The following is from the Jan. 7, 2008, edition of The Associated Press. SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.
By BEN FELLER
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a presidential race not lacking for pundits, at least one person is trying to keep his mouth shut: the president himself.
President Bush's silent approach toward the 2008 campaign — with some notable lapses — reflects the kind of message discipline that his administration cherishes. Yet it goes against political instinct for this White House, which was built around setting a big agenda and defending itself aggressively.
No doubt, Bush is deeply interested in the race. Beyond the obvious consequences for the country and for his own policies, there is Bush's political underpinning to consider. He admits missing the crowds and the noise and the competition of the campaign. No quarterback likes to be on the sidelines.
So what does Bush have to say about the intrigue of Iowa, or the looming votes in New Hampshire? No comment. . .
"All of the candidates are being generally supportive of Bush in his positions, but none want his imprimatur," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "That suggests if he were to toss his endorsement out there, they would scatter. No one would dive on it."
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