October 20th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain camp ‘rethinking’ Wright issue

The McCain campaign may be 'rethinking' it's decision not to discuss Rev. Wright.
The McCain campaign may be 'rethinking' it's decision not to discuss Rev. Wright.

(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis suggested in an interview that the campaign may be "rethinking" its decision not to use Barack Obama’s relationship with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright in the campaign.

McCain himself has not responded to questions about why he might be reluctant to cite Wright. During the primary season, Hillary Clinton had predicted that Republicans would use the controversial minister to attack Obama, if he were to become the Democratic nominee.

Now – in a new interview being circulated by the McCain camp – Davis is pointing to recent comments by Obama supporter John Lewis as a reason some in the campaign are weighing a shift in that policy.

Lewis had compared the atmosphere at some McCain-Palin rallies to coded racial appeals by late segregationist George Wallace during his own presidential run.

“Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign,” Davis told conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.

“Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we’re all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you’ve got to rethink all these things,” he added. “And so I think we’re in the process of looking at how we’re going to close this campaign. We’ve got 19 days, and we’re taking serious all these issues.

Prominent conservatives – including McCain’s own running mate Sarah Palin – had questioned his decision not to raise the Wright issue in the campaign’s waning days.”


Filed under: Jeremiah Wright • John McCain
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Patricia, Thousand Oaks, CA

    That wouldn't be surprising. McCain doesn't have much ammunition left. It's terribly saddening to see this once American hero selling his very soul for power. It doesn't really have anything to do with "doing the best thing for the country". It's all about McCain's fierce ambition. Give it up and leave gracefully, Senator McCain, while you can still hold your hear up – sorta!

    October 20, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. John , IL.

    That will be the last desperate act of a desperate campaign.
    Everyone already heard this all before. McCain said he would
    not go there, but here he goes. This man and his campaign
    have been a walking contradiction. "CNN poll says McCain
    attacks unfair" Do they REALLY think this will turn the tide?

    October 20, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. Juggernaut

    Reverend Wright is a footnote in history. The Obama Juggernaut is coming to Washington, D.C. with the power and might of most Americans. We want a change of the good old boy network and we're sending Barack to get it done.

    This country is bigger than John McCain and Reverend Wright. Can you say 150 million dollars raised for the Obama campaign last month–hello?

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Bulldog

    Here we go again. The real question is will the media fall for it once again. This was a concocted smear that originate from Sean Hannity. Yes, the extreme right radical, Sean Hannity did all the legwork getting Reverend Wright in the national spotlight. I don't know about you, but just about anything out of Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh's mouth is useless nonsense.

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Tim

    It was only a matter of time. Why don't they talk about answers to the problems we face!!!

    Is anyone else not infuriated? They have nothing but attacks. Where is the substance???

    America doesn't care about this! They care about Health Care, the War and the Economy. What are you going to do for those issues McCain?

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Carol

    Lying in the same "bed" you catch the same discease. You become a socialist. That's what happened to obama. He NEVER started out like the rest of the average American taxpayers. Work hard, believe in the rights of the American citizens, be proud. Our values go way back to the start of our nation. Why we came here, fought for and why we stay here instead of haring off to another country seeking a "better life." It doesn't get any better than this. America is where everyone around the world flocks to. The current problems we have can be attributed to not one man, not one party but to a system that needs renovating. Our government needs to be re-vamped. Electing obama will not solve problems in any quick time. He has the wrong end of the stick.

    John McCain has our INTERESTS foremost, the VOTERS first, and COUNTRY FIRST.

    VOTE WISELY, your life and way of living depends on it. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and these problems we have will not be resolved quickly either. Don't look for results within the first 3 or 4 years.

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Bringing up Rev. Wright would show more desperation than ever by the McCain campaign. Obama did not speak the words the pastor spoke, nor has he given any evidence that he would act on the Rev's ideas. Who would look the most silly? McCain/Palin and company.

    Palin actually participated (by being prayed over with a man who says he gets rid of bewitched persons) with a group who has questionable
    credibility about spirituality. That would be emphasised by Obama supporters and people who have already voted for him if Wright were
    to be mentioned. Remember, Palin called the Iraq War God's war.

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. John

    You have utilized everything else, Big J. Why not this? Surely, it may take individuals minds off the real issues and isn't that what your campaign is about?

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Unshrub

    Old man McCain: don't you know people are tired of this type of campaigning. However, go ahead and do it, Obama can use the extra boost this will give him.

    October 20, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Joseph Adewole

    I was told that Sarah is a christian, she will then tell her Party not to judge anyone that calls himself a man of God. The bible says; towards the end, some will come and perform miracles even wake the dead, that it would be better if they were not born because of god's wrath that will fall on them...Who are we then to query God? i think Americans know better when it comes to OUR CREATOR.

    October 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Wes

    Who ever doubted they would? Considering the smears they have already tried it was only a matter of time. The sad thing is if you listen to ALL of Rev. Wright's sermon, from start to finish, well...it isn't so "scary".

    What's up with Palin and the CBN/700 Club? Old Pat said essentially the same thing for different reasons and his audience is considerably larger than Rev. Wright's. Bring up Rev. Wright? Then should bring up Palin's witch doctor and radical pastor. And WHEN is the so called liberal elitist media going to investigate Palin's AIP palling around and sleeping with secessionists ties?

    October 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Well, we have seen the kitchen sink..... AND the bathroom sink... is anyone surprised that we are now getting the Commode?

    October 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. onelove

    Rick, you should get your facts straight first. John Lewis did not accuse fifty million Americans around the country of being racist. He accused Sen. McCain of inciting an atmosphere like George Wallace. And it's true.

    But go ahead bring up Rev. Wright. It will prove how much hate is in your heart.

    October 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. Don't believe the hype

    When all else fails.... Here comes the race thing again. McCain, please get out with some kind of dignity.

    October 20, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. j

    Old news. I'm a lot more concerned about Palin's witch hunting preacher than Wright and even then, not very.

    October 20, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Joan , Ontario

    Well if he does bring up Rev. Wright, then the Obama campaign has every right to show those clips of Sarah Palin with the "witch doctor" pastor. That should be pretty interesting stuff.

    October 20, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Joey

    You know the Republicans are going to go there. They are professionals in running sleezy campaigns. Anything to get in the White House is their Motto. Forget developing an economic plan, a healthcare plan, education plan, or environmental plan. It baffles me that some American public continues to support these scum bags

    October 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. jules

    I think McCain should absolutely use Wright. After all, all the Obama supporters are already saying McCain is using negative campaiging. I've lived through many presidential elections and this one pales in negativity compared to most. McCain is bringing up issues that matter to me. Obama's character is a huge issue. After all, he wants to be president of the greatest country on earth. Obama cannot say that, after 20 years of attending the same church and listening to the same preacher, a preacher that Obama has called his second father in fact, he didn't know what this preacher believed in. He didn't know that Wright hates America. Wright is a radical. Ayers is a radical. ACORN is radical. There are too many to be just a coincidence. Obamanuts need to open their eyes. Obama has brainwashed so many. I'm amazed that the American people are so guilible. They fell for Bush's bs and they have now fallen for Obama's bs. Please, McCain, you must show people the true Obama. I have voted Dem in every election since 1976 but this time I know I can trust McCain. I know Obama is scary.

    October 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. lil yogini, san diego (north county)

    Oh, come on, John. Do you have any shred of integrity left? After you said you wouldn't touch it? You have broken every single one of your "promises" to run a positive campaign. Where's the straight talk express?

    Definitely the kitchen sink.

    October 20, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. Marilyn Miami Fl

    If McCain brings up Rev. Wright it will be the final nail in his coffin. I'm already turned off by his negative ads and out right lies but that will be it. I hope and pray he doesn't go there because if he does he will be proving what Lewis said. It will be seen as an attack on his race and it will turn very very ugly! Don't Do IT!!!!

    October 20, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Bama4Obama

    Smells like...desperation! The McCain camp will say ANYTHING to get elected-how pathetic! Tell us-when is Caribou Barbie going to release her medical records? I'd love to know how and why she "hid" her last pregnancy for 7 months-is the kid really hers?

    October 20, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Kevin

    I really don't care about Rev. Wright, Ayers, or anyone else. This election is about us, not Obama.

    Obama/Biden ...we're voting in Florida

    October 20, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. William

    Give me a break... if the GOP goes to Rev Wright there will be ads with Palin standing with her witch doctor all over the place in no time flat. I wouldn't open that can of worms if I were McCain.

    October 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. voter in PA

    Not surprising... McCain will do and say anything nowadays. Nov 4th couldnt come sooner so that we dont have to hear from the McCain/Palin camp anymore, they truly make me sick

    October 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. hometowndemocrat

    My guess is that we will NOT hear a country wide gasp of shock WHEN McCain cashes in his last few ounces of integrity and plays the Wright card.

    The unprincipled behavior of this ticket is beyond measure.

    October 20, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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