George Bush received a standing ovation by the crowd at the Republican Convention on Tuesday, in an address that said as much about the evolution of the GOP over the last eight years as it did about the future of the party.
The president's address, delivered via video conference from the White House, was received by wild applause from the Republican crowd and laid out the case for a McCain presidency. In the process, Bush touched on many of the topics that his campaign once used as smears against the current, presumptive Republican nominee.
Bush heralded McCain's time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, saying of the Arizona Republican's refusal for an early release: "For that selfless decision he suffered nearly five more years of beatings and isolation. When he was released his arms had been broken but not his honor."
He also referenced McCain's adoptive child saying that because of his family McCain knew that "human life is precious and must be defended."
He even touched on McCain's penchant for political independence, saying of the Senator: "John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He is not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. Believe me, I know."
For political observers it was hard not to recall from these remarks the bitter battles of the 2000 Republican primary. In that contest, McCain's service in Vietnam was used by Bush to insinuate that he may not have his mental wits. His adopted daughter was rumored to actually be an out-of-wedlock child. And his party unorthodoxy became a rallying cry to suggest he wasn't an actual Republican.
McCain and Bush famously feuded in the aftermath of that election. But, it seems, time and political expediency heal such wounds.
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