Johanna Neuman
Los Angeles Times
February 18, 2008

Sen. John McCain, trying to solidify his support among conservatives amid resolute competition from former Arkansas Gov. John Huckabee, today won the endorsement of former President George Bush.

Welcoming “an old friend back to Texas,” Bush called McCain — who served as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War and was captured and tortured by the Viet Cong — “a remarkable patriot.”

“Few men walking among us have sacrificed so much in the cause of human freedom,” the former president said, adding that McCain has “the right values and experience to guide our nation forward at this historic moment.”

Asked about conservative unease with McCain, the 41st president read from the diaries of former President Ronald Reagan, who was also assailed by the Right during his presidency for being “a turncoat.” Bush dismissed conservative criticism of McCain as “an unfair attack,” and said the Arizona senator has “a sound conservative record but not above reaching out to the other side.”

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