In his work toward that day, Kerry earned the "unbounded respect and admiration" of McCain, who, like others in the Senate, originally viewed Kerry with suspicion. "You get to know people and you make decisions about them," says McCain. "I found him to be the genuine article."
On a more serious note, McCain added later, "I think that the best Americans from both parties should be the nominees of their parties, so that the American people would have the very best to select from, and I would certainly put Sen. Kerry in that category."
In attacking Mr. Kerry and defending the war, the White House clearly made the calculation that achieving what has been its main strategic goal this year — firing up a dispirited conservative base — would outweigh any risk that might come in spotlighting a war that Republican Party officials said had become a huge burden for its candidates.