Local Politics

President Endorses McCain

Posted March 5, 2008 1:34 p.m. EST

— President Bush endorsed Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain on Wednesday, two bitter rivals from
the 2000 presidential race joining together now in hopes of preventing Democrats from winning the White House this fall.

"John showed incredible courage, strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment and that's exactly what we need in a president - somebody who can handle the tough decisions, somebody who won't flinch in the face of danger," Bush said, appearing with McCain in the Rose Garden.

Bush's embrace of the Arizona senator as the party's next standard-bearer comes a day after McCain clinched the GOP nomination by getting the requisite 1,191 convention delegates.

Republicans won't officially nominate McCain until early September at the GOP's national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"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," Bush said. "Except he knew he'd be here and so did his wife, Cindy."

With his low poll ratings and an unpopular war on his shoulders, Bush could hurt McCain with some groups, while helping with others.

"They're not going to be voting for me," the president said. "I've had my time in the Oval Office."

"It's not about me," Bush said. "I've done my bit."

McCain said he looked forward to campaigning with Bush at his side and said the president could be helpful in states such as Texas.