Washington, Oct.20 : Presidential candidates-- Senators John McCain and Barack Obama-- spent the weekend bashing White House incumbent George W Bush.
At a Concord, North Carolina, rally on Saturday, McCain was quoted by the Washington Post as saying: "I'm not George Bush!"
The Republican crowd roared in appreciation, surprising considering that Bush took North Carolina in 2004 by 12 points.
Obama continues to make Bush the centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that McCain would effectively offer four more years of the same.
The Bush-bashing is not confined to the presidential race only. Several Republican lawmakers are also trying to distance themselves from the deeply unpopular president, who has held only a smattering of fundraisers this season, most of them closed to the public.
The most obvious example is Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, who has been trying to align himself with Obama and other Democrats since the summer while offering sharp criticism of Bush and tepid words for McCain.
Many conservative House Republicans are also criticizing the president for his controversial 700 billion dollar financial rescue plan.