Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain
September 28, 1999
Web posted at: 6:23 p.m. EDT (2223 GMT)
PHOENIX (CNN) -- Arizona Gov. Jane Hull endorsed Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president Tuesday, joining the long list of Bush endorsers.
Hull would be just another name on a long list of Bush supporters except she is from Arizona and the most popular politician in the state is another Republican presidential candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain.
"I am throwing my support behind Governor Bush for several compelling reasons, first of all is character, second is experience and the third is a vision for the future," she said.
Bush dropped onto McCain's home turf to receive the endorsement just a day after the senator officially kicked off his presidential campaign.
"I also hold Senator McCain in high regard," Bush said. "He's a good man. He was a legitimate hero. We just have a difference of opinion and the difference is who ought to be the nominee of the Republican Party."
In fact, McCain trails Bush by about 10 points in Arizona and nationwide, the gap is much larger.
"I think that is something I'm sorry she's doing but she's on the losing side," McCain said Monday at his official announcement rally in New Hampshire.
For John Rhodes, the former Republican leader in the House and one of Arizona's most respected Republicans, Bush's poll numbers were persuasive. He also announced support for Bush on Tuesday despite a lifelong political association with McCain.
"In a political contest, there is a winner and a loser, and the winner does the things that he wants to do and loser doesn't do anything," Rhodes said. "Second in a political contest is also last."
Bush declined to comment on the possibility of a Bush-McCain ticket, something McCain has previously said he was not interested in.
"It is presumptuous for someone who has not earned his party's nomination to be speculating about vice presidents," Bush said, smiling.
However, Bush staffers freely admit that McCain, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, has the military and foreign policy experience that is not currently seen as Bush's strong suit.
McCain's record is currently seen as a contrast to Bush, who served stateside during the Vietnam War in the Texas Air National guard. But should Bush become the GOP nominee, the contrast could be seen as a compliment on a Bush-McCain ticket
And while Bush and McCain are pursuing different agendas now, it's worth noting that neither side has burned any bridges.
CNN's Candy Crowley contributed to this report.