McCain stunned by Rep. Lewis comments on campaign
Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, said late last week that he was disturbed by the negative tone of the Republican’s campaign, accusing McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin of “sowing the seeds of hatred and division” and that it reminded him of the segregationist era of Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
The lawmaker later clarified his remarks, saying he did not compare the two to Wallace and that his purpose was to remind candidates that “toxic language can lead to destructive behavior.”
That clarification didn’t seem to make much difference. In an interview with CNN late Monday, McCain fired back calling Lewis’ accusations “so far out of bounds and so disturbing.”
“It stopped me in my tracks,” McCain said in the interview. “I never believed that John Lewis, who is an American hero, who I admire, would every make a comment of that nature. He even referred to the bombing of a church in Birmingham. That’s unacceptable. It is totally unacceptable. And of course I’m not going to accept it and I’m going to reject it.”
He noted Lewis was a widely respected member of the Democratic Party, not a fringe element on a rant.
“I’m so disappointed in Congressman John Lewis who I have admired and respect. This is not just some obscure party official. And that’s what’s so totally unacceptable about it,” McCain said.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (McCain at a rally in Virginia Beach on Monday)