Bush on campaign trail – McCain’s secret?
PARK CITY, Utah – Republican White House hopeful John McCain wants help from President George W. Bush to raise money for his campaign, but has done plenty to downplay the unpopular president’s presence on the trail.
Bush headlined three closed-door fundraisers in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday and Wednesday, hauling in millions of dollars for McCain but there was only a brief public glimpse of the two men together, for less than a minute. Plus, McCain skipped two of the events.
Bush’s fundraiser in Arizona with McCain was originally scheduled to be open to reporters, but McCain’s campaign keeps its fundraisers closed to the press so the event was moved to a private home to keep it out of the public eye.
McCain’s campaign also refused to release any details about how much Bush was helping raise at the three events, but the one with McCain present brought in roughly $2.5 million, according to sources close to the campaign who declined to be identified.
Details from the other two fundraisers were scarce, though the one Wednesday evening in the posh ski resort area of Park City, Utah, was hosted by Mitt Romney, a former investment banker who had been a McCain rival in the hunt for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
Democrats have tried to paint McCain as no different than the current White House occupant, arguing that the Arizona senator would represent a “third term” of Bush if elected to the White House in November, citing his steadfast support of Bush’s plan for the Iraq war and making tax cuts permanent.
In addition to limiting public exposure with Bush, McCain has differed with him on how to address climate change and said he would pursue nuclear arms reduction talks with Russia and China as part of a foreign policy that brings back “broad-minded internationalism and determined diplomacy.”
The growing distance between the two brings up the question of how McCain will handle Bush at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in early September.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (McCain sees Bush off at the Phoenix airport after a private fundraiser.)