Monday, May 17, 2004


Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, yesterday “categorically” rejected suggestions that he run as Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s vice-presidential candidate.

Despite repeated urging from NBC’s Tim Russert, Mr. McCain said on “Meet the Press” that he would remain in the Senate.

“I’ve said categorically — categorically — I will not be vice president of the United States. I will not be a candidate, and I mean that. I’m happy in the Senate. I’d like to maintain my role. I am a loyal Republican. I am supporting President Bush’s re-election. I am campaigning for it.”

Mr. Russert cited a New York Times story Saturday in which Democrats said Mr. McCain — who vied with Mr. Bush for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination — was their ideal running mate for Mr. Kerry.

“The boilerplate in all these stories is that John McCain is angry at President Bush about 2000,” Mr. McCain said. “Look, that was four years ago. My constituents don’t want me to look back in anger. They want me to represent them. I work with President Bush on a lot of issues, and I want him re-elected.”

Mr. Russert persisted. “Senator McCain, as an American, you can stay a Republican. You can be a loyal Republican. It would be a fusion or a unity ticket. Would you contemplate it in any way, shape or form? Would you take Senator Kerry’s phone call if you knew he was calling about it?”

Mr. McCain replied: “I will always take anyone’s phone calls, but I will not, I categorically will not do it.”

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