July 2nd, 2008
02:01 PM ET

How should McCain deal with Pres. Bush’s negative numbers?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

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. The survey puts the president's disapproval rating at 67% among older voters, 71% among women and a whopping 75% among independents.

These are all groups McCain desperately needs to have any kind of a chance. One Republican pollster points out that in order for McCain to be elected president, at least one-third of McCain's votes will have to come from people who disapprove of the job President Bush is doing – most of them independents.

Here’s my question to you: How should John McCain handle the problem caused by President Bush’s huge negative numbers?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ally from Toronto writes:
McCain should throw Bush under the bus while winking at the conservative base. The conservative base has to understand that McCain must exhaust all options in order to secure a win, just as Bush did in the 2000 primaries.

Luke writes:
He should just stop fighting it; he will never convince anyone that he is not totally in-line with George Bush. He should just go ahead get it over with and pick Cheney as his V.P. Nobody is buying the straight talk act any longer.

Paul from Muncie, Indiana writes:
His only hope is to wait for the Democrats to screw up the election. They always do.

Anthony writes:
McCain should embrace Bush's negative numbers as his own. He should continue to support the president’s policies because this will help seal his own pathetic fate in November. He should think about his health and his age, call it a day and retire with some dignity instead of with none as a loser with Bush in November.

Bruce writes:
Call for Bush's impeachment, simple.

Lene writes:
My guess is he is going to flip-flop on the issues according to whom he is addressing at any given time. If he is trying to appeal to Democrats, he will say bad things about Bush. If they are Republicans, he will put Bush in a good light.

Kenny writes:
By running a campaign abroad he may find some small country that will allow him to practice being their president and then maybe in 24 years he will be ready to try again. Maybe by then people will have forgotten Bush.

JW from Georgia writes:
In the world of poker, Bush is a pair of deuces in a game where McCain must have a full house to even call the current bet. My guess is, McCain will have to bluff.

Filed under: John McCain • President George Bush
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. Mickie in Philadelphia, PA

    He should just concede to Obama.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  2. Joe in DE

    Abandon the Bush policies he supports.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  3. Ed Reed

    President Bush is unpopular primarily because of Iraq. McCain was a proponent of this war in the beginning and continues to be one of it's staunchest supporters and that is why he will be unable to divorce himself from this President.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    July 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Linda in Virginia

    He should keep campaigning out of the United States, that would certainly help Jack. If he just stays out of sight and quits talking that could help too. Oh Jack, he needs to keep his foot out of his mouth, that would give a much better impression. Who said Bush is his worse negative? He's doing pretty good on his own.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  5. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    There is only one way and that is to change political parties and change his own policies to coincide with what the majority of the people want and need. If that is out of the question for him then about all he can do is keep trying to scare everyone into voting for him.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  6. robert-New Jersey

    I think sometime ago,He said that he agreed with pretty much of everything that was done by the president,so in a way I guess he has to share in kind.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  7. Tom in New Hope, MN

    He needs to change his policies or his numbers will be the same.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  8. Quentin, NYC

    Distance is key. That includes distance on the issues, which he is not doing.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Hope, Birmingham, Alabama

    He has to distance himself from Bush and the politics of this administration. McCain obviously agrees on ideology with Bush–he is Republican, after all–but he must show that he does not agree with the application of this ideology. It won't be hard, given that the public cannot see the differences in their support of Iraq or the solution to the oil crisis. If he can distance himself, Bush's negative numbers won't affect him too much. But if he directly confronts the problem it will look like he supports Bush too much and it's not a popular thing to support Bush.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  10. BOB in Michigan

    Pat Buchanan and orher pundits say McSame should irgore Bush and all he stands for. So why did McSame just hire a Bush Cheney political strategist? No matter how many times McSame says "Read my lips I'm different from George Bush" it just doesn't ring true.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  11. Bill F

    He needs to publically stand against something Bush does. It needs to be something other Republicans would be willing to follow McCain on. In short, the party has to throw Bush under the bus. They need to possibly take up the possibility of war in Iran and stand against it on the grounds that they are already spread thing in Iraq and Afghanistan and that the war in Iraq should not have been waged. He can stay strong on sticking it out in Iraq and coming home winners, but say he's against that same route in Iran. This will tone down some of the fears of him being a loose cannon with the red button and show he is NOT Bush.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  12. David, Orlando, FL

    The only way he can do this is to put a firewall between him and Bush. Then he must announce that any former similarity between his Bush policy and his, such as staying in Iraq, were the result of a “senior moment” and he has come to his senses now. Then he must lay out his plans to get out of Iraq, finish the job in Afghanistan, bring Bush, Cheney, Rove etc. up on war crimes charges and treason, plus several other criminal acts. After that he will have to vow to find some expert to advise him on the economic matters he is so ignorant of. Then he has to aknowledge that there is a health care crisis for many people and that he will find someone to fix that too. Etc. You get the picture.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  13. Dick B

    Let's see if half the people in the country don't vote and one third of those who do are Republicans that would give McCain 17% of the people. If he got one third of the Independents who vote that would give him 23%. Add in 3% of Hillary's voters who think Obama was not nice to her and that gives McCain 26% – enough to get elected. So all McCain has to do is hold the Bushies, capture 1/6 of all Independents and a get couple of mad mature women votes to win.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  14. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Is there really anything that McCain can do about Bush's negative ratings that would speak well for him? The GOP events under the leadership of George W Bush have gone seriously awry and nothing can undo that.
    If McCain changes his positions so that more Americans will find him attractive, he would create a new problem by showing himself as an inconsistent leader.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  15. Terry in Hanover County

    By not hiring or using anyone employed by or formerly employed by Cheney, Rove, or Bush. Doh! Too late.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  16. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    When he finally goes back to his day job in the Senate after the November election, he won't need to worry about them. Until then, pray a lot and give 10 people a day a job that pays well to work on his staff. I saw an interview of his today in Colombia and he was asked about the job loss situation and his response was pathetic.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  17. Judie

    Welcome back!
    President Bush's negative numbers are directly reflected onto John McCain as he is seen as running for Bushs' third term. What can he do anyway, he cannot change the past and his vision for the future is some how just another promise of 4 more years of the last 7.. This does not bode well for him in the general election.

    St. Augustine, Fl

    July 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  18. McCain WIN'S!

    my mother never had a problem telling me to shut up when i was talking trash as a child; maybe i'll send her his way!

    July 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  19. Annie, Atlanta

    That's going to be difficult seeing as how he has voted 95% of the time with Bush. That's not exactly the definition of a "Maverick."

    July 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Mark Challis

    He should continue to embrace the President's policy. He wants to keep troops in Iraq for 100 years and attack Iran. That is just what President Bush wants to do. He should keep voting for the tax cuts for the wealthy. Cindy had to pay $1.7 million on $6 million of income last year. How will they make it on only $4.7 million? McCain offers no new vision or direction for our country. He actually scares me more than W.

    West Des Moines, IA

    July 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  21. Lene'

    My guess is he is going to flip flop the issues according to who he is addressing at any given time. If he is trying to appeal to Democrats, he will say bad things about Bush, if they are Republicans he will put Bush in a good light.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  22. George, Levittown, New York

    McCain needs to keep making election campaign trips to Colombia. The more he does, the more his own negative numbers will continue to climb among the American people. Soon, his negatives will eclipse Bush's.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Patricia F Upstate NY

    Become a Democrat.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  24. Lewis

    If we would have nominated John McCain 8 years ago, like we should have, we would not have this problem. As more and more people realize that Senator McCain is not "McSame" as liberal blogs have made him out to be, and as Senator Obama gets cornered on issues that as so far he has managed to weasle his way out of, such as...

    gun control- he is in favor of limiting the number of gun purchases and the elimination of semi-automatic weapons...

    socialized medical care – If the government was able to screw up social security, why on god's green earth would we want them to make decisions for us on our medical care...

    energy – why can't we drill of the coast, and why can't we build more nuclear plants, like Europe has, and finally why can't we have a new battery like Senator McCain suggested and has tried to be a proponent of...

    ...if they can get REAL answers to those questions, instead of politics as usual, then the McCain camp will care less what President Bush's numbers look like.

    Gilmore, Oklahoma

    July 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  25. Darlene - PA

    He should drop out of the race. No matter how many lies he tells or pandaring he does he is still going to continue with the republican agenda and keep this country stuck in the quagmire it's in. He owes too many people too many favors to do any differently, that is why he was so bitter about Obama refusing the federal campaign money because he knew he couldn't.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  26. Pat in MD

    Jack – He should vote Democrat in the next Presidential Election.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  27. Jed in Redding, CA

    Frankly I'd like a picture of McCain hugging Bush on the evening news every night from now til the election.

    But if I must play devil's advocate ... (smile)

    McCain needs to let Bush campaign for him where he's popular. Remember: 25-30% of Americans still think George W. Bush is the bee's knees and some of them aren't in the McCain column - yet. Many are concentrated in places like Texas and Georgia which would normally be off the table but McCain is ahead only by single digits thanks to Bob Barr and Ron Paul. At very least Bush can help with fundraising in those areas.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  28. Greg ...Cabot AR

    For the first 6 years of the Bush administration, John McCain enjoyed the advantage of the Republican majority in the Senate, the U.S. House with a Republican president. The republicans got everything they wanted in the way of legislation and anyone that opposed them was labeled as radical liberals, Un-American or terrorist sympathizers.

    In 2006, McCain and his cronies lost the majority in both houses and obstructed every change the Democrats tried to make. As a result, our country continued along the same path with Bush doing the “deciding”.

    McCain needs to step up and take some of the responsibly for the mess we are in and how …”HE”… plans to change direction and fix things.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  29. J.D. in NH

    I think McCain should keep Mr. Bush in a permanent bear hug until the election. I am, of course, rooting for Obama.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  30. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: McCain doesn't have to deal with Bush's negative numbers. The law of science says that two negatives always repel each other and the greater the distance between them the less repelling occurrs.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  31. Mary CT

    McCain should say "I condemn [fill in the blank with Bush hot topic of the day] and it by no means reflects my beliefs"...this seems to work PERFECTLY for Obama every single time...it's like magic!

    July 2, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  32. Jenny Rome Ga


    He should keep Little George as far away from his as possible.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  33. Katiec Pekin, IL

    By McCain supporting Bush's policies 95% do not know how he
    can disassociate himself from Bush. Bush is unpopular because of the unjustified war. McCain supports the war.
    The cost of the war and the highest deficit ever has almost destroyed
    our economy. McCain supported bills and spending that has
    created this.
    The list could go on and on, they are two peas in a pod, just
    don't understand why the negative numbers have not been
    applied to McCain...yet.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  34. Dante

    Hi Jack.It was abit boring yesterday because you weren´t there.
    As to your question,McCain shouldn´t anything because it´d amount
    to nothing.He SHALL not be president.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  35. anthony

    McCain should embrace Bush's negative numbers as his own. He should continue to support the Presidents policies , because this will help seal his own pathetic fate in November. He should think about his health & his age, call it a day and retire with some dignity instead of none as a loser with Bush in November.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  36. Dave in Saint Louis

    Emphasize the differences with Rumsfeld and Cheney. Talk about the surge in Iraq that John McCain pushed for and we can say with certain is working today. Also enthusiastically congratulate President Bush for keeping us safe since 9/11. We are the biggest target in the world and we have not been touched since. He must be doing something right Jack!

    July 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  37. Casey in CA

    Since McCain is Bush's Third Term, he'll just have to read'em and weep.

    Come'on... say it with me, America: No Bush Third Term!

    Casey in California

    July 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  38. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    What the heck is wrong with what he HAS been doing..?.... Waffling his way between sides to suit his audience.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  39. Ted Beaverton, OR

    Senator McCain has two choices.
    My friends, since it seems on a daily basis he has been looking more and more like Bush. Therefore:
    1) the Senator could either cry a lot, or
    2) he could offer some consoling words to Bush telling him that if he wins, nothing will change and the Bush library coloring books have really been a good investment.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  40. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    He should, of course, blame the negative numbers on the ignorance of the American people, just as he had based his entire campaign on the ignorance of the American people. His claims of expertise in foreigh and military affairs is based solely upon the ignorance of the people – anyone who had read a history book or bothered to watch the news over the last few years KNOWS that his experience in foreign and military affairs is all negative. His mistakes and missteps account for his entire experience; yet he loudly proclaims that he is the only person qualified to fix the errors! (I guess bad experience is good?).

    McCain will, of course, tell America that the negative numbers on Iraq are someone else's fault, that the people just don't understand that he – McCain – has done good stuff all along supporting this cacameemee administration despite the obvious failures. My God, Jack, it is so simple: McCain helped cause all those negative numbers!

    July 2, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  41. ira.

    John McClaim can not distance himelf unless he promies to hold people in the Bush adminitration accountable by using the power of the Presiency to exact due jutice against those who have contributed to the demise of this countries pretige, trust and economic spiral downward into a third world status. Doing this will endear him to thoe who actually want the Republican party to stand for it doctrine. Young people will accept nothing less.

    Ira – Harrisburg, Pa.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  42. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    In the tradition of Lou "The Great" Dobbs, claim to be an independent!
    Failing that, blame it all on Hillary.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  43. gary lee, san luis obispo, ca.

    what would you suggest he do. abandon the basic conservative stance, BS!. many of bushes policies are simply that, typicaly republican. i.e, you give tax incentive to the businesses who create the vest majority of well pating jobs. you do not tie their hands and take their profits, that is assinign. you try to find a happy medium.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  44. Mary - California

    If McCain had his own agenda on all critical issues that were not the same as the Bush regime, he probably would be able to combat the negative image of the Republican party. McCain should break away from Bush's ways altogether.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  45. Dr. Ken

    It's real simple, Jack: As long as McCain has the same positions as Bush, he faces the problem of being Bush III. People are fed up with Bush's policies, and if McCain continues those failed policies, he will fail in his bid for the White House. Contrary to what you news folks say, most of us in the US do NOT want to abruptly pull out of Iraq. What we DO want is a plan for success, which by definition includes a sensible withdrawal. Neither Bush nor McCain have given us that.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  46. Stacy from Loudoun County, VA

    Jack, in all reality he should just continue to tout his independent record and speak as a moderate. Senator McCain has enough “Congressional Cred” to show that he is different from the Neocons that hijacked the Republican Party eight years ago. Therefore, be more like McCain 2000 and make the Straight Talk Express stay clear of the hot air highway.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  47. Tom in Tulsa

    McCain shouldn't even try to distance himself from Bush's bad ratings. It is useless to try. The Dems will never stop tagging him as Bush's third term and he'll never be able to shake it. Instead, he should use some of the tried and true tactics that Rove and Cheney have used so successfully; you know, the ones like how "we're turning the corner in Iraq" and how the "economy is strong despite recent indicators." Then he can tell us how wonderful it will be when democracy breaks out all across the middle east and how safe America is now that Saddam is gone and how Bin Laden is going to pay for his crimes. Then if that fails, he can get Cheney to assure everyone that if Obama wins, the terrorist will attack. If the voters fell for it before, they can certainly fall for it again.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  48. Sophia

    There is nothing he can do. He needs Bush for the money he can raise from special interest groups and the support he provides from the right wing of the party.

    It will be interesting to see how he handles the "Bush problem" at the Republican convention. A good question for a future program: What are the odds on Bush and McCain appearing on the platform at the same time ?

    July 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  49. John Minnesota

    He can't he is president Bush. remember McCain = Bush = Lame Duck.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  50. Greg form Mechanicsburg PA

    It is 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 at 2:54 pm |
  51. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    Since I do not want McCain to win there is no reason I should try to figure out a way for him to avoid the complete catastrophy that is Bush. I want McCain to go down in flames again.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  52. Rob Canada

    He can't seperate himself Jack. Today is perfect example as his campaign has added more Bush/Cheney people. The longer this thing goes the more his campaign will resemble Bush and all the negativity that will comes with it. The 'maverick' vanished from the radar some time ago.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  53. Squier

    Stop hugging and kissing, that might help. McCain is roped around Bush’s neck and will have to hang with those huge negative numbers.

    El Paso, Texas

    July 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  54. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Run, run, run as fast as he can.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  55. John Minnesota

    All he can do is retire and go hunting with Bush and cheny with caution.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  56. Mark - Asheville, NC

    The easy answer is that he must distance himself as much as possible from GWB.

    But look – McCain is doing very well as it is. The Dem nominee this year, in this economic mess, should be 30 points ahead of the Republican, but they are apparently tied, and if you figure in the Bradley Effect, McCain is probably ahead! This indicates that the DNC appointed the weakest nominee they could possibly find (just as they did in 1988 and 2004), and McCain will prevail in November, regardless of Bush's numbers. Any other Dem nominee would landslide; McCain is incredibly lucky!

    July 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  57. Foley in Idaho

    Adopt Barak's get out of Iraq as fast as we can Motto. Aside from that, I'd just prefer he keep going the way he's going because I want him to lose anyway.

    More power to you McSame; stay the course. It's working so well for Bush.

    July 2, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  58. Judy

    All he needs to do is ask the American voters what they want.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  59. Dan, Chantilly VA

    And yet, despite all of that, he's only percentage points behind Obama. So much for nominating the strongest candidate.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  60. Jed in Texas

    He should take two a nap and wake him in the spring.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  61. Paul, Columbia, SC

    John McCain needs to keeps Bush at arms length and politely avoid any contact Then he should hire Ross Perot's speech writers and graph makers. Then go after the empty policies, promises, and strategies of the self-appointed agent of "change" relentlessly.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  62. Less Austin, Texas

    There are too many negative numbers for McCain to grasp. McCain failed to recognize that the American's 'lost hopes' are a little too real.

    Knowing the reputation Bush has with the American people, McCain's very first impressions were buddy-buddy with Bush. McCain shouldn't have been seen anywhere next to Bush. A lot of people had put 2 and 2 together. The images and the thoughts of Bush's destructive accomplishments are stuck within those negative numbers.

    Sorry to say, too late.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  63. Ellie in Aurora

    First, he has to fire all of his existing campaign staff because they are all up to their eyeballs in Bush policy. Then he would have to basically have a head transplant, because I honestly believe he is so tied into the current status quo that he cannot think differently. Third, take speaking lessons. (How can someone who has been in public service for so long be this bad at speaking?). And fourth, send Lieberman on the next Mars mission.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  64. Helen

    MCwar should move to Canada our South America. It seems free trade is more important to him than the concern for the american people.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  65. Jerry -Roselle, Illinois

    If John McCain wants to be elected he should have his
    picture taken more often standing next to Joe Lieberman.
    I f that doesn't frighten the country nothing will!

    July 2, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  66. Paul

    He needs to go back to the John McCain he was when he ran against
    Bush. He is not the same John McCain he was then. Will the real John McCain standup please.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  67. Naomi, Texas

    Former Bush campaign big shot now playing a big role in McCain's campaign is certainly not a good sign of distancing himself from President Bush. Indeed the McCain campaign is in need of revamping but as a politician I would have rather given the new big guy in the campaign an advisory role. Dejavu of any kind linked to Bush is a big no-no for Mr. McCain.

    Oh, BTW I am a democrat feeling really bad for McCain's failing strategies.

    Naomi, Plano, TX

    July 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  68. Gil So.Cal

    Hell Jack. they are old pals.You just can,t walk away from a friend..

    July 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  69. Tom in Desoto Texas

    It seems to me it would be difficult to deny the other half of the conjoined twin after the operation and say the other half was always on the wrong path.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  70. James, IA

    I don't think McBush WOULD distance himself from the current administration. He spoke out against it once and turned his opinon around almost over night. This tells me he's not really his own person on some levels.

    I'd love to rant on about conspiracy theories, but the truth is I don't think ANYONE who wants this job is sane or qualified for it. I don't think anyone can be qualified for it and I doubt anyone sane would want the job. So it's really a matter of what sort of crazy you prefer I guess.

    I don't believe what the puppets on the left or right say because historically all canidates have a terrible track record for saying one thing and doing another. And to get THIS job most people would stop at nothing, lying being the least of the problems.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  71. Alex-Georgia

    Take a u-turn immediately. Score political point by spearheading an effort to impeach Bush for gross incompetence and to arrest Cheney for treason.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  72. Iris in Saugatuck, Michigan

    If I were John McCain, I would be embracing President Bush's 67% disapproval rating. It would be a big step up from the disapproval rating of the Senate and the House, which is 83% the last time I checked.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  73. John Minnesota

    We can not have republican candidate run our country. The repubican era is over.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  74. Kerry

    Common sense would be for McCain to campaign against Bush's policies and reputation of lies, fli-flopping, out of touch, and sounding like a dumb cowboy everytime he opens his mouth...

    But, you know what? It actually sounds like what I've heard out of McCain's mouth...Good luck with that one John!

    July 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  75. Aaron

    A reporter asked McCain a while back if he worried that his support for Bush and the Iraq war might cost him voter support in his election bid. McCain answered that he'd rather lose an election than a war. Looks like he's already predicted the outcome of this contest.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  76. Dan, Maryland

    Jack, I'm not sure if such a plan exists. However, If there is such a plan out there, I can assure you the McCain campaign would pay big money to hear it because they have failed miserably so far.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  77. Lloyd, FL

    He could start where either candidate has...It's the ecomony stupid.
    We have yet to hear from either one on the #1 issue in America's mind, and NOW would be a great time to start

    July 2, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  78. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    There's nothing he can do. He would have to flip flop on so many issues, including and most importantly Iraq (which he'll never do), that he'd look like a fish out of water. His ONLY hope are things out of his control. The war in Iraq ends, the Taliban surrenders, the people in Iraq overthrow the current government, peace comes to the Middle East, and the economy turns around. The he's a shoe-in.


    July 2, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  79. Alan, Buxton, Maine

    Why, play the fear card of course. Why anyone thinks that McCain could handle a terrorist attack better than Obama is a mystery to me. McCain is so disconnected from reality that he would have to have Lieberman tell him if there was one but people seem to think he would be better at it. Perhaps being a warmonger lets him understand the mindset better.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  80. Rosalynd Florida

    McCain is going to have to grin and bare it. He is more than 3 months into his general election campaign and he has no consistent message of his own. He is hip deep in Bush policy from free tade to the war in Iraq and will loose this Presidential election .

    July 2, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  81. Nora Corpus Christi Texas

    President Bush's negative numbers are John McCains negative numbers because they are one in the same. John McCain is George Bush in much older packaging!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  82. Pugas-Az

    It's like stepping on gum,. How do you get it off? Maybe by turning your shoe right and left.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  83. Jim

    Are there any Bush positives? McCain can try to distance himself from Bush all he wants, but he can't distance himself from his party. Like the Bush brand, the Republican brand is ruined by the last 7+ years. It's not about whether or not McCain aligns with Bush, it's about whether or not he aligns with an overall conservative "movement" that has been largely exposed as false, unworkable and at odds with the values (and well-being) of the majority of Americans.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  84. Justin from NC

    Jack, he needs to give Ron Paul a three a.m. phone call, adopt all of his views and policies, and actually run as an independent that just so happens to be the Repulican nominee. Then, barring anymore bomb Iran songs or 100 years in Iraq statements, he might just have a fighting chance.

    Justin, NC

    July 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  85. Raoul, New Orleans, La.

    Since Senator McCain has reversed nearly half of his 2000 primary positions, rolling over the President shouldn't be much of a stretch. I miss the old McCain, but Senator Obama is much better than both of the McCains. There is one problem – much of the reason for the President's low numbers has to do with Iraq. You can't throw someone under the bus for something you vehemently agree with, can you?

    July 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  86. Mosha, Jefferson City, MO

    He should do nothing, because he is like Bush (the war, economy and tax cuts).

    July 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  87. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    I wouldn't tell him even though I know. The voting public has to be reminded daily no matter what they think of his military service he was on Bush's team and that's all that counts. Sure McCain wanted to punt rather pass a few timmes but he still wanted the republican way to win the game and that's what people need to remember.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  88. Ryan, Champaign IL

    He needs to embrace them. As soon as Bush invades Iran, no one will have time to notice.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  89. Carol in California

    Even if McCain does try to distance himself from Bush now by not appearing with him much in public, it's too late. In the voters' eyes, the old addage, "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush" is now "One vote for McCain is worth two for Bush".

    July 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  90. Scot - Fairfield, CA

    McCain should come up with a realistic workable plan and execute it. The problem is that this plan would probably mirror everything that Bush would do and this will alienate the voters, both Democrat and Republican.
    If McCain hadn't kept flip-flopping so much, he might be able to get himself out of this mess. At this point, I don't see the flip-flopping ending and that will be his downfall.
    Unfortunately, this is his campaign.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  91. Randy Rivas

    He should just concede the election to Obama and admit he's nothing more than a Bush clone.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  92. Saad from Ramsey, NJ

    When it's night out, can you change it to a day Jack? No you can't. Neither can McCain. Only God can and he ain't coming down for this one.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  93. Shafi Alam

    When Senator McCain visits Iraq next time, he should not show any interest in photo-op, and tell American soldiers that he has been guided by the lack of support among American voters for Iraq war, he has changed his mind, and now he appreciates Senator Barack Obama for not taking a part in previously authorizing the Iraq war. He may tell also that he has wasted his precious five years of his young part of his life in being a POW in Vietnam. In public he should sincerely regret in supporting wars after that.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  94. Vinnie Vino

    McCain and Bush are a like thinking dancing fools. He should just follow President Bush's lead of ignoring the polls and try to spin them into his advantage. If that fails to work he can hope and pray with Bush on his direct line to God for a miracle...

    C.I., New York

    July 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  95. mitchell martin,arkansaw

    he should announce his support of kucinich's attempt to have bush impeached.then he should stop supporting the great 'decider' on every issue that comes up.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  96. Jeremy D (University of Texas)

    What can he do? Anyone scared of Bush is going to take one look at Obama, one look at McCain and YOU tell me who you think they are going to be scared of being like Bush. One of the few times were being old, white, and privileged may not be the best thing politically for John McCain.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  97. Alice, Wash DC

    Say three hail Mary's and look forward to his future in the Senate.

    July 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  98. garyhallentertainment

    Clearly the american people have had enough of the republican nonsense, corruption, and downright stupidity, they have created enough problems, and the american people will have no more of their nonsense!!

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  99. J Miles

    Jack, I am sure McCain won't have any trouble keeping the same numbers as Bush. If he keeps Curly(Lindsay) and MO(Liberman) following him, He won't have to worry about numbers, they will bring him down further than Bush's numbers.

    Joe, Kentucky

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  100. Jenna Wade

    How should John McCain handle the problem caused by President Bush’s huge negative numbers?

    John McCain says "What, president Bush has huge negative numbers? Nah, that can't be so.. For gosh sakes he ran and one twice. I'm sure I can win too!"

    Hey ignorance is bliss!

    Roseville CA

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  101. John Raudoy

    When ever asked about President George Bish's policies, he should simply respond "George Who" ?


    John Raudoy
    Victoria BC.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  102. Orin

    Maybe he could ask Hillary to be his running mate!! Of course I doubt she'd agree. Short of that I think the Republicans are toast this fall. It,s time for the Democrats anyway.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  103. Derek Wayne, NJ

    By attacking Bush's policies. Oh wait, this is 2008, not 2000.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  104. Cher, California

    Like the puppet he is, McCain should keep standing by GWB and all his cronies. Then Obama will win. I appreciate McCain's service for his country but many others have done the same and have had worse outcomes than McCain in their aftermaths.
    I think McCain is to entrenched with Bush that it won't make any difference in the long run come November. He's just too old as well. We need new blood, new ideas, new leadership. McCain doesn't have it.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  105. Thomas Whatley


    McCain could appeal to a bunch of voters by selecting Hilliary as his running mate. It's obvious that there is some serious differences on policy between Hilliary and Obama as there is between McCain and Bush. Thank Heaven that there is at least two people that disagree with these other two nuts-Obama and Bush.

    Malvern, Arkansas

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  106. Nikki, Ridgefield, WA

    McCain doesn't have to worry about handling the problem of associating his policies with Bush. If it hasn't become obvious to those who are following the campaigns by now, it should be that McCain is waffling and swaying depending on who he's talking to at any given location, ethnic group, religious group, women, seniors, etc. Only problem with that is his 'positions' change (conflict) with the tide. He's doomed already.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  107. John

    It would be a good start if he can figure out the bad guys from the good guys without Libermann and others whispering the answers in his ears, and if he would reconsider vetoing the 'Beer'.

    One illiterate President in my life time is more than enough, come on!

    Los Angeles, CA

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  108. Pippie in Prunedale, CA

    I know, I know...pick me Mr. Cafferty. Senator McCain should get Hillary on the phone and ask her to keep his Senate seat warm for him. There's nothing worse than having to sit in a cold chair after getting your butt kicked in the election!!!

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  109. Tim

    Become a Democrat

    July 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  110. James Pritchard

    The only way John McCain can achieve success in this election is to repudiate the Bush era policies. He must ignore the right wingers to gain a majority of the electorate. To bask in Bush's shadow is to remove himself from contention for the Presidency. We really need a Democratic congress and a Republican President to preclude the same mischief of one party rule foisted upon the American people the last 8 years. As bad as the Republicans were, the Demorats will be no better if they achieve both Congress and the Presidency. We need checks and balances.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  111. Laura

    Nothing. Despite his "maverickness" of the 2000 primary season, is there any wonder why he has been in the Senate since the 80's as a Republican? He has been and will always be a rank and file member of the GOP. The same party is currently led by W. And nothing can separate him from that.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  112. Chris, Grand Rapids Michigan

    Do nothing. With the hiring of President Bush friends to run his campaign, how about simply dropping out?

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  113. Sandi

    I don't think McSame can do a thing about Bushes numbers. Bush got there with the support of his Republican Buddies..McSame voted 95% of the time for Bush.
    Sandi from Boise, ID
    Embarrassed constituent of Larry Craig

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  114. ron

    According to the Congressional Quarterly, McSame voted with Bush 95% of the time in 2007 and 100% of the time thus far in 2008. Given these facts, McSame has no choice but to continue trying to change the subject and hope nobody notices. His only chance is to "Swift Boat" Obama and take a page from Rove and smear Obama's character because if the election is on the real issues as it should be, McSame loses big.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  115. Randolph

    Problem? What problem? McCain doesn't know the difference between Sunni and Shia, can't come up with realistic solutions to the energy crisis and economy, can't come up with a solution to the Iraq War other than keeping troops in harms way for a hundred years, does more flip-flops on issues than any other politician in Washington, won't admit that his campaign is plagued with lobbyists and has anti-privacy and eavesdropping experts like Carly Fiorina to help get out his message which is just the same as Bush's message.

    Lexington, Kentucky

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Steven D.-Hixson,TN

    How about McCain returning to his original views on issues like taxes,torture,the environment and the war?Not to mention diplomacy.These are the issues that I was impressed to see McCain standing up and voicing an opinion on that weren't main stream republican and I believe it's what got him the nomination in the first place.It's why I was a McCain supporter early on in the primaries and the his flip-flops are why I'm an Obama supporter now.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  117. David Bruner

    With the housing slump, high gas prices, and President Bush's unpopularity, Barack Obama should be running away with the election. Instead, John McCain has pulled to within a statistical dead heat. Voters see that McCain may be the one offering real change - like a serious energy policy for the first time ever.

    David Bruner
    Scottsdale, AZ

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  118. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    The only thing Senator McCain can do is be honest about his affinity for Bush. He needs to quit hanging onto the myth that he's a maverick. He has voted to affirm President Bush's wishes 95% of the time. He's damned either way, so why not just acknowledge it as the mistake it was? Either that, or he can lead the charge to impeach Bush and Cheney. If he did that, even I might vote for him.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  119. Ron Johnsrud

    I believe McCain is doing everything he can. after all he is a token candidate. The republicans know they are going to loose no matter what so why not put up a an older war hero who has already lost the nomination once and has very little support among his own party people. He is there to save face for the republicans and that is still quite a feat.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  120. Sara

    As long as the pictures of loving hugs & kisses between Mccain & Bush are circulating in the Media, he can never separate himself from Bush. No one in their right mind will vote for Mccain who actively campaigned for Bush during 2004 Presidential camapaign of Bush. Mccain cannot be trusted with Presidency when he has an opinion that we should stay in Iraq for 100 years.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  121. The Captain

    Well Jack, It appears that he sold his soul to the neocons for what appears to be his last chance to head the republican ticket. How can he divorce himself from the present policy while ebracing it ? The American people can not afford four more years of Bush policy. If the Republicans win this time, I will be certain that the elections are rigged.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  122. Chicago Bob from Illinois

    McCain will be schizophrenic about Bush. He will hug Bush in private and play the "I am an independent" act in public.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  123. Ryne, Columbia, SC

    There is no reason to believe that John McCain cannot overcome all the bad that's been done by the current administration. Sure, he needs the support of members of the GOP that lean the farthest to the right, but there are thousands more people stuck in the middle looking to see which candidate will end up with more to offer. McCain should target as many moderates as he can, separating himself from the laughable policies of President Bush as well as staying away from the semi-socialistic agenda Obama seems to think will work.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  124. Sarge

    Just tell America what we already know – "W" stands fot "worse". The
    truth will win more voters than merely attempting to distance himself
    from Bush. He needs to cite Bush's numerous failures and tell us how
    he is different. Sadly,for Senator McCain – his rhetoric on Iraq and voting record speak otherwise.


    July 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  125. Linda in CT

    McCain should keep speaking at small town hall meetings with lots of veterans and American flags as a backdrop while telling us how important it is to WIN in IRAQ and WIN THE WAR ON TERROR,and how he know the free market will eventually solve our economic problems if we just give them mote tax cuts.Meanwhile his surrogates keep pushing single issues voters on guns,gays,and abortion.
    This way here he will remind us of what is really important to him and his base and send Obama to the White House quicker than you can say "Houston we have a lift -off"

    July 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  126. Len in Clarkston, WA

    He should stop letting the "Old School Republicans" run his campaign. I've lost all respect for this man and his ever-changing positions and directions. He has expended all his credibility as someone who could honestly head our government and lead our Nation.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  127. Vanya in Reno, NV

    McCain could start by simply admitting he may have been mislead by intelligence, and lay out a foreign policy plan that MIGHT consider a withdrawal from Iraq. However, I'm sure that the energy and economic situation will be a lot more of an immediate issue this fall. And that is something you can take to the bank, Jack; assuming they are not all closed by then.

    July 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm |