Bush to spend last campaign weekend at Camp David
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, who said in March he would find ample time to campaign for Republican White House contender John McCain, is going to spend the last weekend of the 2008 race at, well, Camp David.
Bush has record low job approval ratings due to the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the sour economy. He will leave Friday for the U.S. presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland and will remain secluded until Sunday, according to his public schedule released late Tuesday evening.
“The president is pretty focused on the activities that we have here, especially getting this economy back in order,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “As we’ve said for a while, the president was going to be focusing on this.”
When the economic crisis unfolded and Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast, Bush canceled plans to attend several fundraisers around the country and sometimes sent surrogates in his place, including his wife Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
And as rival White House contender Democrat Barack Obama sought to paint McCain as an extension of the current president, McCain went to great lengths to distance himself from Bush.
During the campaign, McCain met three times publicly with Bush: once when he clinched the Republican nomination at the White House, a brief appearance at the Phoenix airport after a closed-door fundraiser they attended together, and then last month at the White House during a meeting on the financial bailout package.
McCain also last week blasted Bush in an interview with the Washington Times newspaper, saying “We just let things get completely out of hand.”
During the 2000 election, then-President Bill Clinton was largely cast aside by the Democratic hopeful Al Gore who sought to distance himself from the sex scandal that nearly took Clinton down. Instead Clinton spent much of his time working to elect his wife to the U.S. Senate.
So as the final weekend before election day approaches and McCain trails in most polls (narrowly in some), Bush will spend it the sidelines.
“He’s going to focus on being with Mrs. Bush and others this weekend at Camp David,” Perino said.
– Photo credit: White House (Bush fills out his election ballot)