August 18th, 2008
12:03 PM ET
15 years ago

Analysis: Is McCain finding his way on faith?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain talks about his military service more than his faith."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - On a rainy evening last December in the upstate South Carolina town of Greer, as his once-languishing campaign was clawing its way back into contention, John McCain hosted a town hall meeting at a diner called Pete's Drive-In.

He talked about the issues that usually stir his passions - a commitment to service, winning the war in Iraq, fighting pork-barrel spending - before taking questions from a small audience of Republican primary voters.

As the event neared its conclusion, a man in the back of the restaurant raised his hand and broached a topic not often heard at the VFW and American Legion halls where McCain preferred to campaign.

"I was wondering if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior?" the voter asked.

McCain, positioned before a large American flag, paused and lowered his head.

"I am a man of faith," he responded. "I have deep religious beliefs and values. I had experiences in my life where I had to rely on God not to get me through another day or another hour, but another minute."

Related: Can McCain win over social conservatives?

The questioner, not satisfied, pressed the candidate again on whether he had let Christ into his life.

"I also believe that talking too much about one's faith and religion, in my view, is something between me and God," McCain said. The crowd clapped.

Eight months later, the GOP nominee-in-waiting sat onstage with mega-pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in California, earning cheers for telling an audience of evangelicals that he was "saved and forgiven."

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Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Mary - Dallas

    Pastor Rick Warren had different rules for Barack than McCain. He allowed MCain to campaign through the entire debate. McCain had quick answers because he knew the questions. Do you think he could have remembered all of the Supreme Court Justices when he can't remember anything else.

    Barack answered the questions from his heart.

    August 18, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Amy

    I search YouTube about McCain's ex-wife, my tears was out, my vote is not going to the person who treated his wife like dirt !

    August 18, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Geoz

    He won't need to find his way so much as the evangelicals will find more reasons to like him. Within the leadership, they have it in for Obama. He's black and liberal and, in spite of the rhetoric, the beliefs of the man just don't matter. Evangelicals would be the first to feed this Christian (Obama) to the lions.

    They wish to pretend that it is a moral issue, but as soon as a faithful man like Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama presents the opportunity, the supposed faith-based voters find something else to talk about.

    August 18, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    McCain went in there and said what he knew the "base" wanted to hear from him. The word "pandering" comes to mind. His answers were not thoughtful at all........he just snapped out canned responses in rapid succession. McCain takes an awful lot of positions that go contrary to Christian teachings to be touting himself as a person of great faith. He just this morning went before the VFW and talked about his committment to veterans even though he recently opposed the new GI Bill. He is two-faced and not to be trusted.

    August 18, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Tom C

    I drive my spouse crazy because I do not come up with quick, flippant answers when asked a question. I have to take 4 or 5 seconds to analyze what I want to say. This is why I like Obama, he is not in a hurry to come up with an answer. He wants to mull and process. Quick answers lead to bad results many time. Also I McCain is going to get Osama, where is he going to get the troops to do this when he is going to keep them in Iraq for years to come?

    August 18, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Mike, Vancouver BC

    It appears that cnn likes to mold the information viewed her in the direction they want regardless if information has already been printed elswhere and brought to this foum. How democratic is that?

    I suggest you go see "" and look at the Jerome Corsi book, "Obama Nation".

    John McCain should come out against this publication in full force because it attacks religion across the map regardless of which religion you come from. It is essentially the same book that he attacked John Kerry in "Unfit for Command". John McCain will not be saved and forgiven unless he stands against this vial and repugnant retorick. He may even have contracted it's writing.

    Thank you CNN

    August 18, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. David/Florida

    You can smell the Rat. Sure, MCFlipflop did not have a TV in the waiting Room, but he had his Blackberry in his pocket. The whole Forum was poisoned with religion. Church & State don't belong together. We were beiing raked over the coals once again with this fake Forum. God help us all if McSenile gets elected. Hillary 08/12

    August 18, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Flip Flop Obama

    Yes he is. I was truly inspired by his words at the the last debate. While McCain was answering questions head on, mr. Slick(Obama)was studdering playing both sides of each issue.

    Example: Obama said "I am pro choice but I will work to reduce abortions"??????????????????????????????

    Get real. Take a stand Barrack and stick with it Mr. Flip Flop.

    McCain a true American hero and a MAN of his words.

    August 18, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. TSAH

    I don't care what he said about being SAVED or NOT – he NEVER once mentioned Jesus!!! He mentioned God once!!!! And I am surprised at his answer when he knew ALL of the questions beforehand – they should have schooled him a lttle more to get it straight!!!

    August 18, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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