On the Plane

And 43 Weighs In...Almost

His father, brother and former advisers are now all on the John McCain bandwagon and President Bush is edging ever so much closer to overtly declaring the senator from Arizona the Republican nominee to succeed him. But as titular head of the party, he still feels the need to qualify it.

Bush laughed off suggestions that the McCain campaign would want him to raise funds but not appear too publicly too often for him. "I'm sitting in Tanzania -- I don't know what the McCain campaign said," he told NBC News during an interview in Arusha in between stops on his malaria tour. "But I'll help him in any way I can."

The president went on to express confidence that McCain could beat whomever the Democrats nominate. "He's going to win too," Bush said, then quickly added, "if he ends up being the nominee. Now he's still got -- as I understand it, Mike Huckabee's still in the race. But if John's the nominee, he'll win."

NBC's Ann Curry tried to entice the president into weighing in on the Democratic side, to no avail. She asked him if he would like to see a woman or African American serve as president in his lifetime.

Bush turned it around with a joke. "Would I like to see Condi Rice president? Is that what you're asking?"

Not really, but nice try.

-- Peter Baker

By Washington Post editors |  February 18, 2008; 6:40 PM ET
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Africa: keep you hands on your wallets while Mr Bush is visiting. He has mortgaged our country's future for a handful of promises in return.

Posted by: Katman | February 18, 2008 9:00 PM

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