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McCain to get push from Bush


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Monique Faulkner
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« on: March 05, 2008, 11:08:56 am »

McCain to get push from Bush
Story Highlights
President Bush is set to endorse Sen. John McCain for president

McCain clinched GOP nomination with victories in Tuesday's primaries

Republicans say Bush can help solidify GOP base behind McCain

Linking Bush, McCain helpful to Democrats, Democratic strategist says

Next Article in Politics


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain heads to the White House on Wednesday to get President Bush's endorsement for president, an event that has both Republicans and their Democratic opponents excited.




Sen. John McCain walks past supporters Tuesday after a town hall-style meeting in Houston, Texas.

 McCain clinched the GOP presidential nomination with victories Tuesday in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island, earning the nod from the current office holder.

"Everyone saw the calendar and did the math. It was obvious this would be a logical time" for the endorsement, a senior Bush administration official said of Wednesday's meeting.

McCain needed 1,191 delegates to secure the nomination and had 1,226 after Tuesday's voting, according to CNN estimates.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas said McCain can now focus on solidifying support among conservative Republicans, the majority of whom backed candidates other than the Arizona lawmaker in the primaries, according to exit polls.

"I think the endorsement of President Bush will certainly go a long ways toward that," Hutchison said Wednesday. "John McCain is going to be very focused on our base and the people that he wants to have in full force behind him."

Despite overall approval ratings hovering just above 30 percent, Bush receives far higher marks from conservatives, and the McCain campaign thinks the push from Bush will bring the party in line behind their presumptive nominee.

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"He'll have the [Republican National Committee] behind him. He'll have a broad base of financial support. It's a big step," said Alex Castellanos, a GOP strategist and CNN contributor.

The senior administration official concurred Wednesday, saying Bush will raise "a lot of money" for McCain.

"He is extremely popular" with the GOP base, the official said." And so can do a lot to drive the base in the election, which will help across the board."

William Bennett, a CNN contributor who was in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Reagan, said Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will have to factor McCain into their strategies to secure the Democratic nomination, something that should help the Republican define whomever becomes his November foe.

"They have to factor that in as they debate each other every time they put out an ad and make a position," Bennett said.

But Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala said his party is happy to see McCain get the nomination -- and happy to see anything the senator does that links him more closely with the Republican president.

"He's embraced the Bush tax cuts that he voted against. He was against them being temporary; now he wants them being permanent. That's like marrying a girl you didn't want to date. He is rushed to Bush's Social Security plan, even disavowing his own Social Security plan on his own Web site. He has now become Bush's third term," Begala said.

Begala called McCain's victory speech Tuesday night "an eloquent but not very energetic defense of the status quo."  Watch McCain speak to supporters after clinching the nomination

"Democrats heard that speech and loved it," he said. "To quote our current president, bring it on." E-mail to a friend

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/05/mccain.bush/index.html
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