In the end, it was just too much. John McCain said farewell to Reverend John Hagee today after new comments surfaced where Hagee basically said Hitler was fulfilling God's will by chasing the Jews away from Europe. The audio and more information is here. John McCain's statement is below:
"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well. I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today. " -Senator John McCain
Here's the AP story:
Republican John McCain has rejected the endorsement of an influential Texas televangelist criticized for his anti-Catholic views.John Hagee, the Texas preacher, withdrew his endorsement at the same time.
McCain issued a statement after audio surfaced in which Hagee said God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land. McCain said in a statement: "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well."
Hagee also issued a statement saying he was tired of baseless attacks and he was removing himself from any active role in the 2008 campaign.
Well, look did McCain have any other option? Of course he had to distance himself from these comments. It's still different from Jeremiah Wright because Hagee WAS NOT his Pastor. That's important in all of this but it makes you wonder where the vetting process was in all of this? Hagee was known to be controversial in the past so did the McCain camp not realize that these past comments could reflect poorly on McCain?
Here's the other part of this: McCain SOUGHT this endorsement. He had a press conference with him. Bad visuals. In the end, I see this as a blip in the fall election. We know that national security and the economy will be the main issues. If anything, ditching Hagee could work to McCain's advantage because his campaign will argue that he took "decisive action" when these comments came to his attention (unlike Obama, they may argue) Plus, McCain will throw in the fact that he's been getting rid of some lobbyists associated with his campaign too. I can see it now: "McCain, a man of action" (paid for by McCain in '08)
By the way, John Hagee also withdrew his endorsement of McCain. For what it's worth. Here's that statement:
Ever since I endorsed John McCain for president, people seeking to attack Senator McCain have combed my records for statements they can use for political gain. They have had no qualms about grossly misrepresenting my position on issues most near and dear to my heart if it serves their political ambitions.
I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues. I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Senator McCain for President effective today, and to remove myself from any active role in the 2008 campaign.
I hope that the Senator McCain will accept this withdrawal so that he may focus on the issues that are most important to America and the world.