- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Republican Sen. John McCain allowed a glimmer of hope yesterday for Democrats fantasizing about a bipartisan dream team to defeat President Bush.

Mr. McCain said he would consider the unorthodox step of running for vice president on the Democratic ticket — in the unlikely event he received such an offer from the presidential candidate.

“John Kerry is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years,” the Arizona senator said when pressed to squelch speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket. “Obviously, I would entertain it.”

But Mr. McCain emphasized the idea was unlikely in reality.

“It’s impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, nonprotectionist, deficit hawk,” Mr. McCain told ABC’s “Good Morning America” during an interview about illegal steroid use. “They’d have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen.”

Mr. McCain gained a reputation as a party maverick who appeals to independent voters during his 2000 race against Mr. Bush for the Republican nomination. This year, Mr. McCain has campaigned for President Bush and said he would continue to do so.

Unlike some other Republican senators, he has not railed against Mr. Kerry, a fellow Vietnam veteran.

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