McCain rejects Hagee endorsement – PLUS: McCain and Obama spar over the so-called “GI bill”

CNN reports that after rejecting calls for weeks to reject controversial Texas pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, McCain has changed his mind:

(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.”

These newly-reported comments from Hagee are really no different than what he’s said before that was so controversial, so I’m guessing at this point McCain had tired of the issue continually dogging him and decided to officially reject Hagee’s endorsement (CNN went on to report in an update that Hagee has since rescinded his endorsement of McCain). It’s a political move that will give him time to make amends with Catholics who were greatly offended by McCain’s seeking out and acceptance of Hagee’s endorsement.

Rest assured, however, that many on the far left – who have been complaining for weeks about how there was some type of “double standard” being applied to McCain/Hagee versus Obama/Wright (a double standard which in reality did not and does not exist) – are still not letting it go. Then again, taking the moral relativist argument away from some of these people is like trying to wean a child off of their sippy cup. It ain’t easy.

Related: Marc Ambinder writes about how the Mc slammed Obama today on what he characterized as BO demagoguing McCain’s position on Senator Jim Webb’s GI Bill. Suffice it to say that McCain does not like anyone implying that he, a veteran and a POW, does not support taking care of our troops when they return home. The crux of McCain’s argument against the bill:

“The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran’s length of service. I think it is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb’s bill will reduce retention rates by 16%.

“Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly.

You’d think a man like Obama who claims to want to “stengthen” our military would understand that, right? Apparently not.


“I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.”

Normally, I reject the “I served, you didn’t so how dare you” type arguments, but in this case I’ll make an exception, considering how Obama really has been demagoguing McCain’s position on the GI bill (something he also did at the rally I attended a few weeks ago).

Obama responded by suggesting McCain was engaging in “schoolyard taunts.”

The Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter rates Obama’s characterization of McCain’s position on the GI bill as “Barely True.”

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