FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The good news is: Hurricane Gustav spared New Orleans a direct hit. The bad news is: it freed up President Bush to appear at the Republican Convention tonight.
President Bush won't speak in person, but will address the convention by satellite from the White House. Some Republicans were actually relieved yesterday when they found out the president – whose approval ratings are at record low levels – wouldn't be in St. Paul because of the hurricane. They did manage to get rid of Vice President Cheney, who is on an overseas trip. But they still have Joe Lieberman and Fred Thompson on tap for tonight. All is not lost. The president's speech has been shortened, which is apparently due to Gustav and a compressed convention schedule.
It's a hard sell for McCain, who's been trying to distance himself from President Bush. The White House says the president is looking forward to thanking the Republicans for all their support and to "throw his enthusiastic support" behind McCain.
Polls show 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. President Bush has been driving that train for 8 years. And John McCain has voted right along with President Bush 90% of the time.
Here’s my question to you: Does President Bush’s speaking to the Republican Convention help or hurt John McCain?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Hardly. And it will help even less when the delegates show how out of step with the country they are by giving his speech a hero's welcome. Bush is radioactive, and it's not as if there are any real differences between his administration and the policies McCain was boxed into embracing in the primaries. The nomination was a devil's bargain, and the devil is on a live feed tonight.
Diana from Houston writes:
I wouldn't have said this last week, but it will probably help McCain at this point. At least it gets the coverage off his disastrous V.P. selection.
David from Spokane, Washington writes:
It hurts McCain. As a lifelong Republican, I can tell you this and I am not alone: Gustav was looking like our savior. We wish Bush would pull a Dick Cheney and go into hiding for 4 days. Bush at the podium is like a porcupine at a balloon factory. Bad news!
Jack, I believe that Bush's speech will help McCain with the Republican base just like his choice of Governor Palin as his running mate. However, I believe it will add to the concerns of many undecided voters as well as Democratic supporters that McCain is a George Bush puppet.
Rob from Florida writes:
Jack, Bush's speech will help the campaign tremendously; that's the Obama campaign I'm referring to.
If Bush wants to help McCain, he should continue to do what he's been doing - avoiding the campaign as much as possible. Same for the convention.
I don't think Bush can hurt McCain any more then he's hurt himself.
Joan from Canada writes:
Poor Johnny. Bush will shoot him in one foot and Sarah will shoot him in the other.