Bauer endorses McCain for president
GREENVILLE, S.C. (CNN) -- Former GOP hopeful Gary Bauer endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential bid Wednesday, giving McCain a potential boost just days before the South Carolina Republican primary.
Joining McCain on stage at South Carolina's Furman University, Bauer said the Arizona senator "is the best shot we have to end the era of Bill and Hillary and Al Gore. And so with great pride and without any hesitation, I am pleased to be here today to endorse John McCain in exchange for his promise that I'll have a front-row seat at his inaugural."
"Gary Bauer has done great things," McCain said. "I want to promise you again, you may agree with me, you may disagree with me, but I will do great things."
McCain said that Bauer had served as a role model for his own campaign, and called Bauer's decision one that took "tremendous political courage."
Bauer, who was a presidential candidate until dropping out after
his poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, flew from Washington to South Carolina Wednesday morning to endorse McCain.
Bauer declined to endorse any of his former opponents when he dropped out of the race on February 4, saying McCain and Texas Gov. George W. Bush would have to move closer to his own conservative stance on a number of issues before he would extend support to either of them.
Among the issues central to Bauer were his strong opposition to abortion; his concerns about trade ties with China; and his overarching pro-family themes.
"I'm not going to endorse anybody until I see one of these candidates move toward the issues that I've outlined..." Bauer said during his withdrawal speech. "Almost all of my competitors suggest that they too stand for these ideas, but as I've pointed out in the debates, the devil is in the details."
At the time, Bauer credited distant third-place GOP hopeful Alan Keyes for closely matching his own position on abortion.
The longtime activist and president of Washington's Family Research Council chose to withdraw from the 2000 Republican presidential race after posting poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
He earned 1 percent of the New Hampshire primary vote, a week after gaining only 8 percent In Iowa.