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James Baker Backs McCain

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The Post's Mike Shear reports from Houston on former Secretary of State James Baker's endorsement of Sen. John McCain and how the Republican contender's campaign is beginning to focus on a possible national match up with Sen. Barack Obama.

By Michael D. Shear
HOUSTON -- Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III endorsed Sen. John McCain for president today, calling him a "great American leader" and a "thoughtful and dedicated Republican" who he compared to Ronald Reagan.

"John is what I think I am, a principled pragmatist," Baker said at a news conference after McCain spoke to students and professors at Baker's Rice University public policy institute. "He prefers to get things done rather than to insist on ideological purity."

In comparing McCain to Reagan, Baker said that the former president was a staunch conservative -- "Nobody ever accused the Gipper of being squishy," he said -- but willing to compromise when necessary.

Baker said McCain is like that.

"Like the Gipper, John McCain knows that sometimes it's better to take 80 percent of what you want rather than go over the cliff flying your flag," Baker said. He said McCain embodies the "roll-up your sleeves, bottom-line approach" that Americans want.

McCain accepted the endorsement as he continued to hammer Barack Obama for his comments about al-Qaeda in this week's Democratic debate. He said Obama's desire to withdraw troops from Iraq will lead to "chaos."

"We will continue this debate and discussion," McCain vowed.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 28, 2008; 12:16 PM ET
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If John McCain is "so great," then why didn't Baker support him in 2000 over the inexperienced George W. Bush?

Posted by: mnjam | March 3, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

James Baker 1992 "F*** the Jews they don't vote for us anyway"
Not to mention Caryle Group Saudi's etc. business deals.

Wonder if Russert will ask him about that?

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 29, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

McCain accuses Obama of being "the candidate from the past" because of Obama's remindance of his strong opposition to the Iraq war, yet nearly every endorser of McCain ties the 71-year old to being a Reagan (1980-1988)Republican. Dude that's like 20 to 30 years ago. For McCain to even have a chance in the general election, his VP candidate has to be younger than 60.

Obama in 08!

Posted by: ajtiger92 | February 28, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Getting the legal team together for another Supreme court fight? This is the guy who tells Ronny Raygun that it's OK to sell drugs to finance "freedom fighters" if Congress won't provide the money.. It's OK because, if they get caught, you can always just say, "mistakes were made", pardon everyone involved and then seal the records. What a brilliant legal mind. Great team you're putting together there John, almost as good as the old Nixon team of Rummy and Cheney.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 28, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be GREAT, if McCain could then turn to a VP who was a Legal and Business Expert, to then Shred the Dims on matters of Economics, and Business?

"Now that I have given you a lesson on being a Commander In Chief, Obasama, Mitt here is going to teach you about Business and Economics!" ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | February 28, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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