McCain Leans on Low-Profile Support from Bush
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President Bush will raise money for John McCain today at two fundraisers in Utah. McCain himself won't be showing up. Yesterday, the two men were together in Arizona, but the campaign was careful to keep reporters and photographers away. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY: Unidentified Man: Beating Barack Obama or pretending to like George Bush on a daily basis?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
JOHN MCCAIN: Are you with Comedy Central?
HORSLEY: So far, McCain has fared better than many of his fellow Republicans. Charlie Black is one of McCain's senior advisers.
CHARLIE BLACK: If you look at all the national polls against either Democrat, he's basically even at the time when the Republican brand is lower than even with the Democratic brand. So we're happy with where we are.
HORSLEY: Pollster Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center says that's the image of John McCain that seems to resonate with voters.
ANDY KOHUT: He's seen as a different kind of Republican. He's seen as a maverick Republican. He's seen as a centrist. When we ask people to judge his ideology, they put him very far away from President Bush.
HORSLEY: Kohut says that's the John McCain Democrats want voters to focus on when they argue that McCain is running to George Bush's third term.
KOHUT: Their campaign is going to be he's a lot more like Bush than you think, and he's a lot more like a typical conservative Republican when it comes this issue, that issue and the following other issues.
HORSLEY: Just yesterday, aides characterized McCain's speech on nuclear security as a significant departure from Bush administration policy. With that in mind, McCain wasn't about to pose for pictures with the unpopular president to his side. For his part, Mr. Bush appears willing to keep a low profile, as he said when the two men did appear together on camera in the White House Rose Garden in early March.
GEORGE W: If he wants me to show up, I will. If he wants me to say, you know, I'm not for him, I will. Whatever he wants me to do, I want him to win.
HORSLEY: Scott Horsley, NPR News.
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