McCain walks tightrope on Bush support

July 22, 2008 at 11:12 AM

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain is walking a tightrope with his alliance to the unpopular current U.S. president, analysts say.

Although the Arizona senator is accepting fundraising help from President George Bush, he's being careful not to appear with him and is fighting to deflect charges his policies represent a "third term" for Bush, ABC News reported Tuesday.

"Senator McCain is in a tricky situation when it comes to President Bush," Dan Schnur, the communications director for McCain's 2000 presidential run, told the television network.

Even though Bush has low popularity marks among the general public, he is still perceived favorably by the Republican Party's conservative and Christian evangelical base, sectors McCain will need to win in November's general election against likely Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., observers say.

"President Bush is still our party's president and he is still popular with those who constitute the conservative base of the party," Kevin Madden, a spokesperson former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, told ABC News.

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