June 29th, 2008
04:35 PM ET
10 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. DC

    Did Mc Cain really call his wife an obscene name as RAW is reporting? They said he used a very ugly word toward Cindy. He as well as others need to live by James 3:10 regardless of where they have been or where they want to go. Profanity and Christianity is like oil and water- do not mix.
    Before these ministers endorse people they,too, need to vet those seeking their co -signing in a campaign.

    June 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Jackson

    Both McCain and Obama have now talked to Franklin Graham ... one of the most publicly homophobic voices in religion!

    June 29, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    God bless Billy Graham and his son, Franklin Graham. We are a blessed nation and both of these men of God do not mince words in their sermons. They most certainly would preach to 90% of the Obama supporters about repentence from their hate and bitterness and forgiveness before they end up in a place without mercy or God. Democrats needs to get their morality straightened out before they can run the country.

    June 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Larry

    Alot of people on here are bashing MCcain for the war in Iraq. Do you remeber that Sadam Hussein killed his own people, that his sons were raping women on their wedding nights, that if you didn't like Saddam you would be in prison or dead for not for voting him, positive news on Iraq does not sell. How would you feel if you hated President Bush but if you did not vote for him you would be killed. Rember just because your not an American you are still a person that have dreams let other live it. George Washington did it for you!

    MCcain 08

    June 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Generation X

    @ Still for Hill; Go and join the rest of the nuts: PUMA (Poor uneducated miserable adults). Give the rest of us a break!! LMAO

    June 29, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. CB

    No man or woman is a Christian if they would choose war over negotiation as the first option. Killing in war is not an accident of nature or of God. It is a despicable act of mankind.

    June 29, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |

    BEYOND ARROGNCE.????:.......The Democrats unity show…our party,party party…blah..blah…taking the people for granted as is somehow the democrats can claim ownership over the voters who casted their votes in the primaries..
    18+18= 36 million start to think independent and vote McCain, the man of his word:..........WHO died and left YOU in Charge.........You are 1 in a MILLION .........A little LONELY on THAT LIMB!!!!......BEYOND ARROGANCE to STUPIDITY

    June 29, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. doc4nuts

    Two old men and an aging baby boomer. I will be so glas when the 20/30/40 generations take over. Enough of this static mindset!

    June 29, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Rob

    What faith is McCain? He has never mentioned it in public. Does his 'Personal Faith' mean faith in himself? McCain has referred to other Christian leaders as 'agents of hate' and 'crazy'. I guess McCain felt that the Grahams are so acceptable and popular that he could meet with them without stirring any controversy and backlash. Atta Boy McBush. Play it safe and never commit to an issue or a cause...except never ending war that is.

    June 29, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. TonyInKentucky

    I guess if wasn't for the American people are highly partisan within their parties and it seems that we have incredibly short memories, then it would be clear McCain is pandering big time.

    The right wing is dreaming, McCain is probably agnostic and is not really into it at most. With Republicans you can be a good Christian even if you don't really even believe in God. Apparently, the definition of good Christian is being the most socially conservative candidate available because he sure seemed wildly less popular and trustworthy with these people 7-8 years ago.

    June 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Nursing Home Attendant

    Wow! Look at that furniture. It must have been purchased when McCain was only 12 years old.

    June 29, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Robbie

    ewwww, more Christian conservatives!

    June 29, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Marie in California

    Praise is good. Personally, I think it's better when religious leaders don't endorse candidates.

    McCain – 2008


    June 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Roger

    June 29th, 2008 2:29 pm ET

    Roger, if you noticed McCain asked for the meeting. What would you have them say? Of course there was praise. The most obvious conclusion was that McCain was looking for an endorsement. Both Graham's are gracious men. Get it?

    I get it alright. I couldn't see Billy Graham endorsing any politician. He would more likely endorse a church. Obama needs to have another photo-op with Jerimiah Wright. Don't be jealous that McCain has better taste in religious leaders.

    June 29, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Willow, from Iowa

    I thought it was worth noticing that the Graham's did not endorse McCain. They talked about how he is moral and interested in aviation. Hm. McCain is sure working hard to get some preacher somewhere to like him–one that doesn't advocate what Hagee and parsley are advocating.

    June 29, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Snail

    Even after all the primary election hoopla, I still don't know much about Sen. McCain's faith or sense of values, so it meant a lot to me for Rev. Graham to say he was impressed by Sen. McCain's faith and moral clarity on important social issues facing America today.

    What I'd like to know is how a God-fearing democrat could vote for Obama, a man that has shown by his own words that he will help more unborn babies be killed, he will promote homosexuality, and he doesn't love America enough to stand for her for fear of offending someone!

    June 29, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. JC

    In light of John McCain's Christ-like act as a POW when he denied himself freedom from imprisonment and torture out of love for his fellow captives, I am not worried about John's religiosity.

    June 29, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. mitchell hussein martin

    mccain pandering to right wing hipocrites.

    June 29, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Caycee, Pearl City Hawaii

    I hope the Grahams pray for McCain. He needs it, since he's sacrificed himself to Bush.

    June 29, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Roger

    Generation X

    Wow, you've cleverly developed an acronym for PUMA. Good boy!

    McCain '08 The Real American President

    June 29, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Old people talking to older people usually means bad things for the young people...

    June 29, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Reality

    McCain is a Joke !! If the Graham endorse him..then they are a Joke too !!!

    June 29, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Bradley In Colorado

    McCain looks stupid in the photograph. Is there any way to get a good pic of him?

    June 29, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    "Wisdom of our Fathers" The men who built this country must hold steadfast.

    June 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Patrick Lewis

    I find it interesting that Graham is basically staying out of it. I wish other religious people would follow suit. I mean, sure, their issues are important to them and all that, but I think that they are realizing that being one issue voters really does them a disservice in areas of their lives that matter more than someone else's abortion or same-sex marriage.
    What is worse, perceived sins of others than poverty? Idealistic war or domestic pandemics?

    When things are good, you have more stability to worry about blue laws, but when things suck as bad as they do now, suddenly telling others what to do becomes less important.

    June 29, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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