From ABC News:
It has been a rocky path that has led to President Bush’s Rose Garden embrace of the newly anointed Republican presidential nominee John McCain but today at the White House the former competitor presented a united front for the party.
McCain’s decision to visit the White House the day after securing the GOP nomination is a dicey one. He needs Bush’s help with the party’s conservative base, but any ties to Bush could alienate moderate Republicans and independent voters who are key to a possible McCain victory in November.
Today, McCain invited the president to join him on the campaign trail “both from raising money and the much-needed finances for the campaign and addressing the challenging issues that face this country.”
Bush said “there’s an appropriate amount of campaigning for me to do” and dismissed the notion that his low approval ratings would hurt McCain’s White House ambitions come November.
And that would mark the 1,435,987th time you were wrong, moron.
Since their heated and bitter battle for the 2000 Republican nomination, Bush and McCain have oscillated between frenemies and cohorts, never in one place long enough for a new dynamic between them to take root.
McCain campaigned for Bush during his 2004 re-election campaign.
The two enjoyed a friendly rapport on the stump and Bush leaned on McCain to deliver the independent vote.
At an Army base in Washington in June 2004, the two politicians embraced on stage before Bush praised McCain.
Two weeks after Bush won the White House, McCain criticized Bush’s stance on climate change as “terribly disappointing.”
Following that, McCain upset the White House by forging a bipartisan compromise on Bush’s judicial selections and leading a rebellion against the president on interrogation policies for terrorism suspects.
Though McCain recently won the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush, the current president has been tight-lipped about expressing favor for one potential GOP nominee over another.
As McCain emerged the obvious front-runner, Bush has stepped forward to defend the Arizona Republican’s conservative credentials, stopping short of an endorsement.
Bush admitted to Fox News last month that McCain “has 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 because he is a conservative.”
Travel with McCain is not on Bush’s schedule as of yet.
“I do expect the president will do some campaigning with Sen McCain but it’s really premature for us to say,” the White House press secretary [Dana Perino] said. “The President in his position needs to help all GOP candidates heading into the 08 election. ”
Hitting a jocular note during the press conference, Bush he’d “find ample time to help.” “I could help raising money. And if he wants my pretty face standing by his side at one of these rallies, I’ll be glad to show up,” Bush continued, “But they’re going to be looking at him, you know. I’m going to be in Crawford with my feet up.”
Or, hopefully, sitting in Leavenworth with your feet shackled.