John McCain's Surprise Cheerleader

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

John McCain's Surprise Cheerleader

In today's Washington Post, columnist Ruth Marcus writes:
John McCain and Trent Lott aren't the strangest of political bedfellows, but the two Republican senators aren't the most obviously compatible couple either ....

During the 2000 campaign, McCain relentlessly flayed a Lott-backed, Mississippi-based ship as pork barrel spending at its worst; Lott returned the compliment by endorsing George W. Bush over his fellow senator.

... So Lott's current labors on behalf of the emerging McCain presidential campaign are telling -- both about the careful political groundwork McCain is laying for 2008 and about the growing unease among party activists that they will lose the White House.

Behind the scenes -- and quite openly at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference here over the weekend -- Lott has been working to burnish the Arizona senator's standing among the Republican faithful who remain skeptical of, or even hostile to, McCain.
So what's in it for Lott?
Lott's support for McCain may contain more than a little element of payback and self-interest -- after all, Lott was ousted from his job as majority leader by one of McCain's presidential rivals, Tennessee's Bill Frist, and McCain could help Lott regain a leadership post.
At least until the next time Lott publicly eulogizes and praises a segregationist presidential candidate. Luckily for Lott, there don't seem to be any more of them who are still living.

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