Bush Rallies Republican Base (Via Satellite)

By Ed O'Keefe

Sep 2, 2008 5:33pm

ABC News’ Jon Garcia reports: President George W. Bush may not be in the Minne-Apple, but he’ll do his best to rally the Republican base at their national convention.

Speaking via satellite after Hurricane Gustav wreaked havoc with the first day of Republican gathering, Bush will reference the storm, saying, "We are thankful that the damage in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast was less than many had feared," while lauding the efforts of GOP governors in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

But Bush saves his highest praise for his 2000 Republican nomination rival, Sen. John McCain, and his newly-minted vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"John McCain’s life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this nation," Bush is expected to say, according to remarks released by the White House.  "We live in a dangerous world.  And we need a president who understands the lessons of Sept. 11, 2001: that, to protect America, we must stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen, and not wait to be hit again.  The man we need is John McCain."

On the Alaska Governor, Bush adds, "I am optimistic about something else: When the debates have ended, and all the ads have run, and it is time to vote, Americans will look closely at the judgment, the experience, and the policies of the candidates — and they will cast their ballots for the McCain-Palin ticket."

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