July 2nd, 2008
02:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Cafferty: How should McCain deal with Bush’s negatives?

Many Americans are worried that a John McCain presidency would be just like another term of George Bush.

Two thirds of Americans are concerned that McCain would pursue policies too similar to President Bush according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. 49 percent say they are "very concerned."

This creates a real dilemma for McCain. The conservative Republican base is less than thrilled with McCain as the GOP nominee. And that's where the few remaining people who think President Bush is doing a good job reside.

McCain can't separate himself too much from Mr. Bush or conservative Republicans will tell him to take a hike. But if he doesn't separate from Bush, he's going to have trouble attracting those voters who think President Bush is the worst thing to happen to this country in a good long while. And there are lots of those.

A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll focuses on President Bush's disapproval rating and the unprecedented role it could play in the campaign. None of this is good news for McCain.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here

Filed under: The Cafferty File
soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. Carl Justus

    McCain gets more like Bush every day. Bush is the biggest liar that ever was elected president and McCain is adopting his method of dealing with the public.
    Eight years ago McCain started out to be his own man and then went to South Carolina to campaign and Bush's campaign called McCain everything but a white man and McCain seem to believe it for he has not been worth a dime since.
    Instead of going after Bush and his campaign staff, McCain seem to just think everyone would forget about and you see the thumping he took after South Carolina. McCain acted like no one would believe the crap that Bush and his campaign staff said about him and just sort of shrugged it off and acted like a kid with hurt feelings. Will if that is the way he will act when a foreign country comes after him, I do not want him in the Whitehouse.
    Bush and his campaign used the same tactics against McCain that Bush" Dad used against his rival during the 1988 campaign.
    The Bush's will do all they can to get what they want and always have. They have money, power, and ties to many rich and powerful people in this country who run powerful corporations.

    July 2, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Obama Supporter from FL

    He should give up. Hopefully he can also do away with calling me (and everyone else) his friends...

    July 2, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Beverly

    What's with McCain's face?!?

    July 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Rena

    How can he put them away? He can't if he is using Bush ammo to run his campaign. He just put Schmidt in charge. Please!!!! Dirty people with dirty tricks. He is Bush!! I am a military spouse and I am tired of the Republicans trashy policies.

    July 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Julie

    He should truthfully draw how he sees the distinction. People want honesty, so tell us how you are not McSame. Convince us with your concrete foreign and domestic proposals. Wow us with the difference. Be your old Maverick McCain, stand up for your values with in the Republican Party and damm the conservatives if need be. You'll draw in more of we democrats worried that Obama just is too young, too much of a spender in times of economic crises, and lacks foreign policy experience of all sorts.

    You need to answer this yourself, McCain. Turn inward, see your belief's to help this country as it weeps on all fronts, and quite simply, lead us out of our desert. We are thirsty for your leadership.

    July 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Nice shiny new plane from the trophy wife, dude! Wish I could afford to fly my family to a nice vacation destination...

    July 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. PDM

    Looks like a Bush, sounds like a Bush, acts like a Bush...Must be a Bush, Jack!

    PDM, NC

    July 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Paul

    Ok Mr. McCain we get it, Your a war hero. NOW CAN WE GET TO THE ISSUES? Since 9/11 the country has been safe not just because George Bush served his country, If that's what you want to call it? It's because of our men and women home and abroad defending it. McCain wants nothing but to hold his chin up to the middle east and say "You want a war I'll give you a war". Obama and his administration will turn this countries economy around and keep it safe at the same time. ENOUGH ABOUT YOUR WAR RECORD..

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Gary

    McSAME has a voting record that is 95% in lock step with the Bush administration over the last 8 years.


    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    McCain can distance himself from Bush by firing his campaign staff, changing all his policies AGAIN, giving himself a total lobatomy and then FLOPPING back to the John McCain of 2000 (you know, the one that actually had a conviction to his causes).

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Lzamora NJ

    well, jack, his whole campaing is being runned by all the bush's croonies, in order for maccain to win, he has to leave the party and become an independant. There is no way that you can make a difference between the "guy "we have in the white house and this Gentlemen.

    look at the policies and ideas they are the same with a few exceptions in order to catch the undecided, nothing more...the republican party (croonies) run the white house right now and they will be doing it if Maccain wins. in other words the Maccain is the puppet of the Republican party.
    I think Maccain wants to fly. but the republicans have cut his wins.

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Parksy

    It already started last week. McCain's cronies have said that another terrorist attack is likely soon. This, no doubt is intended to scare the undecided into McCain's corner.

    That's only the begining. That tact will be repeated over and over again in the coming months.

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Rick FL

    Unfortunately, there is not much McCain can do at this point. He has entrenched himself into many of Bush's policies, even the ones he may not have agreed with previously (tax cuts for the wealthy, torture, agents of intolerance, etc.)

    Additionally, McCain's campaign is filled with Bush affiliates and lobbyist, such as Charlie Black, Bud Day, Steve Schmidt, and "indirectly" Karl Rove.

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Left Coast Mike, Laguna Niguel, CA

    He has already surrounded himself with closet racists, smarmy-mouthed punks who just feed lies to their spokespeople at Fox News, gutless cowards who smeared his "friend" John Kerry, and General (GENERAL, you idiots!) Wes Clark, and religious fanatics who want to trash the Constitution and turn this country into another fundamentalist theocracy, ala George Bush. He's going to be crushed by a colation of Americans who want to save their chidren from endless war, from endless destruction of the environment by drilling for a "fossil" fuel, and who want the jobs of the 21st century. This guy is out of touch, changes his position on every every issue almost every day, or just avoides them altogether.

    July 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Carl from MI

    Have Darth (Charlie) Black hire all the terrorists as their stormtroopers, build a Deathstar, and declare all Democrats to be Jedi's that need to be executed. Bush can stay on as his 'Count Dooku' and Rove can be 'Jar Jar Binks'. With a lineup like that... not only will he win the election, but can also take over the universe.

    July 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Scott - Mountain View, CA.

    I'm an Obama supporter Jack, but I do respect John McCain's former maverick political style and the Vietnam war time sacrifices that he made for our country. He truly is a hero who deserves our respect, but that doesn't necessarily make him the best choice for President. Especially because of his political flip flopping over the last 5 years.

    With issues like border protection, campaign finance, tax cuts, and others we have seen John McCain either back peddle or turn a complete 180 to where he used to stand. Why? Because he feels he needs the voice and support of Conservatives behind him in order to win this election and I think its a mistake.

    The fact remains that John McCain has completely changed a number of his political stances over the past 3-5 years and this is why he's in the predicament that he's in. McCain needs to completely severe his ties with Bush and the Bush Administration and attempt to grasp the political stances with which he believed in the 2000 election.

    His reluctance to severe his ties with George Bush (and the Conservatives) and to grasp his former political stance on the issues mentioned above is exactly what is going to lose him the Whitehouse and what is presently l=killing him in the polls.

    July 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. ron

    he just as to keep explaining what he will do and how he will do it eventually the voter will demand that obama do the same which will be hard to do as is platform is to spend, spend, spend and to pay for it he will tax, tax, tax the major and minor companies and the not, affluent but wealthy people who generate thousands of jobs with their investments. net results job loss, companies moving offshore, small companies going out of business. smart move when we are near a recesion.taking the troops out of Iraq will save what? is he going to stop paying them when they come home. we won't need an army no more? and what about all those munition and arms plants our forces use shut them down too. how much is it going to cost to send those troops back when al-qaeda comes back or to send them elsewhere that they are needed? like always obama talks but doesn't think and unfortunately neither do is supporters

    July 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Greg form Mechanicsburg PA

    McCain can't spearate himeself from Bush, et al. By appointing Steve Schmidt to take over day to day operations of his campaign he digs himself deeper into the Bush camp. Mr. Schmidt is a spokesman for Dick Cheney. It is just too late for McCain to separate himself from Bush. For much of Bush’s last term as President, McCain has been a stalwart supporter of the Bush agenda and has adopted many of the same policies in order to keep his Republican base. It is indeed unfortunate for McCain that he chose this path instead of remaining true to the maverick ideals that I hope are still there hidden beneath his Republican, hard-line façade.

    July 2, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. Mauri

    Anyone who is familiar with long-time politics knows that this separation can be handled positively in McCain's case. But he has to come right out and address where he and Bush agrees, and where they disagree. Called by any other name, this won't work. After all - that's what Obama is doing. He's copying several of Bush's programs, the latest of which is the faith-based initiative. Obama is also putting on certain vestments of Clinton's administration, and he doesn't mind saying what those programs are.

    John McCain can do this - under the right circumstances. But they must be spelled out with clarity. Because McCain and President Bush are so remarkably different, even in their same approach on any given subject, McCain can handle this deftly, and he shouldn't wait.

    I also think that he should announce his VP running mate choice soon. That person should be articulate, appealing to the public, and someone who is an icon and authority in one or more of McCain policies - be it economics, the war, terrorism and yes, a faith-based idealog. This man should be appealing to world-wide heads of state, attractive personally as well as of family. This person should not be afraid of taking on the opposition in a mature but effective manner. Above all, he must really appreciate all of McCain's unique characteristics, both personally and political, and not be afraid to tout them. Come to think of it - this description sounds an awfully lot like Mitt Romney. Well, whadaya' know!

    July 2, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Republican for change

    Apologize on behalf of the GOP for sending our country into the poor house.

    Prosecute Cheney and Rove for their crimes against Valerie Plame.

    Powerslam Bush in the rose garden.

    Retreat to the Senate.

    P.S. Should be pretty easy since there are all Republican values

    July 2, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Dems be dopes

    Welcome to the circus....

    The Dems have controlled Congress since 2006, have an 18% approval rating which is lower that Bush.

    Gas by the way was $2.00 less agallon when the Dems took over.

    What have they accopmlished?

    Anyone that thinks Dean, Pelosi and Reid are poor, please raise your hands.

    Most of the comments on here really belong on American Idol.

    Neither would be my first choice for CIC.

    July 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Spades are Spades

    Perhaps McSame could try renaming his campaign jet 'The Straight Jacket Express'....then he could be seen as REALLy telling it like it is!

    July 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. John from Arizona

    McCain can do whatever he wants, but shaking up his campaign won't help. Nothing will help. I've lived in Arizona a long time, and you do NOT want McCain to be President. It would be four more years of Bush-like shenanigans.


    July 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Joseph Adewole

    How can fish disown water; George and McCain are one inseparatable elements.
    Everything you reffer to as George's 'nagatives' are infact what John McCain hope to continue if he is elected; God forbid bad thing; he isn't good for America

    July 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Rick Maryville TN

    As well he should be, he will need his vote in November....

    July 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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