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. Annie

    This life long Democrat is left with no choice but to vote for McCain.

    I can not support a Democratic candidate who participated in a racist church for the past 20 years. It goes against our Democratic beliefs and fight against racism.

    Are we supposed to excuse the racism now just because the candidate who participated in the racist church is black?

    NO We do what we always do and we stand up against people who participate and contribute to Racism and Hatred. This year that candidate is Obama.

    No OBAMA

    June 29, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. McCain=the draft

    McCain's all about war and more war.
    He's a dead end road.

    June 29, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Bill from Oklahoma

    didn't billy graham endorse Dubya 2 times

    June 29, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. joel

    Now...McCain is the one on the far left?

    June 29, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. PG

    YAWNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! Man, I'm getting the McSame fever.

    June 29, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. james

    McCain will need a lot more help than what you media types and republicans can provide. What you all fail to understand is the old adage"With God on my side, who shall be against me." What's in the dark will come to light.
    Obama/Carolyn Kennedy 08'

    June 29, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Glad to be an Independent

    For all of the attention Obama has gotten for his trouble attracting white blue-collar workers. McCain is still having a major problem attracting social conservatives. The fact that the Grahams did not endorse him shows the problem he is having. Even when all of the other candidates dropped out of the primaries, McCain was losing votes to candidates not in the race anymore. At this point, McCain has not convinced a large segment of social conservatives to now support him. Many of them will stay home on Election Day.

    June 29, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Devon Spencer

    George Bush used religion to help get elected but it won't work this time...
    Obama is standing out for EVERYONE no matter what your religion is.

    Obama '08

    June 29, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Hispanics for Obama

    Moral clarity?? Didnt John McCain leave his first wife shortly after meeting Cind McCain?

    June 29, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Florida - RFO

    Senator McCain: Thanks for your outstanding service over the past 50 years.

    Obama for America

    June 29, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Biz

    I am a republican and i love BUSH.
    If you love BUSH as well, please vote for McBush! Ye-Haw.

    June 29, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Casey in CA.

    @still for Hill

    What planet are you on? Really, I am curious, because none of that happened hear on Earth.

    It's easy to see that McCain's straight talk has done more 180s than Linda Blair in the Exorcist... his stance on the issues are out there on public video for anyone to see.

    You see, John... this is the age of the Internet & cell phones with cameras... anything can and will be online forever not long after you do it.

    Tons of sites out there with it. NoBushThirdTerm is one.

    June 29, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Sheri

    McCain, McSame, McWar, McNafta and Mcbush etc. Which one is the greater? Mr. Graham is a very WISE man. He does not agree with McCain, there is something that just does not register with him spiritually concerning McCain, and that is why he is not endorsing him. I wonder what it is? Maybe it is what the opening remarks of my statement is.

    June 29, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Marilyn, Powell, Ohio

    We let the religious conservatives pick our last president and look where that got us. Rev. Graham has led many people to Christ but he has also made terrible remarks about other religions.....and was "in" with too many politicians so his endorsement wouldn't do anything for me; I can think for myself. McCain will do or say ANYTHING to get President before his name and I was for him in 2000. I was a Hillary supporter all the way and am one of those "older" Democratic women who felt she was wronged. I swore I would not vote or vote for McCain but I have come to my senses and will vote for Obama. This country is headed in a terrible direction and 7 /12 years of George Bush and his Republican partners has not helped any of us.

    June 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Billy Graham is just another hate monger. It sickens me to even think of a potential President meeting with militant religious people.

    June 29, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Peter

    Franklin Graham knows McCain is going to lose. He will keep his powder dry for 4 years when Jebb Bush runs. then he will be able to endorse someone who will be in a position to repay his support. Sad, but most likely true!

    June 29, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Sheri

    Please do not say bad things about any minster or clergy . They are to be respected by all of us. Included;

    Father Pfleger
    Rev. Hagee
    Rev. Wright
    Rev. Parsley
    Rev. Graham
    and Mr. Dobson (even if we don't agree with them) this is wise to do.

    June 29, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. jimntat

    Almost makes me want to vote for McCain since these wingnuts won't even endorse him! Must be something good about McCain, the way I see it!! NOT!

    June 29, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Pat M

    Uncle Sam:

    Well then I hope Joe Biden gets on the bandwagon Now, cause we're just about to have Two wars for John to do everything that he can to get us out of ! Georgie and Dickie are now making plans for an attack on Iran! This time the supposition is Nuclear Weapons vs. WMD's.
    God Help Us All if those elected officials making the big salaries don't do something truly worthy of earning their salaries soon!

    June 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |

    Thank goodness he didn't get there endorsment, a young punk and an old fart who can't recall one day from the next, he is better off not to get any support from these two nobodies.

    June 29, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. New York

    mccains is a looser flip floper thats why people stop liking him. go home mccains warmonger. obama 08!!!!1

    June 29, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Michael Ray Thompson

    Wow, John McCain is an American hero. Barak Obama is a one term senator. I think it's clear who is the better qualified to be President of the most powerful nation on Earth.

    June 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Von Bismark Vienna

    In politics we can have strange bed fellows!

    June 29, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  24. janie

    I wonder how many of the people blogging here even know that Billy Graham is a registered Democrat!!!

    June 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. AVEMBE The sun

    This is just incredible!!!!!!!!!!

    June 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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