Last February, hard-line conservative evangelical Pastor John Hagee endorsed Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) candidacy for president. Despite Hagee’s history of controversial and bigoted comments –- such as calling Catholicism “The Great Whore” and blaming Hurricane Katrina on gays –- McCain said he was “very honored” to receive the endorsement, one which he also reportedly sought.
McCain has since both “repudiate[d]” and defended Hagee’s intolerant remarks. But McCain’s double-talk on Hagee went a step further yesterday on ABC’s This Week when he seemed a bit confused as to whether or not he still accepts Hagee’s endorsement –- first agreeing that it was a “mistake” to accept it, but less than 30 seconds later saying he is “glad” to have it:
STEPHANOPOULOS: So was it a mistake to solicit and accept his endorsement?
MCCAIN: Oh, probably, sure. […]
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you no longer want his endorsement?
MCCAIN: I’m glad to have his endorsement. I condemn remarks that are, in any way, viewed as anti-anything. And thanks for asking.
Indeed, McCain has been confused quite a bit lately on a wide range of issues:
– McCain falsely suggested that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a “sect of Shi’ites.”
– McCain falsely claimed Moktada al-Sadr “declared the cease-fire” after recent fighting in Basra and has said he is both a “major player” in Iraq and that his influence “has been on the wane for a long time.”
– Economists and nonpartisan analysts have said recently that the numbers in McCain’s economic plan simply “don’t add up.”
– McCain has made the elimination of earmarks a cornerstone of his presidential campaign but he can’t name any he would eliminate.
– In a matter of one day, McCain said Americans are both “better off” and “not better off” than they were before President Bush took office.
McCain’s latest 30-second flip-flop represents the political dance he must engage in to try to appeal to both the conservative evangelical wing of the Republican Party and independent-minded Americans. But despite all his back and forth, the media still seem happy to promote McCain’s self-proclaimed persona as a “straight-talking maverick.”