Monday, April 12, 2004

Sen. John McCain, a registered Republican and former Republican presidential contender, yesterday emphatically said that he will not switch sides to become the vice presidential running mate for Democrat Sen. John Kerry.

For more than a month, political analysts, pundits and Sunday talk-show panelists have said that Democrats view Mr. McCain and Mr. Kerry as a “dream ticket.” Mr. McCain has said he cannot imagine accepting such an offer, though he would consider it — an answer that merely fueled the speculation.

So yesterday, Mr. McCain said: “no, no and no.”

In an interview, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert pointed to recent reports in the Boston Globe citing a consensus among Kerry aides that the Arizona Republican would be a bold pick. The New York Times also called Mr. McCain a choice that would guarantee a Kerry victory.

“Would you, under any circumstances, run as John Kerry’s vice president?” Mr. Russert asked.

“No, no and no. I will not leave the Republican Party. I cherish the ideals and principles of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan,” Mr. McCain said.

To quell the questions, Mr. McCain said he might start sporting a T-shirt that says “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

“I am supporting President Bush. I’ve already campaigned for him. I am his co-chairman, with Sen. Jon Kyl in Arizona, for his re-election. I believe that President Bush deserves re-election,” Mr. McCain said.

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