I remember when we were on that bus in central Florida, and the rain was coming down, and people were lining the street and jumping up and down, and that’s when I knew that you would be president.
KILMEADE: Well, listen to this. Everyone likes to write enemies, long-time rivals. True?
PERINO: Absolutely not. And while I think that might be a good story line for some people to say, to try, it’s simply not true. I would say that hasn’t been true ever. But certainly after they were competitors, then, in 2000 and 2004, Senator McCain went on to work his tail off to help this president.
KILMEADE: Absolutely. And you can make a strong argument the president doesn’t win if John McCain doesn’t help him. So now they are buddies.
PERINO: He was crucial to the president winning.