George W. Bush endorses John McCain for US Presidency

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bush and McCain shake hands before the press assembled in the Rose Garden.

United States Senator John McCain, the leading Republican candidate for the US Presidency, secured the endorsement of the incumbent President George W. Bush on Wednesday.

The Arizona Senator travelled from Dallas, Texas to have lunch with the President at the White House.

Afterwards, the two stood before the press in the Rose Garden, where McCain received his formal endorsement from Bush.

"It's been my honor to welcome my friend, John McCain, as the nominee of the Republican Party," said Bush. "A while back I don't think many people would have thought that John McCain would be here as the nominee of the Republican Party—except he knew he would be here, and so did his wife, Cindy."

"It's a man who cares a lot about the less fortunate among us. He's a President, and he's going to be the President who will bring determination to defeat an enemy, and a heart big enough to love those who hurt," continued Bush.

"I’m very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the President of the United States, a man who I have great admiration, respect and affection [for]," said McCain.

I’m very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to receive the endorsement of the President of the United States

—John McCain

Joking about his low approval ratings, President Bush also offered to oppose McCain, if he so preferred. "Either way, I want him to win," he said.

Speaking about the upcoming campaign, McCain told reporters, "I do intend to campaign all —across the country. I think that literally every section in this country is at—in play. And I will be glad to have the President with me, in keeping with his schedule, in any part of America. And we're going to go everywhere in America with this campaign."

Mike Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the party is there to help McCain. "We’ve been preparing for the last several months," Duncan said. "We've been putting the staff together. And all of that is available to Senator McCain, as our the presumptive nominee, as of today."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said Bush would help raise money for the campaign as well as working toward securing Republican majorities in the House and Senate. "Across the board, Republicans are going to support President Bush and Senator McCain," she said.

According to The New York Times, McCain's top advisers are eager to enlist the president for his fund-raising prowess. However, they do not want McCain to appear too often at the side of President Bush. They say their reluctance has nothing to do with the President’s unpopularity and is not a sign of running away from the President. Rather, McCain needs to be seen on his own, or "stand in the sun" as one adviser put it.

John McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee after Tuesday's primaries.