June 29th, 2008
04:35 PM ET
12 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. FormerGOP

    to Generation: just give it up! it is over and the lady in the paints suite is cool with it. Obama in the Man voting for McBush is not going to change the fact that Hill did not win. so lets move on. better yet vote for McBush! if Hillary did win you would have found some reason to vote for McBush and way, you have not loyalty to the ones you came to love!!!

    June 29, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. JW

    What will we do when Mr. Graham is gone? How many times in the last 50 years have I sought the wisdon the this great man.

    June 29, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. FormerGOP

    To: NEVER Obama
    So what you are saying that McBush never trashed any Repub?? And now he is cool with them that he has won?? Are you trying to say he still does not like his opponents?
    Get your fact straight he never called her a raciest. Just because you keep saying it does not mean he said it. You must be one of those bitter Hillary supporters. It is funny how that woman who lost, even after trying to slip through the cracks understands there can only be one winner! But you bitter mean hateful Hillary people are sad and you really need to be put in time out. That is one reason I was a republican for many yr. the Dem party has a bunch of winner babies in it who will thought a fit just to get there way. A
    But we all know the real reason you will never vote for him…
    You can’t bring yourself to vote for a black man. I understand
    I’m white and I had to come to terms with that fact that this black man
    Will have to be my leader.

    June 29, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. KCBob

    Christ Cultists have screwed this country up enough! Leave your religon in church! For the love of God!

    June 29, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. A nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey I'll endorse John McCain. An easy endorsement. He has the same values that we Americans share. Let's all get behind him and contribute.

    The problem with those Obambots and others of the same ilk, is that they never ask the question what would happen if we departed Iraq?

    We need a public discussion on what may happen, if we leave Iraq, covering all the advantages and disadvantages.

    If we would have had this, maybe bush and the neo's wouldn't have invaded. But we are there and we need a national discourse with some of our bright people.

    Colin Powell said it's like the guy in the china closet dropping a cup. If you break it, you buy it.

    So let's get Powell, some others and Shinsecki and try to find an intelligent, honorable way out of this mess. I think McCain can do that and I don't think the empty suit can.

    June 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Ed Fl

    As a retired navy veteran i am ashamed to see a once proud and strong Navy officer grovel at the feet of losers of all ilks and religions and lobbyists and ther female escorts to become a war mongering suck up to further the ambitions of his lobbyist friends and continue a war mongering mentality. What a disgrace to a once honorable man and service. I thought I could not vote for Obama due to inexperience and lots of talk with no known senses but i am sure now that I can and will vote for him over Mccain because of Mccain 's groveling like a little pig to further someboby's killing of Americas youth. I have 6 grandkids that I fought for to prevent some KOOK from trying to kill them.

    June 29, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Dana in Maryland

    Check out Jeff Sharlett's new book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," if you want to get a better sense of who McCain is talking to. ( tuesday June 24 interview on The Dianne Rheem show WAMU public radio 11:00 segment )

    June 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. FormerGOP

    TO still for Hill
    people like you kill me, you act like every time Hillary opened her mouth she said nothing but good things about Obama, you act like she was soooo clean, remember she was the one who started the race thing! HILL and her people remember “the only reason he has made it this far is because he is black” as to say all the blacks voted for him to get him this far. Hillary was to one who put the rumor out that he was a Muslim! HELLO! So just stop try to make Hillary out to be the victim.

    June 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Independent Voter

    Was there a headline that said Obama did get an endorsement from the Grahams? Or are you just taking the opportunity to make a non-news story into an anti-McCain story, CNN????????

    June 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. saga for Obama

    read all 108 of these post...GOD i love America!!!
    we are the best, some some vile post to those that make a lot of sense...we have the right to speak.
    guys i love the fact that you still bring up Rev. Wright, i wonder if anyone ever listened to the whole sermon? i know you can see some on you tube...don't just listen to the sound bites the media used.
    yeah we have some nut jobs on here too but God Bless em
    Homo Sapien- love what you wrote...

    now i support Obama for many reasons his race is the least. i believe that he will lead our Nation in the right direction.
    as for all his Hillary bashing...please show me a website or something were i can see this for myself. i remember him giving her great respect...more at times than she earned.

    as for Mr. McCain...great meeting, i hope it went well for you but i do not trust you to run our country...if for no other reason KEATING 5.

    KEATING 5 speaks to much of this mans priorities and moral fiber

    June 29, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. Dr. J

    What a shame. Maybe he should have stayed with his first wife and not left her for Cindy. This is sad. Where does McCain go to church? Does he have a pastor? The Evangelicals are not pleased with him. He is going to need more than pastors' endorsements to help him in this election. Bush has already used them.

    June 29, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Time out !!!!

    Lisa ............ Mccain put Hillary on the ticket?............Lisa you are beyond repair...........Bill and Hillary Clinton are diehard Democrats
    The Clintons are supporting Senator Obama.......Now go to the .MOVIES.......You need a break !!!!!

    June 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. km

    All these political leaders smoozing with religious leaders makes me mad. Politics should be totally free from religion, lest we end up like the crazies on the other side of the ocean.

    June 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. FormerGOP

    Peter in VA you have to ask yourself, why are we even at war, why does other country HATE the USA? I will tell you why, Bush, we are bullies trying to police the world. We are currently at war because Bush wanted to go down in history period. If we started off with a responsible president people like you would not have to worry about our safety!!!!! We have to stop the bleeding, heal the words that were caused by MY FORMER PARTY!

    June 29, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Richard, FL

    The Double-Talk Express sails on.

    In his rush to get the support of any "agents of intolerance", McCain tried for a year to get an endorsement from the hapless Rev. Haggee. After Haggee's nonsense finally became known to McCain, he threw him under the bus. Now, he tried to get the Grahams, but they were smart enough not to jump for his hypocritical pitch.

    Independents should ask themselves if this major flip-flopper is just being a hypocrite. IT SEEMS OBVIOUS WHY YOU HAVEN'T HEARD ABOUT MCCAIN'S OWN MINISTER.

    June 29, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. DAN

    After 8 years of Bush who wants Obushama, Its true Bush never flipped flopped like Obama but there gaffs and IQ are closely related. We'll take a dem house and senete with a McCain presidency that should be a good balance for the center.

    June 29, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Aware from the very first post,
    Senator McCain can be that person. Or, he could be the person who had an affair with his current wife while his then wife was trying to recuperate from a debilitating car accident.
    Remember the 10 commandements – thou shalt not commit adultery.

    With that in mind, do you still believe McCain to be that person of moral clarity? If you're in line with Jimmy "I have sinned" Swaggart, and the pastor from Denver Coloardo who had an alleged affair with another man last year, and JIm Bakker who hooked up with his secretary, well then, yes. You of course do believe that McCain is of moral clarity. Especially after he joked about having "stopped beating my wife two weeks ago."

    Or, you could look at Senator Obama who has a lovely wife and has not been charged with any sort of moral ineptitude. Good luck with your prayers tonight.

    June 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Bulldog

    There goes McCon once again. Sucking up to the Super Consertative Evangelicals. John McCon has never been a supporter and butt kisser of evangelicals until 2007 when he began to run for President. Now he is pandering hard for their support and will say anything. What happened to the Straight Talk Express? More like the Straight Con Express.

    June 29, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |

    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.............YOU are not the JUDGE!!!!

    June 29, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. McSame's Propaganda

    Don't know why this is news.

    June 29, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Bulldog

    You Republican Evangelicals better start praying your hearts out that McCon wins. If Obama takes over the White House there will be many GOP thugs going to jail for war crimes. There will be a BIG investigation opened up by the Obama administration and I can name 5 people right off the top of my head that don't stand a chance if that happens. Evangelicals who support thugs and war criminals. Is that what you call forgiving people's sins?

    June 29, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. Priscilla

    McCain is an atheist. He only prayed with the Grahams to try to win the evangelicals.

    June 29, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |

    Warmongers are not Christians. What the heck ever happened to the separation of church and state, anyway?

    June 29, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. Moses

    John McCain was my babysitter

    June 29, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Tim

    For the record, Franklin Graham did meet with Sen. Obama about two weeks back with the rest of the other christian leaders privately to talk about their faith, its role in politics et al.

    In any case, Billy Graham has been a registered Democrat, but has also friends across the aisle. So its not a huge concern that McCain has to meet the Grahams: I mean its a historic ritual of sorts- to pay respect.

    Besides, would Sen. Obama visit the Grahams once before November in NC before November? I think he would, for sure. All Presidents since Truman has had dealings with the Grahams, it must be noted.

    June 29, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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