The New Republic's Isaac Chotiner just published a fascinating interview with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Among the many topics covered is a discussion of McCain's vice presidential running mate during the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin. McCain commented that Palin, who was then governor of Alaska, "had a positive message."
When the interviewer countered that "she also accused Obama of 'palling around with terrorists,' " McCain raised another incident from the '08 campaign.
With all due respect, you never heard about when John Lewis said my campaign was worse than the Birmingham church bombing? That may have escaped your attention.
OK, well, that is what he did, when they orchestrated this "racism" effort against me. Maybe Sarah Palin said "palling around with terrorists," but the things that were said about me and her were far worse. I’ll never forgive John Lewis.
A footnote to the interview reads that "McCain’s comment is not precisely accurate" regarding Lewis, a native of Alabama, a veteran of the civil rights movement and a Democratic congressman representing an Atlanta district.
Lewis' 2008 release read:
As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.
During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. 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. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.