The governor steered around a question about whether he would support McCain in the California primary but also called him “a great national leader.” Coming off a decisive re-election in November, the celebrity governor appears eager to assume a more prominent role in national affairs. His push to move California’s presidential primary to Feb.5 from June could give the state – and by association him – much greater influence in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes. With McCain at his side, Schwarzenegger called for a national low-carbon fuel standard for transportation fuels, similar to standards in California intended to make fuel burn cleaner. It wasn’t clear how such a standard would be put in place, or if it would become a centerpiece of McCain’s nascent campaign. “I know that Senator McCain sees the value of bringing to Washington the same kind of programs that we have put into place right here in California,” Schwarzenegger said. By contrast the governor met privately this month with another GOP contender, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, but the two did not appear together. The senator and Schwarzenegger have shared a mutually beneficial political kinship, as well as a friendship, for years. McCain has headlined fundraisers for Schwarzenegger in California, and they’ve campaigned together. The governor’s 2006 campaign manager is now a senior adviser to McCain’s campaign team.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered his most lavish praise yet Wednesday for a 2008 presidential candidate, calling John McCain a “great senator” and “very good friend” who shared his views on critical issues such as the environment. The celebrity governor stopped short of formal declaration of support for McCain’s budding candidacy, but their appearance together in the Port of Los Angeles was a strong reminder that the two maverick Republicans share a well-developed friendship. The Arizona senator joked that he was endorsed by Schwarzenegger. Then Schwarzenegger said their joint appearance wasn’t about politics. “We share common philosophy and goals for this country,” McCain noted.