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June 17, 2004
George and John, Together Again For The First Time

The Washington Post, having done almost everything imaginable to feed the rumors of a John Kerry-John McCain Democratic ticket until McCain finally scotched the rumor for at least the third time, now wants to backtrack and bring their meme into reality. Today's report by Dan Balz and Mike Allen now say that Bush and McCain have reached out to each other in the personages of Karl Rove and John Weaver:

After being courted by John F. Kerry to consider joining the Democratic presidential ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will join President Bush on Air Force One on Friday and introduce him at a campaign event in Reno, Nev., campaign officials said yesterday.

Bush and McCain have had a frosty relationship ever since competing for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Bush aides have fumed at McCain's occasional barbs in televised interviews during which he was asked repeatedly about the vice presidency. McCain's trip with Bush grew out of a meeting this spring between White House senior adviser Karl Rove and John Weaver, a top adviser to McCain, who became a Democratic consultant after the bitter campaign between Bush and McCain.

Isn't it nice that Weaver and Rove kissed and made up? Why, it happened just in time for Bush's campaign appearance, too! Of course, now we will hear how McCain has forgiven Bush for his hardball politics in 2000 and how the Arizona maverick may consider playing a more significant role in this election. As we near the convention, you may even read more from Balz and Allen about how McCain will reluctantly lead Republicans to Bush, overcoming his personal feelings to support his party.

Except that every word of it will be horse puckey. McCain has been co-chair of Bush's re-election campaign in Arizona for months, a fact of which he continually reminded people whenever interviewed, although it only came through during live interviews, for some reason. The media, notably the Post and the New York Times, magnified this Democratic fantasy and gave it a life of its own, hoping that the momentum of the story would carry it to reality. In some ways, it's reminiscent of what the LA Times tried to accomplish with its terribly skewed polling during the recall election.

Now that McCain has scheduled a Bush campaign appearance, significantly one outside Arizona, that fantasy is dead, and the media needs to cover their retreat. Balz and Allen's piece is merely the bugle call; the rest of the media will provide the story of the heartwarming rapprochement in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: I noticed via Memeorandum that the Columbia Journalism Review picked up this post and mentioned it in its campaign review for today. Pretty cool; maybe Al Gore will use CQ if he goes back to teach there again. Then again ... maybe not. (Welcome, CJR readers!)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 17, 2004 7:01 AM

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