McCain Can't Afford, Literally, to Ignore Bush

'Radioactive' president can raise money, talk to GOP's right wing
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2008 4:22 PM CDT
McCain Can't Afford, Literally, to Ignore Bush
President Bush and John McCain.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Though he may be “absolutely radioactive” for Republican candidates (in the words of one GOP legislator), Bloomberg reports, President Bush is no easy hurdle for John McCain, who must build distance with the historically unpopular incumbent while using him to raise money and build conservative bona fides. Hence tonight's fundraiser in Phoenix, closed to the media despite both McCain and Bush being in attendance.

"Any sitting president, even one whose approval rating is in the low 30s, can raise money,'' one GOP strategist said. "McCain has to distance himself from Bush, but he also has to reassure the Republican base—and that means snuggling up.'' (Read more John McCain stories.)

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