June 29th, 2008
04:35 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain gets praise, no endorsement, from Grahams

From left, Billy Graham, John McCain and Franklin Graham meet Sunday in North Carolina.
From left, Billy Graham, John McCain and Franklin Graham meet Sunday in North Carolina.

(CNN) – John McCain spent 45 minutes meeting with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin at Graham’s North Carolina home Sunday morning.

The meeting took place at Graham’s home in Montreat, North Carolina, known as Little Piney Cove, about 25 miles outside Asheville. The house is a mountaintop retreat near Black Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The campaign says Rev. Graham, though quite ill, sat up in the chair during the meeting and participated in the talks with McCain and Franklin.

Advance notification of the meeting did not mention the 89-year-old Rev. Graham would be taking part.

Singer Ricky Skaggs, who was already scheduled to have lunch with the Grahams, came early and met McCain.

Franklin Graham issued a written statement a short time after the meeting. He said, “My father and I were pleased to have an opportunity to meet and visit with Sen. John McCain today. Sen. McCain’s office had requested a meeting in recent months and we appreciate the effort he made to travel to my father’s home. The senator and I both have sons currently serving in the military, and also have a common interest in aviation. I was impressed by his personal faith and his moral clarity on important social issues facing America today."

The younger Graham, the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse international relief, said, “"We had an opportunity to pray for the senator and his family, and for God's will to be done in this upcoming election."

"While as a Christian minister I am not endorsing a candidate for president, I do endorse the responsibility of men and women of faith everywhere to vote and to be involved in the political process. I encourage people to vote for the candidate at every level who best represents their values and convictions, and then to pray for those in authority over us as required in Scripture.”

McCain, speaking with reporters after the meeting as he boarded his plane, called the get-together “a very excellent conversation.” Asked if he expected the Grahams’ votes, McCain responded, “Oh I don’t know. I didn’t ask for their votes.”

The Arizona Senator said he asked for the meeting because “they have known my family, they have known of me for many years. They’re great leaders of this nation, I appreciate the opportunity to, to visit with them and I am very grateful for the time they spent with me.”

The meeting came as the McCain campaign last week reached out to conservatives in Ohio. McCain Friday said the meeting was not part of an effort to reach out to conservatives. He said, "No, he is a man whose family is respected, incredibly respected, and I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to meet with him. I think the Graham family really transcends politics in America. Billy Graham was an adviser to every president, so...there certainly is no political aspect to the meeting that I will have.”

Rev. Graham spoke of meeting McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, when he was commander of the Pacific theater during the Vietnam War. Their meeting happened while Senator McCain was being held as a prisoner of war. Franklin Graham said in the statement, “Admiral McCain invited my father to come see him in Honolulu and they got on their knees and prayed for John during his captivity; and did so again on a return trip. He expressed his gratitude for the senator’s long and brave service to our nation."


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. randy

    Even if he meet jesus christ that will not change the fact that he is not the person america is looking to lead us.

    June 29, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. offwallst,nyc

    HEY JOE:
    Lets keep God out of politics..but since you brought it up i will be praying to GOD that OBAMA IS NOT ELECTED PRESIDENT...OR ELSE WE WILL BE SINGING "GOD HELP AMERICA" at all baseball games...

    PS: HOW DO YOU THINK MCCAIN SURVIVED ALL THOSE YEARS AS A PRISIONER?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...TAKE A GUESS!!!!!!!!!!!11

    June 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. LT for Obama

    If this visit was not political, then why the press photo?

    At this point, the meetings these candidates have are always political in some form or fashion. Just another reason why McCain should not be going after Obama for trustworthiness when he makes such statements.

    By the way, no oil drilling off the coast, no more war, no more tax cuts to the rich and big business. You are right, Obama is Mr. No and I am proud to support Mr. No.

    June 29, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Cynthia

    No endorsement – smart and prayful people.

    June 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. mary

    Moral clarity, hah! Is that what it's called when you dump your crippled wife and three kids for a rich cheerleader who is 20 years younger? First wife was a model and had an accident while he was in Viet Nam. He came back and found she had put on some weight and was four inches shorter. While still married, he hooked up with the rich cheerleader who's daddy's money paid for his political beginnings. Yes, he did. Tell me all politicians are opportunists and go ahead and still vote for him! That's moral clarity too,

    June 29, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Tom in California

    McCain has to make the promises to get the endorsement;
    1.) No federal funding or endorsement of abortions.
    2.) Federal funding for "faith based" cash cow programs.
    3.) No tolerance for gay marriage.
    4.) No discussion of reduction of or elimination of tax free status for multi billion dollar religious corporations.
    5.) Total and unwavering financial and military support for Israel.
    6.) Free flow access to the president to perpetuate credibility.
    Agree to these 100% and ‘Ol Billy the king maker with give you the nod.

    BTW, I think the meeting with the son and not the king would have meant nothing. Without Billy in the photo there is no value in the photo op. Did anyone take "king's" pulse before the pic? Are we sure that wasn't a cardboard cutout?

    June 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. J.C.

    There are many things that are best left unsaid, but it's clear to most people.

    June 29, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. mmd

    I wonder if it could because he knows that Mc has not paid his taxes on his California house in five years. What a sin, Americans with one house can not afford to keep it in todays economy, and Mc has nine homes and rips on the people of CA on the needed taxes. SURE HE WII MAKE AN IDEAL REP PREZ

    June 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Leader of the band

    Barack Obama jumps in front of a parade and calls himself a leader.

    June 29, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. ron

    re Texas for obama
    i guess you never heard of the crusades have you laddie Christians have been fighting Islam for centuries. but you can be forgiven being an obamanite distorting lying and justifying must come naturally.

    June 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Dan - Atlanta

    After a few senior moments with Billy Graham, McCain was seen coming down the mountain carrying two stone tablets.

    Remember, folks, this is the same Billy Graham who cozied up to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. So much for moral clarity!

    June 29, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. JC

    My father and I are supporting John McCain for president because he knows who the real president is.

    June 29, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Buddy

    Where is Rev Wright yet in the basement praying for Obama. At least McCain did not hide Billy Graham in the basement to pray for him. Billy Graham loves America.

    June 29, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Charles

    How in this world a Christian could support Bush and McBush is beyond me. I realize wars need to be fought when trust upon us, but to entangle the U.S. in a war like Bush has done in criminal and dictatorial and filled with demagoguery.

    The elder Graham has certainly had much contact with presidents over the years, but would do wise to steer clear of McBush, for certain. I don't even think he ought to become embroiled with Obama and others.

    McBush would do well if he came out and denounced Bush instead of acting like he's family or something. I do not like Obama, but I detest Bush and anyone that stands with him.

    June 29, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Joe B

    Wood Burns... to call Billy G a Christian nutbag tells me everything I need to know about you and what you belive in.

    June 29, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Pat

    Why not? He needs all the help he can get. All of those supporting him should read his "before Cindy" biography.

    June 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Lori Glory, TX

    Mm. That's rich. MCCAIN is the moral candidate? Doesn't anyone care that McCain cheated on his crippled wife, and left her for a woman who left HER husband for McCain? McCain and morality is a joke. I may be sad that Hillary's no longer in the race, but at least OBAMA has always had ONE wife who's he's been faithful too. McCain is just a joke sham of a candidate all around.

    June 29, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Charles

    (couple of spelling errors corrected!)

    How in this world a Christian could support Bush and McBush is beyond me. I realize wars need to be fought when thrust upon us (like WWI and WWII), but to entangle the U.S. in a war like Bush has done is criminal, insane and dictatorial, and filled with demagoguery.

    The elder Graham has certainly had much contact with presidents over the years, but would do wise to steer clear of McBush, for certain. I don't think he even should become embroiled with Obama and others.

    McBush would do well if he came out, spoke the truth and denounced Bush instead of acting like he's family or something. I do not like Obama, but I detest Bush and anyone that stands with him.

    June 29, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Comment

    McCain has no moral authority. He is fully for war as a first resort, not a last one.

    He not only supported the sin of the war in Iraq, but he was cheerleading for it even earlier than Bush. He advocated we bomb North Korea in 94. And now he is giving clear indications that he wants to start a war with Iran. In fact, regarding Iran, McCain is basically being Bush all over again.

    McCain's first instinct in dealing with a problem is to wage war. He would be a dangerous person to have in the White House.

    June 29, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. Brian

    In 1993, Graham said in Columbus, Ohio, "Is AIDS a judgment of God? I could not say for sure, but I think so."

    Yup, just another person McCain would bend over backward to get his endorsement.

    June 29, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Hillary 08

    Obama 2000 and Never!!!!

    June 29, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Peachy Keen

    Frankly, I seriously doubt that Billy Graham approves of McCain's adultrous background and probably wishes he didn't have to have the guy in his house.
    Immediately following McCain's departure, the Grahams had to call in the exterminators and pray for forgiveness for even having the guy over. The last thing that John McCain is is a God fearing Christian. He dumped his wife, had a six month adultrous affair and married his plastic faced, silver spooned mistress for money.l

    June 29, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Bill

    So many Christians, so few lions....

    June 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. matt

    yeah and i detest people who detest....who else is going to rule joan rivers and her style hissers

    June 29, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Brad, California

    Rev. Graham is the only one left who is still deserving of an honorable place in Americvan evangelism . I don't care that has met with a known idion like Senator McCain, however I do commend him for not issuing an endorsement.

    I believe his statement is a simple one – VOTE for the candidate who best represents your views, and when the election is said and done, pray for the person who has won, regardless of who he may be.

    I could never think or say the same for pigs such as Pat Robertson or James Dobson; if these people enjoy tax exampt status, it should certainly be revoked.

    June 29, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9