As you can see, Sen. McCain has now definitively “rejected” John Hagee’s endorsement. Yesterday’s story about Hagee’s suggesting that God used Hitler to facilitate the departure of the Jews (sort of a gentle word) from Europe, broken by Huffpo, was I guess the final straw. (A few weeks ago McCain said that trying to get Hagee’s endorsement was “probably” a mistake but that he was “glad to have” it anyway.) But since we’ve been on this story from the git-go I wanted to review the history on this one to take stock of the whole story.
I don’t doubt for a moment that the McCain camp didn’t know about this Hitler quote. But if you know Hagee’s history, it’s hardly surprising. And Hagee’s statements about Catholics, his claim that God destroyed New Orleans because of an over-the-top gay pride parade, and his claim that God was using Muslim terrorists to create a “bloodbath” in America because of US support for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine were right out there in the public domain. And certainly McCain’s camp did know about them.
The March 5th episode of TPMtv had a run-down of each of these statements from Hagee and McCain’s statements embracing Hagee …
Given that McCain has now clearly rejected Hagee’s endorsement, perhaps it’s time that he, a la Obama, give a speech on the topic of Republican presidential candidates pandering to lunatic fringe right-wing preachers at election time. It could start a whole national conversation.
Late Update: Dan Gilgoff at BeliefNet says the Hagee debacle is another example that McCain is a novice on cultivating evangelicals.