Last week I wrote that President Bush’s presence on the campaign trail would only be of use to John McCain if GWB stayed out of the spotlight and worked behind the scenes to raise money, primarily from the members of the Republican base who aren’t huge McCain fans.
That’s basically what’s happening. The McCain campaign moved an event with the President scheduled for later today from it’s original location, reportedly the Phoenix Convention Center, to McCain’s private home. The event went from being open press to being closed press. The cause for the changes? Lackluster ticket sales, a fear of anti-war protesters, and presumably a desire to keep the pair away from the cameras. Writes the Wall Street Journal:
President Bush and John McCain will appear together at a fund-raiser in Phoenix Tuesday, the first time in nearly three months that the Republican presidential candidate will be seen beside the man he hopes to succeed.
With Mr. Bush’s popularity at a record low, the McCain campaign has made sure that television footage of the two men together will be minimal. The maneuvering is the latest example of Sen. McCain’s aggressive effort to separate himself from the White House, even as he embraces many of the policies that Mr. Bush has promoted throughout his presidency…
Politico adds: “In its daily e-mail update to reporters this morning, McCain’s campaign made no mention that the leader of the free world would be appearing with the candidate tonight.”