So John McCain is moving towards a more moderate position so he can build himself up for the general election. And the way he is doing it is quite fascinating if not surprising.
First, his advisers can read polls and recognize the daunting right track/wrong track polling headwind that is gusting in their face.
Differences between Bush and McCain will be "discussed at great length," promises one aide.
"He'll be direct about it. He's never gratuitous, never disrespectful, but there are going to be policy breaks where it couldn't be clearer." Two areas of difference McCain will highlight: global warming and spending.
And why would John McCain be trusted on climate change? Perhaps because Al Gore is saying he should be trusted.
Gore's spokeswoman, Kalee Kreider, declined to comment on the Obama offer and was complimentary about the presidential candidates, including Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
"Former Vice President Gore thinks that both candidates are very strong. Both of them have offered plans to address the climate crisis ... as has Senator McCain," she said.
I asked Kreider why she is praising McCain, considering that Bush lied in 2000 about his intent to deal with climate change. Here's her response.
The key threshold issue for most NGO's and people working on climate, ourselves included are: Does the policymaker, work, support, vote in favor of, introduce legislation for mandatory reductions in pollution or not. McCain has, Bush has not.
And there we go. If you want to know why John McCain is trusted, it's not just that he has a base in the media. Democratic Party elders - including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - just fall all over themselves to praise him (he's met the commander-in-chief threshold how, exactly?).
Al Gore has tried extremely hard to build a movement without politics, and it just isn't working. As a candidate, he tried to run without attacking Bush, and as a global icon, he has launched an apolitical TV channel and hosted a bunch of mega-concerts that didn't really advance the argument on climate change. And now that Republicans are poised to use climate change as an excuse to siphon money off to industry, Gore is jumping on the McCain bandwagon.
Better party elders, please.