En­dors­ing McCain, Gi­u­liani Lauds Sen­a­tor’s ‘Clear Vi­sion’

The Washington Post - - Campaign 2008 - By Michael D. Shear

SIMI VAL­LEY, Calif., Jan. 30 — Life, ac­cord­ing to Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona, is full of anec­dotes. And for years to come, he’s sure to retell with pride the one that be­gan about 3 p.m. Wed­nes­day.

That’s when McCain’s friend and one­time neme­sis stood shoul­der to shoul­der with him here at the Ron­ald Rea­gan Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary and of­fered his en­dorse­ment.

The pres­i­dency re­quires some­one with a “clear vi­sion” about the chal­lenges that the coun­try faces, Gi­u­liani told a room packed with television cam­eras. It re­quires a per­son with “will” and “per­se­ver­ance” to get things ac­com­plished for the coun­try, said the for­mer New York mayor.

“Ob­vi­ously, I thought I was that per­son,” Gi­u­liani joked. “The vot­ers made a dif­fer­ent choice.”

And then, Gi­u­liani spoke the words that should warm McCain’s heart and help fill his cam­paign cof­fers.

“John McCain is the most qual­i­fied can­di­date to be the next com­man­der in chief of the United States,” Gi­u­liani said, mo­ments af­ter of­fi­cially with­draw­ing. “He is an Amer­i­can hero, and Amer­ica could use he­roes in the White House. He is a man of honor and in­tegrity, and you can un­der­line both ‘honor’ and ‘in­tegrity.’ ”

When it was McCain’s turn to talk, he said he ac­cepted the en­dorse­ment with honor, and he talked about Gi­u­liani’s role in help­ing New York City re­cover af­ter the ter­ror­ist at­tacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But then McCain told re­porters what he said is his fa­vorite anec­dote.

It was shortly af­ter the at­tacks, when he in­vited Gi­u­liani to the World Se­ries in Phoenix be­tween the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs and the New York Yan­kees. Soon, Gi­u­liani’s face was shown on the big screen in the sta­dium.

“Ev­ery one of those fans stood and ap­plauded and cheered and cheered and cheered, be­cause this man is an Amer­i­can hero,” McCain said.

In the fight against ter­ror­ism, McCain said, “my strong right arm, my part­ner, my friend in this ef­fort will be the for­mer mayor of New York City, an Amer­i­can hero, Rudy Gi­u­liani.”

McCain and Gi­u­liani have had sev­eral private din­ners in New York and Phoenix since and seem to share a gen­uine warmth. In an in­ter­view, McCain de­scribed them as not “close friends,” but friends.

McCain ac­cepted Gi­u­liani’s en­dorse­ment less than two hours be­fore he took the stage for a fi­nal de­bate as the race ac­cel­er­ates into a 21-state sprint with the can­di­dates court­ing tens of mil­lions of vot­ers who will cast bal­lots on Feb. 5.

Gi­u­liani promised to cam­paign vig­or­ously for McCain, who will travel to Cal­i­for­nia, Mis­souri, Illi­nois, Ten­nessee, Alabama, Ge­or­gia, Con­necti­cut, New York and Mas­sachusetts over the next four days.

Ever the su­per­sti­tious politi­cian, McCain told re­porters ear­lier in the morn­ing that he was “try­ing not to” think of him­self as the GOP front-run­ner, de­spite win­ning the Florida pri­mary yes­ter­day.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go,” the sen­a­tor told re­porters who gath­ered around him af­ter he boarded a char­ter plane in Florida headed for Bur­bank, Calif. He de­clined to of­fer an in­stant anal­y­sis of how he man­aged to beat for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor Mitt Rom­ney.

“I was sur­prised by the mar­gin of our vic­tory,” he said.

BY LM OTERO — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani hugs for­mer foe John McCain af­ter an­nounc­ing the en­dorse­ment.

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