World and Nation

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Former President George Bush Endorses McCain

When former President George Bush stood beside Sen. John McCain here Monday and gave him a Presidents Day endorsement, it was just the latest chapter in the sometimes-tangled saga of the Bush and the McCain dynasties.

In World War II, Bush was serving under McCain’s grandfather, Adm. John S. McCain, in the Pacific when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for finishing a bombing run even after his airplane was hit; he bailed out at sea only after he had finished. Years later, Bush commissioned the guided missile destroyer John S. McCain, named for McCain’s grandfather and father, another admiral in the Navy.

If McCain has sometimes seemed to have a complicated relationship with Bush’s son President George W. Bush, he has always spoken warmly of the first President Bush — calling him last summer “maybe the nicest man that ever sat in the Oval Office.”

So on Monday, as the former president and the man who hopes to succeed his son stood together with their wives on a small stage in front of a row of American and Texas state flags in an airplane hangar, there was no awkwardness. Bush wore a blue necktie with a pattern of little aircraft carriers running across it, and McCain said he and the former president had two things in common. “One is that we were both naval aviators, and the other is that we were both shot down,” he said.

The former president gave McCain a strong endorsement that the candidate said he hoped would help unite the fractured Republican Party behind his presidential bid.

Lending Cuts Could Hurt Education

Major commercial education companies are scrambling to ensure a steady stream of college-level students despite the credit squeeze, with some preparing to offer student loans themselves.

The move shows how dependent this sector of eduction is on student loans and how vulnerable the industry could become if credit woes continue to make it harder for lenders to raise capital.

Commercial colleges largely offer practical education in fields like business, computers, health care and culinary arts, often catering to low-income students and students already in the workplace.

Seeking to reassure investors, Corinthian Colleges Inc., one of the nation’s largest chains, recently said it was exploring “alternatives to help students fund their educational programs,” including expanding its own lending program and finding new lenders.

The Career Education Corporation, another large chain, has announced a similar effort.

ITT Educational Services Inc. recently announced a deal with three major banks to preserve students loans through the rest of the year.

And Universal Technical Institute Inc., which offers programs in fields like automotive, diesel and motorcycle repair, said it could lose tuition revenue if students default on subprime loans from an outside lender. About 3 percent of the company’s revenue now comes from such loans.

Pakistanis Oust Musharraf’s Party

Pakistanis dealt a crushing defeat to President Pervez Musharraf in parliamentary elections Monday, in what government and opposition politicians said was a firm rejection of his policies since 2001 and those of his close ally, the United States.

Almost all the leading figures in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the party that has governed for the last five years under Musharraf, lost their seats, including the leader of the party, the former speaker of parliament and six ministers.

Official results are expected Tuesday, but early returns indicated that the vote would usher in a prime minister from one of the opposition parties, and opened the prospect of a parliament that would move to undo many of Musharraf’s policies and that may even try to remove him.

The early edge went to the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, which seemed to benefit from a strong wave of sympathy in reaction to the assassination of its leader, Benazir Bhutto, on Dec. 27, and may be in a position to form the next government.

The results were interpreted here as a repudiation of Musharraf as well as the Bush administration, which has staunchly backed Musharraf for more than six years as its best bet in the campaign against the Islamic militants in Pakistan. U.S. officials will have little choice now but to seek alternative allies from among the new political forces emerging from the vote.

Politicians and party workers from Musharraf’s party said the vote was a protest against government policies and the rise in terrorism here, in particular against Musharraf’s heavy-handed way of dealing with militancy and his use of the army against tribesmen in the border areas, and against militants in a siege at the Red Mosque here in the capital last summer that left more than 100 people dead.

Pettitte Apologizes for Using HGH

In a one-hour news conference on Monday that neither he nor the Yankees could have ever wished on themselves, a composed Andy Pettitte apologized for using human growth hormone in 2002 and 2004, said there was no other drug use he was concealing and revealed that he had not spoken recently with Roger Clemens, his friend, former teammate and now awkward rival.

Pettitte said he used HGH not to gain a competitive advantage but to recover from injuries while with the Yankees in 2002 and with the Houston Astros in 2004. He said HGH was not forbidden by baseball when he used it, although he acknowledged it was wrong to use it without a medical prescription.

“I am sorry,” Pettitte said at the news conference, which came as he reported four days late to spring training, with the Yankees’ permission. “I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free.”