John Edwards Sticks With Controversial Bloggers

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 9, 2007

Former senator John Edwards said yesterday that while he is offended by some inflammatory remarks written by two bloggers before he hired them for his presidential campaign, he is keeping them on anyway.

As The Washington Post reported Monday, Amanda Marcotte wrote of the Duke rape case: "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."

The New York Times reported Wednesday that a second newly hired blogger, Melissa McEwan, had among other things written about President Bush's "wingnut Christofascist base."

After days of criticism by conservative bloggers, Edwards said in a statement: "The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. . . . That kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign."

But Edwards said he wanted to give the bloggers a "fair shake" and that he accepted their word that they never intended to malign anyone's faith. In an obvious allusion to denunciations of the two women by conservative bloggers, Edwards said he would not allow his effort to debate the issues to be "hijacked."

Marcotte said in an online posting that her comments on religion were "generally satirical in nature. . . . My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics."

McEwan said: "It has never been my intention to disparage people's individual faith, and I'm sorry if my words were taken in that way."

The controversy has sparked a backlash among liberal bloggers, who say that conservatives orchestrated an attack on Marcotte and McEwan despite the incendiary rhetoric sometimes used by right-wing commentators online.

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