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. Hpotterfan77 from CT

    I am completely confused as to why their campaign actually has the n&ts to state was their next plan of attack it. No wonder their behind in the polls....let's tell everyone we're going to smear you and hopefully they're going to buy it?!?!?! That guy is, well, not to edumacated...Obama/Biden '08/'12 for real change!

    October 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Cindy

    If this is the trump card, why was it not played a long time ago?

    October 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Vets Daughter

    No surprise. Play the race card Johnny..we know thats the only one you have left in your hand.

    October 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. casey/ former repub

    Good...then palin can explain her ABUSE OF POWER.
    Actually you dont even have to say anything. Just let the out of touch campaign continue to ruffle feathers and shake up things. Maybe they
    can replace Sarah with Joe the Plumer. Thats seems to be working a liitle.

    October 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Wendy in NC

    McCain camp is playing their own game of 'Limbo'. How low can you go?

    Wright is old news and the general public has had enough of it, Ayers and all the other old news the GOP is dredging up.

    I'm going positive. Obama/Biden for me!

    October 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Lyndon

    Another pathetic ploy by the most pathetic presidential campaign in modern political history. Dukakis has nothing on these guys.

    October 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Tannim

    IOW, they are digging deep to find ANYTHING that could stick.

    Signs of a desperate and losing campaign.

    Also signs that they really don't have anything to run on.

    And that's why it's no surprise that Obama is up 2-1 in Electoral College projections.

    October 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. Murf

    The McCain camp must be suicidal to even consider resurrecting the issue of Reverend Wright. Suicidal.

    If they think they're in trouble now they ain't seen nothing yet. Raising this issue again will consign the republican party to the sidelines for the next thirty years and will prove once and for all that they don't learn from their mistakes.

    October 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Bea

    we know about Rev wright....who cares...but if you want to bring it on...you know Palin has her own Pastor problem but the truth is..no one cares about what McCain has to say anymore. No one. IT WONT WORK for no weapon formed against Barack Obama shall prosper and he doesn't go to that church any more.

    October 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. John: Bitter And Not Better

    McCain is grabbing at straws and trying to justify why they're going to use Reverend Wright. He's going to use the Rev because he losing, end of story. Whatever morals he had when the campaign started went out the window when he started sliding in the polls.

    Grow some morals John and lose honorable, not like Hillary when she said she would stay in the race in case something "happened" to Barack.

    Don't leave bitter John, just leave.

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. dld

    Oh for the love of God, is this McCain campaign ever going to step out of the gutter?
    I just saw Palin saying in essance that she does not like the negative part of the campaign. Yeah right! It is all she has done! & nasty nasty to boot!!!
    They may be hearing that people think they are wrong; so now time to switch gears yet again....

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. Ann

    I guess desperate times call for desperate measures....McCain and Palin you are so negative no one is even listening anymore (except for morons who are easily duped).

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Jaynie

    It would be a mistake. Although I guess when you have nothing left to lose you don't mind giving up your honor and dignity. I think it would be a dirty ploy and it would probably backfire. McCain's having enough issues because of negative campaigning. It would work on the base but it would turn off the majority of independents.

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Deena

    My gosh this stinks so much of desperation. Nothing seems to be working for McCain so he is grasping at straws. First Ayers, then "redistribution of wealth", now going back to "Jeremiah Wright" – this is beyond pathetic and I guess people (who dont follow blindly) are going to see these sad attempts for what it is. Go OBAMA/ BIDEN

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. david Armendale, SF, CA

    McCain will surrender his last shred of decency if he chooses to reverse himself on the Rev. Wright issue – and will politically be cutting his own throat in the process. Just as focusing on the Ayers issue has backfired on McCain by being seen as untrue and irrelevant to the pressing matter of the economy, so too will any effort to divert attention to Rev Wright.

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Carl

    Go for it! Give it your best shot. Average joe's like ar tired of this nonsense. With the condition of the economy and all you want to talk about is this crap.

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. Shawndra

    The McCain campaign manager needs to be fired. Rick Davis has not learned anything from the Democratic primaries. Rev Wright is no longer is an issue for Barack Obama. The American people saw how sincere Obama was when he dismissed himself from Rev. Wright. Also Sarah Palin may not want to bring up the Wright issue because we all saw how the african preacher that she claim led her to her faith was praying witch craft out of her. OMG!! John McCain is afraid to even talk about his faith.

    October 20, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. redhead from Toronto

    Sen. McCain, Remember this – you raise one, Barack will raise you one better, you know, tit for tat, don't you think you have been divisive enough, where is the McCain of 2000. Do you think you should be held responsible for every person you ever met, every church you sat in, every meeting you ever went to? John, John, where did you go?

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    More desperation by UNSTABLE / UNABLE

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. Rae

    That's funny. I don't remember Congressman Lewis calling them racists or comparing them to George Wallace. I believe he said they were creating an atmosphere of division and hatred.

    Don't think they are going to change too many minds if they go this route.

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Georgia vote

    McCain has nowhere to go but dirty.

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. adam

    its so obvious McPlain cant win on the issues. he cant win on being a uniter. he cant win with a positive message. its disgusting the desperation tactics coming from that campaign. how can you be happy winning that way. McPlain makes me sick to my stomach.

    Obama is the ONLY choice.

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Carmen

    Pathetic! They're deliberately distorting what Lewis said in a sad attempt to justify baseless attacks, knowing that attacks are all McCain has left.

    October 20, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Not surprising from McCain, the master of the low road. However, the American people have heard this, and dealt with it. We are over that. Obama, unlike McCain or his whiny counterpart has the capacity to do, gave an historical speech on race that Americans will never forget, especially when McPalin pulls a racist prank like again reviving the Rep. Lewis statements and the Rev. Wright issue. It's too late, McGrumpy and Madame Troopergate. Please give it up and go home!
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!!

    October 20, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. Penny

    John McCain said...............and why, at this point would anyone believe anything John McCain said? He has lied and flip flopped on virtually every thing he has said......no surprise here.

    October 20, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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