In a speech earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attempted to bat down the idea that he is “running for President Bush’s third term” by calling it a “false” notion. “I disagreed strongly with the Bush administration” on Iraq, McCain claimed.
On MSNBC today, Andrea Mitchell asked Liz Cheney, a former State Department official who is also the daughter of Vice President Cheney, about McCain’s efforts to separate himself from Bush. “It’s not surprising to see the distancing going on,” replied Cheney. But, she added, “on the really important issues” McCain is advocating for policies that Bush and Cheney supporters “believe are the right ones”:
CHENEY: At the same time, I think on the really important issues that face the country, on issues like the war on terror and the economy, Senator McCain in fact is advocating those policies that those of us who supported President Bush and the Vice President believe are the right ones for this nation.
Cheney’s comments reflect how McCain himself has described his ideological relationship to the Bush administration. Though they have disagreed on select issues, McCain told Tim Russert in 2005 that he is “totally in agreement” with Bush “on the transcendent issues, the most important issues“:
RUSSERT: The fact is you are different than George Bush.
SEN. McCAIN: No. No. I–the fact is that I’m different but the fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.
As for Liz’s dad, McCain may be critical of him now, but in 2006 he said that he would consider having Cheney serve in his administration because they “have the same strengths.”
MITCHELL: John McCain now separating himself from this administration because of the unpopularity, fair or not, because of the bad polling numbers?
CHENEY: I think it’s absolutely to be expected. I think Senator McCain is a unique kind of a Republican. He’s somebody that a lot of us in the party, including myself, didn’t support in the primaries. And, I think it’s not surprising to see the distancing going on. At the same time, I think on the really important issues that face the country, on issues like the war on terror and the economy, Senator McCain in fact is advocating those policies that those of us who supported President Bush and the Vice President believe are the right ones for this nation, in terms of making sure that we stay on the offense in the war on terror. Making sure that we don’t, for goodness sakes, impose a huge new tax burden on the american people at a time when everyone is really feeling the bite of energy prices and feeling the bite of the home mortgage crisis. those are the kinds of things that Sen. Obama would advocate, which I think would be exactly wrong for the nation at this point.