By The Hill Staff - 02/21/07 03:34 AM EST
Even though Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are on opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, the McCain presidential exploratory committee announced Monday that it had the backing of Warner.
The two lawmakers, the senior GOP members on the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently have found themselves in disagreement over the troop surge. Warner opposes sending more troops to Iraq while McCain is a strong proponent of the move.
The disagreement on the issue, however, does not prevent Warner from backing McCain.
"America's next president will be challenged by a range of diplomatic and security issues of unprecedented complexity largely due to growing worldwide terrorist threats," Warner said. "Senator McCain's long experience with, and understanding of, our military coupled with his proven, unquestioned courage and leadership, provide him with the essential qualifications for our next president."
Warner added that he believes security will be the primary issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.
"Senator Warner has served his country with honor, courage, and commitment," McCain said. "His support means a great deal to me as a person, fellow senator and veteran. I look forward to his advice and counsel."
The two men met when Warner was secretary of the Navy and McCain returned from his time in Vietnam, laying the foundation for a "long friendship and professional association," according to the McCain campaign.