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McCain-Kerry Dream Team Merely Fantasy

March 11, 2004|From The Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON — It was one of the shorter political flirtations in memory. But with speculation over who will be No. 2 on the Democratic presidential ticket intensifying, Sen. John McCain, a maverick Republican who took on President Bush for the White House in 2000, seemed briefly Wednesday to bat his eyelashes at John F. Kerry.

By the end of the day, McCain was animatedly swatting down some Democrats' dreams of a Kerry-McCain ticket. "I will not," he declared, "be a candidate for vice president in 2004."

But the Arizonan, whose unpredictable streak and sometimes impish humor have long kept Republicans on their toes, had fed speculation by declining at first to rule out the idea.

"John Kerry is a close friend of mine," McCain said Wednesday morning in an ABC interview. "We have been friends for years."

If the Massachusetts senator asked him to join the Democratic ticket, McCain told ABC, "Obviously, I would entertain it."

McCain went on to play down the odds that any such offer would be made, insisting there was "no scenario" in which he could imagine it happening. McCain outlined the issues on which he said he differed with Democrats: He described himself as a "pro-life, free-trading, defense and deficit hawk."

But those disclaimers were lost in the shuffle as political observers permitted themselves the fantasy of a Kerry-McCain "super ticket" that would join two Vietnam veterans.

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