A CRITIC IS CRITICIZED
Catholic Groups Angry at McCain Over Endorsement
HOUSTON -- The president of the Catholic League blasted John McCain on Thursday for accepting the endorsement of Texas evangelist John Hagee, calling the controversial pastor a bigot who has "waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church."
Hagee, who is known for his crusading support of Israel, backed McCain's presidential bid Wednesday, standing next to the senator at a hotel in San Antonio and calling McCain "a man of principle."
But Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement Thursday that Hagee has written extensively in negative ways about the Catholic Church, "calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.' "
"Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee," Donohue said.
Catholics United, a national online group, also criticized McCain. "By receiving the endorsement of an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, McCain once again demonstrates that he is willing to sell out his principles for a chance to win the Presidency," Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United, said in a statement. "We hope Senator McCain will take the principled position of publicly and unequivocally distancing himself from Pastor Hagee's anti-Catholic comments. Intolerance and bigotry do not belong in American politics."
The McCain campaign declined to comment on the statements.
-- Michael D. Shear
COMPARISONS TO REAGAN
James Baker Backs McCain
HOUSTON -- Former secretary of state James A. Baker III endorsed John McCain, calling him a "great American leader" and a "thoughtful and dedicated Republican" who he compared to Ronald Reagan.