May 7, 2006


An Invitation, Not an Endorsement (JERRY FALWELL, 5/07/06, NY Times)

I have been astounded by the reaction of some to Mr. McCain's agreement to deliver the commencement speech, particularly by those who would make it something it is not.

Many in the news media have portrayed my invitation to the senator as an effort to repair a relationship damaged during the 2000 Republican primary. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While I have long been a supporter of President Bush and his father, I have been around hardball politics long enough to know that elections often place good people in opposition. I have always admired Mr. McCain and nothing said or done in the 2000 campaign changed this opinion.

In September I called a meeting with Mr. McCain to put aside any past misunderstandings. We did not ask for apologies from each other, nor were any offered. No ideological deals were brokered.

The decision to ask him to speak to our graduates was a reflection of our agreement on many important issues facing our nation, but it did not mean our positions were in perfect harmony. For example, both of us agree that the traditional family needs to be protected, but we disagree on how it should be done. I support the Federal Marriage Amendment while Mr. McCain favors protections passed by individual states.

These differences, however, do not separate us as friends. As we continue to prosecute the war on terrorism — a war that I have argued is just — I could not think of a better example for our students than Mr. McCain, who knows both the civilian and military sides of a country at war. That is why several months after our meeting I asked him to be our 2006 commencement speaker.

The next election for president is more than two years away. Mr. McCain is the front-runner for the nomination and is the kind of conservative candidate whom I would have little trouble supporting.

Nevermind commencement speeches, by now, Senator McCain is likely working on the second or third draft of his January 2009 Inaugural Address.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2006 8:16 AM

You do Senator McCaimpaignFinanceTorture a disservice OJ.

Anyone who's followed his career knows that he started drafting his inaugural address long long ago. I suspect he's one at least draft # 1,000.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 7, 2006 12:40 PM

He keeps a copy on his PDA and refines it and makes sure it's current every night.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 7, 2006 4:03 PM

But he is smart to do the Liberty University gig. While other evengelical ministers have surpassed Falwell in terms of number of supporters, Jerry remains, along with Pat Robertson, the two bete noires of the fundamentalists right to folks like the New York Times, making it more likely to bring the wrath of the big media down on McCain and at the same time bolster is support among 2008 GOP primary voters (and Jerry is more of a safe bet not to utter something completely outrageous in public that would create a public relations problem for the senator than Robertson is).

Posted by: John at May 7, 2006 9:32 PM

Romney will win, Potemkin McCain will lose.

Posted by: Palmcroft at May 8, 2006 7:25 AM

Wanna bet?

Posted by: oj at May 8, 2006 7:32 AM

Romney's too wishy-washy.

Posted by: erp at May 8, 2006 8:51 AM

If Congress doesn't get its act together, the answer will be: none of the above! Remember ... you first read it here.

Posted by: Genecis at May 8, 2006 12:34 PM