McCain to host possible VPs; Bush visits Tuesday - East Valley Tribune: News

McCain to host possible VPs; Bush visits Tuesday

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Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 4:40 pm | Updated: 9:33 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

CLEVELAND - The Memorial Day guest list at Sen. John McCain's Arizona home runs to at least three Republicans mentioned as vice presidential running mates, but a top aide said Wednesday that vetting possible veeps is not on the agenda.

"It's purely social," said Mark Salter, a senior adviser to McCain.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were all invited to a Memorial Day gathering at the senator's home in Sedona, Ariz. Also, President George W. Bush will be in Phoenix Tuesday for a McCain fundraiser.

Romney ran for the Republican presidential nomination in last winter's primaries, but dropped out months ago and has endorsed McCain.

Ten couples in all were invited. McCain often hosts friends and political acquaintances at his compound.

McCain said more than a month ago that he was in the "embryonic stages" of selecting a running mate for the fall campaign, but neither he nor aides have disclosed additional information in the weeks since.

It will be the first visit to Sedona for all three.

Romney dropped out of the race in February after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. He endorsed the Arizona senator a week later and pledged to help him win the nomination.

Since then, McCain has praised Romney repeatedly as someone who is certain to continue playing a large role in the GOP. Romney, for his part, has suggested that he'd accept a vice presidential slot, though some Republicans privately speculate that he's looking ahead to a possible repeat run in 2012.

Neither man appeared especially fond of the other during the campaign. Romney cast McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who contributed to the problems there. McCain, in turn, argued that Romney's equivocations and reversals on issues indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.

Crist, 51, provided a major boost to McCain prior to Florida's Jan. 29 primary with a well-timed endorsement.

Elected governor in 2006, Crist has been seen as a moderate Republican. He has championed efforts to curb climate change, and was praised by former President Clinton for his efforts to restore voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences.

He also pushed for a law that requires a paper trail in state elections, a measure that bans the electronic voting machines his predecessor, Gov. Jeb Bush, sought after the 2000 presidential election. That election ended in a hotly contested recount, which President Bush won by 537 votes.

Jindal, 36, son of Indian immigrants, was elected governor of Louisiana in October 2007. He had served as secretary of the state health department.

Among other guests expected were Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., close confidantes of McCain.

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