From The New York Times:
Offering a preview of the general election campaign, President Bush sought on Friday to unify the Republican Party behind its presumptive nominee and said the contest would present the country with a stark ideological choice at a time of war.
Mr. Bush did not mention Senator John McCain in an early-morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference here. But he said that “soon we will have a nominee who will carry the conservative banner into this election and beyond,” in what was widely interpreted as a message of reassurance about Mr. McCain, whose relationship with Mr. Bush has been strained in the past, and who faces misgivings from the Republican right.
Mr. Bush himself refrained from any explicit endorsement of Mr. McCain on Monday, in keeping with what one adviser called “studious neutrality” during the Republican primaries and caucuses. (“We’re Switzerland here,” the White House counselor, Ed Gillespie, said in an interview.) But Mr. Bush did refer to the Republican candidates as “good and honorable people,” and made clear that he would vigorously campaign for the ultimate nominee.
A White House spokesman, Scott M. Stanzel, said it remained premature to discuss a presidential endorsement, despite Mr. Romney’s withdrawal.
Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain were bitter rivals for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Mr. McCain has at times infuriated the White House by parting company with Mr. Bush, notably with his refusal to support the president’s first round of tax cuts in 2001.
But Mr. McCain actively campaigned for Mr. Bush in 2004.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Dick Cheney predicted Thursday that the next president would be a Republican but steered clear of commenting on John McCain’s front-runner status or efforts by some conservative activists to deny him the GOP nomination.
His only mention of the rough-and-tumble battle for the GOP nomination came when he told the group “you’ve got an impressive lineup of speakers over the next few days. Among these are some fine citizens now running for office, including, I am certain, the next president of the United States.”