Senator John McCain has issued this statement to his supporters following a meeting with Texan Governor George W. Bush.
Statement from Senator John McCain.
From the first day of my campaign, I said repeatedly that if I did not win the Republican nomination for president, I would support whoever did. This was a pledge I made when I was at three percent in the polls and repeated again throughout the primaries. And like all the promises I made along the campaign trail, this was one I intended to keep.
Yesterday I made the decision to endorse George W. Bush for President of the United States. Now that the meeting is over and the endorsement is official, I would like to take a few moments to share with you, a valued and trusted member of my extended campaign family, the reasons behind my decision.
But before I get to that, let me first say this: I remain to this day exceptionally proud of the campaign we waged together for president. And though we did not win the White House, we did win over the hearts and minds of millions of Americans who believe, like we do, in the need for real reform in our institutions of government. I will never abandon that cause or squander the trust that you and millions of others placed in me as the torchbearer of the reform crusade. You can rest assured knowing that passage of meaningful government reform remains, as always, my highest political priority – one which transcends simple party politics.
My primary reason for endorsing Governor Bush is based less on policy than it is principle. Quite simply, I believe that he is our best hope to end the Clinton/Gore era, and restore honor and integrity back to the White House. As a nation, it is time to put the past eight years behind us.
In the short 24 hours since my endorsement, I have received a number of phone calls and emails from friends and supporters. I am not afraid to tell you that not all of them were in support of my decision. To those who I have disappointed, let me simply reiterate that I will never give up my fight for real government reform.
Governor Bush and I were spirited primary opponents and a few principled disagreements between us remain. However, as I stated throughout my campaign, the country needs a change of leadership. I may no longer be a candidate for president, but my desire to bring dignity back to the White House has not diminished. I know that Governor Bush is committed to this same goal and that is why I have offered him my endorsement and my support.
I will never forget the wonderful friends I met along the campaign trail and will always be honored by the support and trust you have given me. I promise you that until my last breath, the American people will always have a voice for reform.
Thank you for your friendship and support.