I can’t say this wasn’t expected, but it would have been nice to see him simply address Hagee and be done with it. After all, this issue would have come up without the Wright issue.

From CNN:

“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee’s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” McCain said in a statement to CNN Thursday.

He added that his relationship with Hagee did not compare with Obama’s lengthy association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright’s extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today,” said McCain.

By the way, Hagee withdrew his endorsement, and blamed the media for misinterpreting his views…

Citing critics who had been “grossly misrepresenting” his positions since his decision to back John McCain, Hagee withdrew that endorsement Thursday afternoon.

“I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues. I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Senator McCain for President effective today, and to remove myself from any active role in the 2008 campaign,” he said in a statement.

A silver lining to all the drama? This campaign season may do more to push candidates further away from the politics of the pulpit than anything else…and that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world.

Politics McCain Denounces Hagee, Takes Shot At Obama