Courting McCain: Al Gore Scores Visit with Former GOP Rival

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( -Democrat Al Gore invited Republican Senator John McCain to the vice president's mansion in Washington Sunday for a 20-minute visit, a meeting that came about much more quickly and easily than a McCain-Bush get-together, something that's supposed to happen next week.

Gore and his former GOP rival for the White House talked about mutual interests and campaign finance reform, according to Gore.

McCain, just back from extensive television coverage in Vietnam, is supposed to meet with fellow Republican George W Bush in Pittsburgh next week, but by meeting first with Democrat Gore, he sends an interesting message about his political priorities.

McCain has said he intends to continue lobbying for campaign finance reform, something that Gore also endorses.

After their Sunday meeting - the invitation came the day before -- Gore said McCain "is going to be endorsing Bush, but that doesn't mean he and I can't work together."

Gore said he and McCain discussed "the import of bipartisanship in foreign policy and national security policy. I plan to talk to him further," Gore said.

In response to questions from reporters, Gore said he has not ruled out the possibility of selecting a Republican as a running mate, adding that he doesn't expect that to happen. McCain insists he has no interest in being anyone's vice presidential candidate.

McCain's relationship with Bush is strained after a hard-fought primary battle, and plans for a meeting between the two Republicans have been fraught with stumbling blocks and difficulties.