May 22nd, 2008
04:51 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement

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[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Pastor John Hagee endorsed McCain earlier this year."](CNN) - In the face of mounting controversy over headline-grabbing statements from Pastor John Hagee, CNN has learned presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has decided to reject his endorsement.

The Huffington Post had published a recording of Hagee saying that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” McCain said in a statement to CNN Thursday.

He added that his relationship with Hagee did not compare with Obama’s lengthy association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today,” said McCain.

The Arizona senator had earlier renounced comments from Hagee that termed the Catholic church "the great whore" and "an apostate church."

Update after the jump: Hagee rescinds McCain endorsement

In a statement released before McCain rejected his endorsement, Hagee said his words had been taken out of context. "The intentional mischaracterization of my statements by an Internet journalist seeking to use me as a political football in the upcoming presidential race is a gross example of bias at its worst. I will not stand idly by while my character is assassinated and my views on the Holocaust are grossly distorted.

"To assert that I in any way condone the Holocaust or that monster Adolf Hitler is the biggest and ugliest of lies. I have always condemned the horrors of the Holocaust in the strongest of terms." He also pointed to millions of dollars worth of donations his ministry had made to humanitarian efforts in Israel.

McCain has faced similar pressure to distance himself from Minister Rod Parsley over the minister’s statement that Islam was “an antichrist religion that intends through violence to conquer the world.” A McCain aide downplayed the association, telling CNN Thursday that the senator had met Parsley only one time, over breakfast, and was not aware of the minister’s statements before accepting his endorsement.

UPDATE: Citing critics who had been "grossly misrepresenting" his positions since his decision to back John McCain, Hagee withdrew that endorsement Thursday afternoon.

"I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues. I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Senator McCain for President effective today, and to remove myself from any active role in the 2008 campaign," he said in a statement.

"I hope that the Senator McCain will accept this withdrawal so that he may focus on the issues that are most important to America and the world."

(updated with Hagee reaction)

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. hmmmmm.....sounds fishy

    didn't MC CAin publicly get an endorsement from Hagee a few months ago.....see Mc Cain says I don'thave a long standing relationship with Hagee......that is no excuse it makes it even shadier that he sought out the endorsement with no relationship.....everyone else knew what Hagee was about then......Obama di not make wright part of the campaign.....clinton and the right wing made Wright more than what he is on the Obama campaign.......being short this guy has no clue....considering experience.......I'm sure it wont be as big of a deal as Obama and Wright ....given that these two bufoons are no strangers to the media

    May 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. This is Just as Stupid As Republicans

    Mccain has one problem out of the millions that plagues him most. Obama knows the mccain supporters that wont support him will never support him, but there are a good number of supporters that will that will =. but US OBAMA SUPPORTERS AS HAPPY ADN INSPIRED AS WE ARE WILL ABSOLUTLEY NEVER EVER EVER SUPPORT MCCAIN AND THAT GOES FOR EVERY OBAMA SUPPORTER MCCAIN CAN NEVER GET MY VOTE


    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. dan davenport

    McCain is in his"life cleansing" mode at the moment, getting rid of all the people that would come back to haunt him during his run against Obama. I wonder if his wife will make the cut??? She is appearing in VOGUE wearing a "youthful" appearance to a very old candidate, one who has a violent temper and seems to forget things quite a bit. McCain is old Washington style of politics, we deserve a "fresh" start and new beginning.

    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Daniella from Puerto Rico

    Forget all the pastors-the Obama cult train is about to come to a screeching halt. Why? Hillary is going to run as an Independent.

    Obamanians are toast.

    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Terry, Dallas Texas

    McCain's followers are cringing and running to blog as fast as they can that this is not the same as Wright. The difference is that he SOUGHT the endorsment of a anti Catholic, anti Semitic nut job and happily smiled and hugged him in front of everyone. The Republican fiaso that started in 2006 rolls on. Do as I say, not as I do.

    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Arlington TX

    Hillary will take his endorsement since MCBush don't want it..

    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Curtis

    I'm just waiting for the endless snippets of tape looped by the media and the righteous indignation of voters...Something tells me I'll be waiting a long time.

    May 22, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. ralph

    God is everywhere and he knows that the only one left to change the
    American mentallity is Obama,why you guys think that Clinton
    wins in those small county???
    because as republican there are some recist democrat too,the world needs an American president as OBAMA as soon as posible to save the world,with Mcain war will extend around the world.

    May 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Tony V

    For all the idiots on this website that are falling all over themselves to make this equivalent to Jeremiah Wright 4 things:

    (1) This guy is not McCain's pastor, certainly not HIS SPIRITUAL ADVISOR and de facto UNCLE who performed McCain's wedding ceremony.

    (2) McCain rejected him immediately, unlike Obama with Wright and Farrakan

    (3) Hagee is taken out of context, we only have the word of biased reporters to know what he said, there's no MIND-BLOWING VIDEO OF A LOOPY MANIAC D@MN*NG AMERICA AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS TO THE CHEERS OF HIS WHACKED OUT CONGREGATION

    (4) The more you try to do this the more we'll see that incredible video, the more your candidate will suffer. SO GO AHEAD DEMS, KNOCK YOURSELVES OUT, KEEP TRYING, PLEASE, I'D LOVE TO SEE MORE NEWS CYCLES WITH JEREMIAH WRIGHT AS FEATURED LUNATIC

    May 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. This doesn't matter either

    Didn't he research this man and know how he felt about Catholicism and Jews BEFORE seeking out his endorsement? And what about Rev. Parsley? Will he reject him, too?

    Rev. Wright spoke harshly about racism and those who oppress; I've never connected why that means he "hates", but I do realize that many prefer to believe that Blacks sit in church praying and loving those who oppress them. But, this man is openly hateful and McCain WENT AFTER him. And it looks like the same folks who were enraged by Rev. Wright don't really find much issue with that.

    Oh well; on with the race, I mean, election.

    May 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. susie

    Who can forget Rev. Wright, now he was a character, Obama sat in that church 20 years. Where is Rev. Wright now?

    May 22, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Obama is a fraud

    Obama supporters think Obama can just wave a magic wand and things will change once he become president. Any president will make changes. I rather have Hillary in the office that has way more experiences. Obama is like Bush back in 2000. All talk and promises and guess where it got us to know. A war and in debt. Obama supporters wake up and stop drinking the koolaid!!

    May 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Brian

    Hmmm if you can equate Obama to Wrights view then I guess you can use the same perverted logic to equate McCain to Hagee's views

    May 22, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Davind King

    McCain is as bad as Clinton. He changes positions with the temperature andthe wind! He'll do anything to get his agenda accros!

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. infogiant

    What a surprise, John didn't research something before making a decision. Sounds like his Iraq war vote or gas tax holiday idea, economic policy, oh, just pick a policy...they're all just tax cuts for corporations or panders to get votes so he can give tax cuts to corporations.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Blue collar worker

    On the far right you got Pastor John Hagee, for Mccain.

    .On the far left you got Rev Wrieght for Obama.

    .In the center is America's best hope, for Sen Clinton.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Eric

    Watchdog, you said it!

    I may not be religious, but I happen to know a lot of Christians who aren't nearly as insane as this guy 😉

    In all seriousness though, I think your run of the mill non-christian knows that the vast majority of Christ believers are just as normal as anyone else with a level head... and totally separate from the HATE that spews forth from this guy's mouth.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I am always amazed at the Black's stating that someone "dis'd" them. Geez, will they ever learn to speak English?

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. TJ Johnson

    There is no way either of the candidates can be responsible for everything all of their supporters happen to believe/say.

    Hagee and Parsley are not/never have been McCain's pastors. McCain, when he is in AZ, attends a Baptist church where he lives.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. John

    I still don't understand most of you people. Just because i listen to someone does not mean i agree with them. Doesn't matter if it is the nutjob Wright or the whackjob Hagee. The world is not simply black and white, there is more to it than this ridiculous dichotomy that people seem to apply where you're either in 100% agreement or 100% disagreement with something.

    Good grief, grow up people.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. American expat

    For a nation which is supposedly based on religious freedom and equality, I am amazed that I constantly hear the Anti-Islamic sentiments expressed by Americans. Rev. Parsley's comments are outrageous just has Hagee's, yet McCain has only really rejected Hagee's endorsement. There are others that have made a big thing out of Barack's middle name believing that he is Muslim when he has repeatedly stated he's not. I wish that people would learn a little bit about Islam before they go shooting off their mouths about things that they don't know anything about! Also, just because one doesn't go around wearing a US flag pin or posting the US flag on their homes does not make a person is unpatriotic! I am tired of all hearing all the hate and bigotry that is going on in America.

    May 22, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. James Johnson

    The greatest gift from my God is free will. Through my faith in him to make all things right I learn to forgive. Allah, the Muslim god does not give the gift of free will. Muslim forgiveness seems to contain some type of human punishment like torture or death. I will not worship no other god than the one who sent is son to die on a cross for allof our sins.

    May 22, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Butch Dillon

    Believe this if you will, but McCain is not through with Hagee just yet. In another month or so, Johnny Mac is going to reverse himself again when he learns the only votes he's going to get will come because of the Rev's tainted support.

    May 22, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Ms. GA

    It's really funny how he brings Wright up when his PASTOR comes under fire.

    May 22, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. FEDUP

    Obama is pandering, why is he now wearing a flag pin. Now that it looks af if Florida and Michigan won't matter he is suddenly ready to seat them. What a jerk.

    May 22, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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