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Domenici Endorses McCain

Put this one in the "shocking political developments" file.

Sen. Pete Domenici, who has had chilly relations with Sen. John McCain over the years, on Monday endorsed the Arizona senator for the Republican presidential nomination.

"They've had their run-ins over the years, but Sen. Domenici put a lot of thought into this and has decided to endorse Sen. McCain,"  Chris Gallegos, Domenici's spokesman, told me when I called to confirm the McCain press release a few minutes ago.

Most of those run-ins stemmed from McCain's relentless criticism, even ridicule, of the so-called "earmarks" in the congressional budgets. Earmarks, or parochial pet projects inserted into spending bills, are more commonly know as "pork."

Domenici is legendary for bringing the bacon home to New Mexico and he would frquently bristle at McCain's tirades on the floor of the Senate. However, Domenici still seems to think McCain is best contender in the GOP presidential field. Read Domenici's entire statement -including an interesting remark that seems to discredit his own skepticism on the Iraq war – below.





ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today announced that New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici has endorsed the candidacy of John McCain for the Republican nomination for president. Senators Domenici and McCain spoke by phone today, and Sen. Domenici issued the following statement:

"Today I am very pleased to endorse my colleague, Sen. John McCain, for the Republican nomination for president.

"My many years working with John McCain persuade me that he is the best candidate on the issues upon which I have spent most of my career — deficit reduction, federal spending reform, a strong military, and the increased use of nuclear power for electricity generation in this time of global climate change. John McCain's leadership in the fight for the balanced budget we produced in the late 1990s was critical. His strong voice was key to producing such a balanced budget for the first time in four decades. John McCain's work on crucial water issues in the West and Southwest shows that he understands all regions of our nation and the challenges they face.

"As important, has been John McCain's consistent and courageous stand on the Iraq War and our fight against terrorism. I believe, based upon my years on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and my work with Sen. McCain, that he will bring the strongest leadership to what I consider the most important question facing America — how we defend ourselves against Islamic extremists bent on destroying this nation. And, despite my own personal misgivings last year, Sen. McCain was, and continues to be, right on the American military surge in Iraq and the strategy outlined by General David Petraeus. John displayed the kind of courage and consistency a president must have.

"No one else in the field has better credentials on military policy, national security, and fiscal policy than my friend, John McCain."

John McCain thanked Senator Domenici, stating, "I am grateful to Senator Domenici for his support of my candidacy. Pete is a leader in the U.S. Senate who is dedicated to environmental conservation and, as a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, has committed himself to addressing the challenges facing America's Native communities. He proudly represents the people of New Mexico, and I am proud to have him working on my behalf in the Western states."