Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, the pastor that presided over Jenna Bush's wedding ceremony and is considered a close personal friend of President Bush, absolutely ripped into John McCain today on a conference call with reporters. Rev. Caldwell took issue with Senator McCain's remarks that he made at the Sturgis bike rally last week when he volunteered his wife for the rally's "beauty" pageant, the Ms. Buffalo Chip pageant. For those who were not familiar with that story, the Ms. Buffalo Chip pageant is a topless modeling contest, that among other things, involves a section with a banana.
Much more below the fold.
Caldwell comments highlight exactly why true family values conservatives should have a problem with John McCain.
"Well, I don't know a lot about John McCain's family history, I do know, however, that as recently as last week I think it was, the Senator made a comment in South Dakota regarding his wife entering some Buffalo Chips contest which is this topless deal and if she were to enter she would probably win it and my personal opinion and based on my understanding of the Christian faith, that's not not, N-O-T, not the type of expression that a presidential candidate, or anyone for that matter who is a follower of the Christian faith, ought to make," said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell. "I don't know if that is a perfect case in point, but it surely does help to juxtapose the DNA of Senator Obama, if you would, versus the DNA of Senator McCain."
The article also points out that Caldwell is backing Obama for president, and is a member of the Matthew 25 network. For anyone who is not familiar with the Matthew 25 network and the great work they do, you can check out cardboard's diary currently on the Rec list.
During the conference call, Rev. Caldwell also hits John McCain on his adultery during his first marraige:
His marital history has been duly recorded," said Caldwell, referring to McCain, "and as recently as yesterday I think it is, our pastor from Saddleback, Rick Warren indicated that he would not feel comfortable voting for an adulterer and I don't know exactly to whom he was referring but I think the data speaks for itself, and again, at the end of the day, and I really appreciate you raising this because, at the end of the day again I think the American public deserves full revelation of the candidate's character and competency. Character and competency. So, whatever questions that should be asked that would give the voting public an indication as to who they are and what they've done should be fair game."
When the Edwards scandal first came out, a lot of people thought it would be bad for Democrats. But the truth is that the scandal has put the issue of infidelity into the spotlight, which forces McCain to have to answer about his own history with adultery.
The article contains a few other good nuggets, including an admission by a McCain campaign spokesperson that Senator McCain was aware that the Ms. Buffalo Chip Pageant was a topless pageant before he made his remarks at Sturgis, and is worth a read.
But what the article really hits home is that this year, the Republicans no longer have the morality wedge issue to try to scare voters away from the Democratic candidate, and the John McCain is not longer going to be able to count on the evangelical vote as being locked up this year.
UPDATE: The McCain campaign came back at Obama with this amusing response:
McCain spokesman Brian Rogers has responded to Caldwell's criticism by saying: "These people are Obama campaign surrogates. These kinds of personal attacks are disgraceful. This absolutely exposes the hypocrisy of Obama's claim to represent a 'new kind of politics.'"
A Republican strategist speaking on the condition of anonymity reacted to the Caldwell comments by telling ABC News: "My advice to the Obama people: 'proceed with extreme caution.' They don't want to get into a discussion of character and background. They are opening a door that they will not be able to close. They are putting on the table issues and personalities that they do not want to discuss."
Like the Republicans weren't going to bring all of the "character issues" into the election? The response shows me that they seem to be legitimately scared over the issues of family values and how McCain looks on those issues vs. Obama.
And to make it perfectly clear, Rev. Caldwell is not an Obama surrogate, so the McCain campaign is just playing the game of "everyone who criticizes McCain automatically speaks for the Obama campaign".
UPDATE X2: Help promote this story by Digging it