(CNN) – John McCain, on the last leg of a week-long tour of economically struggling areas throughout the country, is in Mike Huckabee’s home town of Little Rock, Arkansas, Friday campaigning alongside his former rival.
The former Baptist minister dropped out of the GOP presidential primary race on March 4, after McCain swept contests in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island, giving the Arizona senator the delegates needed to claim the party's nomination in September.
The duo will visit a fundraiser, a barbecue joint, and a Baptist college event, and hold a media availability together.
Political pundits have long placed the former Arkansas governor on McCain’s likely vice presidential short list, and today’s stop is likely to fuel still more speculation.
Huckabee still harbors presidential hopes of his own – he recently said he would consider another White House run in 2012, depending on the circumstances. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that he will publish a book two weeks after the November general election, detailing his failed run for the White House and his views on the future of the Republican Party. Last week, the former governor launched HuckPAC, a political action committee that will promote those views and financially support candidates who share them.
Thursday night in Baton Rouge, McCain continued his criticism of the Bush administration over its handling of Hurricane Katrina, dubbing its response to the storm “a series of failures that shook of the confidence of Americans in their government as much as any event in recent memory” and telling a group of business leaders that “the incompetence of leadership didn't end with the rescue efforts.”
“With many thousands of lives in the balance, across 90,000 square miles of misery, there was a failure of foresight, a failure of planning, a failure in execution and a failure in follow-up,” he said, praising the state’s new governor, Bobby Jindal, for sharing that assessment. Jindal has also been mentioned as a likely entry on the presumptive Republican nominee’s vice presidential short list.