Video: Bush: McCain ‘ready to lead’

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/2/2008 11:51:23 PM ET 2008-09-03T03:51:23

President Bush promised Tuesday that the nation would be safer with John McCain as president, saying his courageous life and sound judgment make the Arizona senator the man Americans need in the White House.

"I've sat at the Resolute desk and received the daily intelligence briefings, the threat assessments and the reports from our commanders on the front lines," Bush told delegates at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota via video hookup from the White House. "I know the hard choices that fall solely to a president. John McCain's life has prepared him to make those choices."

“I know what it takes to be president,” Bush said, relating how he “stood in the ruins of buildings knocked down by killers and promised the survivors I would never let them down. I know the hard choices that fall solely to a president.”

Only McCain, who is in his fourth term in the Senate, has “the judgment, the experience and the policies” to “stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen and not wait to be hit again,” Bush said, striking directly at what Republicans see as the weak spot of their Democratic opponent in the fall, first-term Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

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Bush explicitly reminded Republicans of McCain’s continued support for his policies in the war in Iraq, praising the senator for his “character” in backing the White House’s “surge” of tens of thousands of new U.S. troops in Iraq last year.

“That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next commander-in-chief,” Bush said.

The Obama campaign had its reaction ready immediately, saying in a statement:

“Tonight, George Bush enthusiastically passed the torch to the man who’s earned it by voting with him 90 percent of the time, and who will continue this president’s legacy for the next four years — his disastrous economic policies, his foreign policy that hasn’t made us safer and his misguided war in Iraq that’s costing us $10 billion a month. The man George Bush needs may be John McCain, but the change America needs is Barack Obama.”

First lady Laura Bush introduced the president's address from the podium inside the convention hall. She praised McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as running mate, saying: "I'm proud that America's first female vice president will be a Republican woman."

She also extolled her husband's record, citing issues from education reform to fighting AIDS around the globe. Much has changed over the last eight years, she said, but one thing has stayed constant: "George remains a man of strong values with enduring love for the United States of America."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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