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

McCain camp ‘rethinking’ Wright issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/02/art.wright0502.ap.jpg caption="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. ND Mom

    Filthy Liar! Maybe it's time for Obama to rethink a few details about
    McShame and Phony Palin!

    October 20, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. the other jd

    Here comes the kitchen sink.

    October 20, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Tiff of lithia springs

    I think it's too late for that mess. People are already lined up at the polls and guess what they are not voting for you. Try and come up with some decent policies. Your campaign is a mess and that is essentially how you will run the white house.


    October 20, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. marie

    Crazy, I will be glad when this election is over. I feel sorry for McCain because he cannot control his own party. Sad

    October 20, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. DeniseGA

    Grasping at straws McCain?

    Lewis speaks for himself, and is not involed with the Obama campaign. So if you want to use Wright, have the courage to cite a VALID reason!

    October 20, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Debbie in Los Angeles

    McShame just couldn't leave it alone... Why was I thinking otherwise??

    Obama/Biden in '08!

    October 20, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Countdown with Keith Olbermann

    Looks like they are already pulling out good old Pastor Wright, maybe that will bring more due attention to the fact that Sarah Palin has a black pastor from Kenya that is a witch doctor.

    October 20, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Tired of the BS

    Too little too late McCain!

    Independent Voting

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 20, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. mk

    well well, isn't this a predictable outcome.
    We all knew they would try to use Wright, problem is,
    He has already been used. It will be viewed by the voters as exactly what it is, a desperate attempt to shift the focus from the issues.

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Sheila43302

    Well, of course they will. What else is new?

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. gerry

    It's pathetic how CNN feel they need to carry the McCain smear mail.

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    And we're rethinking Hagee. Oh, and Cindy's stealing drugs from her charity to support her habits.

    Ain't gonna work, John. Tooooooooo Late. We've been down that road the last two elections.

    I voted for Obama/Biden

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. sophia nyc

    McCain's bid will end with his campaign in the gutter. Good job!

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. south jersey

    go ahead JM

    pull out all the stops.. make the next 2 weeks as bloody and gory

    as you want..

    show how low and base you can be

    go down in history as a sore loser

    Your style doesn't belong in the White House

    October 20, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Boomer1953

    Sad and Pathetic

    They've gone past throwing in the kitchen sink to pumping in raw sewerage How can McCain look in the mirror and be proud of himself and his party. This is sick.

    The republicans may just implode because of this election. A super majority in both houses will render them irrelevent. One party rule is not good, but maybe this will pave the way for a new third party.

    Go Barak!

    October 20, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Tiff of lithia springs


    October 20, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Cynthia; Bham

    It was a losing issue in the primaries and will be the same in the general. The McCain camp has gotten so deep in the gutter until nothing will surpise me. On the other hand, look at the money they have helped Senator Obama bring in. I guess the next month Senator Obama will report $200 million. Everytime that the McCain camp comes out with dumb stuff – people donate more to Obama.

    In addition, McCain has his preacher problems and Palin most CERTAINLY has hers.

    October 20, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Voting for Change

    Repubs still haven't figured out that the negative personal attacks don't work!

    Challenge Obama's economic plan...
    Challenge Obama's foreign policy positions...
    Challenge Obama's domestic positions on energy independence...

    Issues McCain! People want to discuss and hear leaders talk about issues!!!! Continued negative campaigning and personal attacks will make history judge McCain harshley. He's a man of honor....I hope his campaign doesn not contiue to tear him down.

    October 20, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Shame on MCain.

    I expect the worst from McCain and his Rovian band of sociopathic bullies. Nothing is below the belt in this election, not even blatant, horrible lies and racial slurs. Make up your mind, McCain: is Obama a Muslim or Christian? McCain, once a good man, has smeared himself with the filth of a dirty campaign and he reeks of it. If this is the way a man acts while merely running for the office, what on earth is he capable of if he actually gets it?

    October 20, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Wake-up America

    Pathetic!! Keep it up with these personal attacks and you will continue to loose more and more Independent Voters.

    I for one have had enough and I personally know of many others that have also.

    If you can't discuss the issues and what you are going to do for America, then go home in defeat. I just hope there are enough TRUE AMEICANS that can see beyond this B.S.

    October 20, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Danny from Phoenix

    Hyprocrisy at its best. McCain's camp is DESPERATE, and it is showing. They are bringing up relationships as scare tacticts, even though non-partisan organizations and the media debunked the false statements. Absolutely pathetic.

    October 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. TjayeInLA

    Desperate times call for desperate measures and it's fairly clear that McCain's campaign has definitely become desperate.

    October 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Jeff

    Enough of the trying to frame Obama as one way or the other McCain. How about your try and frame your economic policy so we can understand it? We dont want to hear your smears – we want to hear your opinions on topics we care about – the economy, education, heathcare.

    October 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. C from MT

    Hey CNN, you didn't mention that Congressman Lewis did *not* call them racists - he was warning them that playing fast and loose with language to get your supporters angry can have unintended consequences.

    So not only is John McCain distorting a fair criticism from a man he previously praised, not only is he getting his supporters angry to get them to vote, he is now going back on pretty much the only remaining decent act he hasn't reneged on to date.

    Wow. Now THAT is erratic.

    Obama 08.

    October 20, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. The Truth

    McCain is going to go to every negative place he can.
    Because this election, for him, is all about him.
    He is an I candidate, not a we candidate.
    Which is why he's losing and why he will lose.
    Americans had enough of that the past 8 years.

    October 20, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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