Bush 43 Spokesman Denies Report that Former President Supported Obama over McCain in 2008

By Jared

Nov 10, 2010 5:37pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports A spokesman for George W. Bush strongly denied a report in Britain’s Financial Times that the former president supported Barack Obama over John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, calling it “ridiculous and untrue.” “I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” the newspaper says Bush told former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a group of visiting dignitaries of McCain. “I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.” The Financial Times sources the anecdote to anonymous sources -”two people present.” "This story based on information from unnamed British government staffers is ridiculous and untrue,” said David Sherzer, a spokesman for Bush. “President Bush proudly supported John McCain in the election and voted for him." Bush and McCain have had a strained and at times sour relationship, dating back to their bitter battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. McCain and his top aides loathed then Gov. Bush and the campaign he waged against him in South Carolina, a campaign in which Bush and his allies spread nasty attacks and innuendo including smears against McCain’s family. The two Republicans clashed many times during the eight years of the Bush presidency – over issues like interrogation techniques for terrorist suspects and the strategy in Iraq. When McCain wrapped up the GOP nomination in March 2008, Bush welcomed him to the White House and gave him his endorsement. “John showed incredible courage and strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment. And that's exactly what we need in a president,” Bush said in the Rose Garden. During the 2008 presidential campaign, a very unpopular Bush largely stayed on the sidelines and did not stump for McCain. The president did not even appear in person at the Republican Convention in St. Paul, ostensibly because of Hurricane Gustav that was hitting the Gulf Coast. The White House did not want to seem political but Republicans strategists said privately at the time that it was perhaps better that the president, with an approval rating of 30 percent, stayed away. –Karen Travers

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