From The New York Times:
KENNER, La. — Senator John McCain marked the unofficial beginning of the general election with a speech here Tuesday in which he sought to distance himself from President Bush and to argue that he has stronger credentials as an independent agent of change than his all-but-certain Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama.
Mr. McCain has worked to unite the Republican Party by vowing to continue many of Mr. Bush’s policies, including continuing the war in Iraq, extending the Bush tax cuts and appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court. But he used his speech here to highlight his independence from the president in areas including the early handling of the war, global warming and government spending.
“You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term,” he said, trying to pre-empt one of the central Democratic strategies of tying Mr. McCain to the unpopular president. “You will hear every policy of the president described as the Bush-McCain policy. […]