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Inside Politics

McCain as Kerry veep? Not so fast

Republican entertains, dismisses possibility


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CNN-USA's political team brings you updates and analysis all evening, following Thursday's efforts by the Kerry camp to consolidate support among Democrats on the Hill and President Bush's trip to New York for a September 11 memorial ceremony and fund raising.
John McCain

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Maverick Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona quickly slammed the door Wednesday on speculation that he might accept the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket with fellow Sen. John Kerry.

McCain raised eyebrows in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" when he described Kerry, a fellow Vietnam veteran, as a "close friend" and said if the four-term senator from Massachusetts asked him to be his running mate, "Obviously, I would entertain it."

McCain also said that he thought there was "no scenario" under which that would happen because "it's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk. ...

"They'd have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen, " he joked.

Despite his disclaimers that a Kerry-McCain pairing was unlikely, McCain's comments received enough attention that his office felt the need to quash the speculation several hours later, insisting he would not be a vice presidential candidate this year.

McCain was Bush's chief rival in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries. He is running for re-election to the Senate this year in Arizona.

The president also has appointed McCain to a nine-member independent panel investigating U.S. intelligence capabilities, including the quality of information gathered in the run-up to the Iraq war.

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