With all the discussion from the Right about the drag on Senator Barack Obama’s campaign due to his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, we’ve been pointing out to MSM outlets here in So Cal that Pastor John Hagee, who’s endorsement was sought and secured by the McCain Campaign, was far worse.
John McCain today threw Pastor Hagee under the bus and the endorsement with him.
Here’s a trasncript from CNN….
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with the breaking news this hour.
John McCainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sudden change of heart about the endorsement of a popular but very controversial televangelist. That would be Pastor John Hagee.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go straight to our Brian Todd. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been working on this story. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got some news to break right here.
What do we know, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as a result of our inquiries today John McCain makes a dramatic turn around and rejects the endorsement of a key religious leader in the United States. He is Pastor John Hagee, a popular televangelist from San Antonio.
Hagee endorsed McCain in February. Since that time, Hagee has been under fire for comments that he had made earlier about the Catholic Church, very incendiary comments.
He has since apologized for those comments. During that period, McCain distanced himself from those remarks, but did not reject HageeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s endorsement. McCain now, today, makes a dramatic turnaround and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because of our inquiries about remarks that Pastor Hagee made many years in sermons in which Ã¢â‚¬â€ one in particular in which he talked about Jews and the Holocaust and what he believed was GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plan to bring the Jews back to Israel.
Here is an audio excerpt from that sermon.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PASTOR JOHN HAGEE, TELEVANGELIST: God says in Jeremiah 16, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave unto their fathers. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Behold, I will send for many fishers and after will I send for many hunters. And they, the hunters, shall hunt them.Ã¢â‚¬Â That would be the Jews. Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: We have been in contact with Minister Hagee Ã¢â‚¬â€ with Pastor Hagee and his representatives. Mr. Hagee would not go on camera with us or do any kind of an interview with us.
His representatives say, however, that he was badlynmischaracterized. Hagee did issue a statement saying that he was mischaracterized in blog reports about that sermon and that he in no way condones what happened in the Holocaust, in no way condones Adolf Hitler. He said to imply otherwise is basically a whole lot of lies, and said that he was really only trying to explain to his parish how God could let something that terrible happen.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not enough to appease John McCain at this point, who now is completely rejecting his endorsement. Here is a statement that we just got a short time ago from John McCain.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Revered HageeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Pretty big news from John McCain who had counted on Pastor Hagee to enhance his conservative credentials. Very important note here from McCainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign who says that Reverend Hagee was never John McCainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pastor, that McCain did not have the kind of relationship with Pastor Hagee that Barack Obama had with Jeremiah Wright. And that Ã¢â‚¬â€ again, he is completely rejecting this endorsement outright, Wolf.
So pretty significant news Ã¢â‚¬â€œ
BLITZER: Very significant because earlier, he repudiated some of the remarks that Pastor Hagee made, but he never repudiated the endorsement. And we have that Ã¢â‚¬â€ weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been showing our viewers the picture of that actual endorsement. But now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going one step further, a very significant step and saying, you know what, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even want your endorsement, despite the support you might bring me in the evangelical community.
TODD: ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right. John McCain in those months since the February endorsement has been outright saying look, I reject his remarks on Catholicism. Pastor Hagee had called the Catholic religion the great whore, among other things. And McCain had said this is ridiculous I reject it, it is not representative of what I believe. He says the same thing now about his remarks about Jews and the Holocaust. But now, again, a very, very significant step for John McCain to say, essentially, I am pushing this endorsement away, as far away as I possibly can.
BLITZER: And the irony in all of this is the original endorsement that Pastor Hagee gave John McCain Ã¢â‚¬â€ John McCain sited Pastor HageeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s longtime support of Israel and sating that because of that, in part, he would welcome that endorsement. And now this statement comes to light that raises questions.
TODD: It does raise questions. Now again, Pastor Hagee Ã¢â‚¬â€ and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very important point you just made Wolf Ã¢â‚¬â€ Pastor Hagee, for many years, is seen as a very ardent and clear supporter of Israel . HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s done a lot of work to support Israel, to espouse their views on everything, and has been unabashed in that. And says that this continues and he is really Ã¢â‚¬â€ he wants to reiterate that to everybody who will listen.
I guess what John McCain feels at this point is that theses remarks that he made in this sermon, which is from the 1990s, which Hagee did not apologize for, but said was mischaracterized, maybe just too much for his campaign to bear.
BLITZER: Brian Todd doing some excellent reporting for us, breaking this story here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Brian, thanks very much.