(2007-03-02) — President George Bush today refused to comment on Sen. John McCain’s recent remarks on The Late Show with David Letterman, implying that Mr. Bush’s management of the Iraq war had “wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.”

However, the president did welcome Sen. McCain’s second run at the Republican nomination, and said the Arizona senator shouldn’t be discouraged by the failure of his previous attempt.

“I admire John McCain’s persistence and willingness to throw himself into an apparently hopeless battle because of principles that he truly believes,” the president said. “He fights on, though he’s been defeated before in a similar conflict and faces strong opponents. Even if he wins this fight, he knows that sectarian divisions could continue indefinitely.”

The president said he would refrain from “Monday morning quarterbacking” Mr. McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign.

“In hindsight,” said Mr. Bush, “it’s easy to question whether more money, or more people, or a different strategy or new tactics would have led to a different outcome. But a leader must act with integrity, do what seems right today, learn from the past, ignore the skeptics, adapt the tactics, hold tight to the vision of victory, and leave the verdict to history. You go, John McCain.” — as reported by satirist Scott Ott / ScrappleFace