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

McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement

, ,

[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. Jaime

    I have a small group of Satan worshiping rock and rollers, where is my faith based money?

    May 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. EDW

    Everybody stay tuned tomorrow to see McCain's health records. They will conveniently come out when everyone is leaving on holiday.

    May 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Pandering

    McCain is such a coniving being! He is such a two faced common politician!

    May 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. No Way the the next Rev Wright?

    May 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. sonofdy

    How exactly does this compare with Obama listening to an anti-american racist preacher for almost 22 YEARS??? Please. No fair minded person could fail to see that obama either was mind blowingly stupid not to see wrights views for 22 YEARS, or agreed with the preacher of hate. Obama thinks he has dodged his past but it has not yet begun to be used against him. A vote for Obama in 2008 is a vote to divide the country even more.

    May 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Debby

    Who cares McCain doesn't go to his church nor was this pastor his mentor for 20 years.

    May 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Major

    Yeahhhh! they (McCain and Parsley) have met only once over breakfast. McCain did not sound that way when he introduced him as moralist.....That`s just another republican hypocrisy. It would have sounded worst if that was directed at a Democrat. PEOPLE WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

    May 22, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. KMAN

    Receiving an unsolicited endorement from a reprobate such as Hagee is one thing ... but McThuselah actively courted this pig! McThuselah is a fraud and an absolute panderer of the worst kind. However, for such an old man ... he sure can do a magnificent flip flop!!!

    May 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Good Grief

    What took so long to cut this idiot loose?

    May 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. JJ

    It took him long enough to reject it! I mean didn't Hagee endorse him several months ago? He's just now rejecting it? What

    May 22, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    About time.

    Now McCain needs to figure out a way to reject Parley and still save face. He sought the endorsement of Parley, and got it with a smile on his face.

    May 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. watchdog

    I thought Rev. Hagee's little model of the hootchie-kootchie girl riding the wild beast was kind of cute. Great way to illustrate the book of Revelation.

    All these wingnuts do incredible damage to the credibilty of Christianity in the unchurched mind. Thanks a lot, guys.

    May 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Jeff in Alabama

    Because of this, I question McCain's decision making abilities. see an old man whom is fumbling around making bad decisions and trying to fix them.

    May 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. jack lenard

    Hagee is a gigantic, offensive, money-grubbing blowhard and should be taken off the air.

    Imus was taken off the air for his were dozens of a Catholic, I am deeply insulted by Hagee's comments....

    May 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Sal Rizo

    It's amazing that it took a quote against Jews to bring this about. His tirades against Catholics and Islam weren't enough. Someone's trying really hard not to upset the powerful Israeli Lobby and AIPAC.

    May 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Laura - Long Island, NY

    It took you long enough Mr. McCain!!!!!

    May 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Ding, Washington, DC

    Haha, haha, What goes around comes around!. Republicans see the fault in others meanwhile leaving a huge log in their eyes. Hypocrisy is the best sense of word!.

    May 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. karl

    CNN will you please run this article over and over again, until at least November, and also, dig up some more factual dirt about Hillary Rodham Clinton, and run that article on your network. I'll be watching your unbias reporting, if you ever get to doing so. Clinton and McCain need some free negative air time on your news shows, daily through November.

    Democracy at Work

    May 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Rob

    So much for the Wright fiasco. In the name of fairness I expect this idiot's ravings to appear for DAYS on every channel-just like Wright. But it won't because the GOP (Greedy Old Pigs) won't allow it.

    May 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Ravi

    McCain rejects Hagee
    Obama rejects Rev. Wright
    So let's get over these pastor comments and think practical now.
    Stop the unfair attacks of former pastors.
    What if you learn that your grandpa is a phsyco after 30 years? The most you could do is try to distance yourself and your family from him and I am sure it would be painful.
    Obama's situation was somewhat like that. That shows his attachment, love, ethical values towards someone he loved once. Thank god, now he is able to get over it.
    Let's not bring these pastor issues again. There are stupid people in this world doing stupid things. We have more important things to consider and make a decision in Nov 2008. This decision will decide the future of our next 4 years
    OBAMA / AL GORE (2008)

    May 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Joe

    McCain is right. Definitely no comparison to the Rev. Wright/Obama relationship. This Hagee guy is just someone who endorsed McCain. He was not his spiritual advisor like Rev. Wright is to Obama. Eventhough now Obama says he never said he was his spiritual advisor....but sorry Obama it's on record.

    May 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Chut Pata

    I am disappointed in you McCain. You are acting like Billary now. You are "Mis-Speaking" as you say you rejected his endorsement as soon as you know about it. Hagee has been saying this BS on national telivison for years, and you have rejected his endorsement NOW!!!.

    I see you taking a cheap shot at Obama, not a denoucement of his endorsement.

    What has become of you, a man of integrity? Obama says you "Out-Bushed" other republicans to be a nominee. I say you are "Out-Billerying" now to be a president.

    Get rid of your Carl Roves and hire McKinnons. You may lose the elections but will keep your integrity and image.

    May 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Hans-Erik Iken

    Well at least we now know that the GOP had better shut their big yaps about Wright as well from now on...

    Can we focus on the real issues from now on? Thank you, that would be a true breath of fresh air.

    Unfortunately for McCain and his mates the issues are what is really killing them: they created the mess the US is in these days for Pete's sakes.

    May 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. April in Texas

    Its about time cover your own butt and you seeked his endorsement... Wow what decision making..

    May 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Jana Delray Bch, Fl


    May 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11