McCain: Bush's first choice

Published July 9, 2004 6:28PM (EDT)

Prominently featured in recent campaign ads for both presidential campaigns, gossip about John McCain's loyalties continues to swirl inside the Beltway. The Bush team insists that McCain was Kerry's first choice for VP, a phrase repeated by many reporters as fact. But McCain has plainly stated he did not rebuff Kerry. In an interview with Tony Snow on Fox News this week, McCain said: "Never was an offer, no."

Another thing the Bush campaign has conveniently left out is that McCain was, in fact, then Governor Bush's first choice in 2000, according to another interview McCain gave to CBS' The Early Show in March. McCain said then: "Look, I don't want to be Vice President of the United States, I do not want to leave the Republican party, I would not be Vice President of the United States on either ticket. I told President Bush when he asked me in 2000 if, when he asked me if I was interested, I said I was not interested." Maybe they were hoping we wouldn't notice?

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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