John McCain likes to think of himself as a straight shooter--a man of honor who doesn't duck tough questions. But at least one question does get him bobbing and weaving: why doesn't he renounce the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee, the San Antonio televangelist who has offended Roman Catholics and other groups?
On the trail, McCain tries to stay away from talking about Hagee. In New Orleans last month, he grew irritated when asked about the pastor's views on Hurricane Katrina. "It's nonsense, it's nonsense, it's nonsense," McCain said when a reporter drew attention to Hagee's 2006 statement to National Public Radio that New Orleans had suffered "the judgment of God" because of its "level of sin." McCain refused to disavow Hagee's support. "Would I consider repudiating his endorsement?" McCain said to reporters on the back of his bus. "I certainly condemn those parts of his remarks. [But] I continue to appreciate his support for the state of Israel and for many of the good things that he and his church have done."
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