No. 2 Spot Ruled Out by McCain

From Times Wire Services

Republican presidential aspirant Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he would “under no circumstances” accept a vice presidential slot under current front-runner George W. Bush.

“I’m closing it down completely,” McCain said when asked on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” if he would consider the second spot on a Republican ticket headed by the Texas governor.

Bush leads other Republican presidential hopefuls in opinion polls, although his margin over the senator from Arizona has narrowed in recent weeks.


McCain said he could serve “far more effectively” in his current post as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

McCain also ruled out the possibility of a Cabinet position as secretary of Defense or State in a Bush administration. “Those would have some attraction . . . but my first preference, obviously, would be to remain in the United States Senate,” he said.

McCain also said he has no interest in switching to the Reform Party if his Republican bid fails.

McCain’s comment about the vice presidency was not new: He has said previously that he is not interested in being the running mate on a ticket with Bush. But the idea has grown increasingly plausible as the two Republicans continue to be remarkably friendly on the campaign trail, even as they battle for the nomination.

Bush said in a televised debate last week that McCain is “a good man.” In a previous debate, McCain was the only GOP candidate on the stage to avoid criticizing Bush.