ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain today issued the following
“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against
Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The
notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions
could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist
policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place
in this campaign. I am saddened that John Lewis, a man I’ve always
admired, would make such a brazen and baseless attack on my character
and the character of the thousands of hardworking Americans who come to
our events to cheer for the kind of reform that will put America on the
“I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these
outrageous and divisive comments that are so clearly designed to shut
down debate 24 days before the election. Our country must return to the
important debate about the path forward for America.”
Here is Obama’s official statement on Lewis, according to MSNBC:
“Senator Obama does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies. But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ‘pals around with terrorists.’ As Barack Obama has said himself, the last thing we need from either party is the kind of angry, divisive rhetoric that tears us apart at a time of crisis when we desperately need to come together. That is the kind of campaign Senator Obama will continue to run in the weeks ahead,” said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton.
What did John Lewis say?
In a statement issued Saturday, Lewis said McCain and running mate Sarah Palin were “sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.” He noted that Wallace also ran for president.
“George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights,” said Lewis, who is black. “Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama”