It was an awkward moment for President Bush and his would-be successor, John McCain. But the two former antagonists, who fought bitterly in the 2000 Republican primaries, made the best of things at a photo op in the Rose Garden to mark McCain's clinching the Republican presidential nomination. Bush said McCain was courageous and compassionate. McCain said he respects and admires Bush.
The problem is that, while Bush can raise lots of money for McCain and perhaps reassure some conservatives that the Arizona senator is truly one of them, the president is unpopular among independents and moderate Democrats. And those are two constituencies that McCain will need in the general-election campaign. So there probably won't be many more Bush-McCain photo ops this fall. In any case, Bush said voters will make up their minds based on McCain's record, not his own. "They're not going to be voting for me—I've had my time in the Oval Office," Bush said, noting that he will soon be living full time at his Texas ranch. "I'm going to be in Crawford with my feet up."