Washington, Mar 6: President Bush has formally endorsed Republican Senator John McCain who secured the party nomination for 2009 presidential election, winning all four primary contests on Tuesday where as the Democratic Party is locked in a long-drawn bitter fight on the choice of its candidate.
The 71-year-old Arizona Senator has won the Republican presidential nomination, eight years after he lost it to President Bush. Senator Hillary Clinton's victory in Tuesday's Democratic primaries in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island stretches the race to the end of the next month and possibly all the way to the nominating Democratic convention in late August. The next nominating contests are in Wyoming this Saturday and in Mississippi on Tuesday.
But, her only rival, Senator Barack who a lead of about 90 pledged delegates still hopes to clinch the nomination.
Obama said in a television interview yesterday that he had won more states, more of the popular vote and more delegates. ''We feel confident that we are going to have a strong delegate lead and we will have a strong claim on the nomination,'' he said.
Earlier, President Bush, invited McCain to the White House for a warm endorsement. ''John showed incredible courage and strength of character and perseverance in order to get to this moment and that is exactly what we need in a president,'' he said.
In response, McCain appreciated the President gesture and said, ''I intend to have as much possible campaigning events together as is in keeping with the president's heavy schedule.'' Despite his low approval rating, Bush is very popular among conservative Republicans, whose support McCain needs to win the general election. Bush can also help in fund raising.
McCain is a veteran pilot during the Vietnam War. He was shot down during a bombing mission and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five-and-a-half years. if successful, he would be the oldest American ever elected to a first term as president.
McCain said both his Democratic rivals, Clinton and Obama called him late Tuesday to congratulate him on winning the nomination.