John Lewis: "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."

Lewis also compares McCain and Palin to George Wallace, likening their 2008 campaign rhetoric to the incendiary political speech that contributed to the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham that killed four young girls.

See the full statement from the civil rights icon here.

McCain's reaction (as reported by ABC News):

"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 right track."

"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."


Just when I was getting ready to sit back and make the most out of defeat, these guys keep kicking sand in my face.

A huge number of white people in this nation, for a myriad of reasons, desperately want to elect the first African American president of the United States. Am I saying that this sentiment is unanimous? No. Undoubtedly, there are large numbers of whites in America who are horrified at the thought of a black president. Having said that, I have a VERY STRONG hunch that the number of citizens who will cast their vote for a forty-seven-year-old political neophyte because he is black dwarfs the contingent of voters who will vote against him solely because of race.

For me, the potential good that might come as a result of a black president (simply because he is black) is something of a counterweight to the potentially disastrous scenario of a Democratically controlled White House and Congress. But, the axis of liberalism (the academy, Hollywood, and the mainstream media) is not about to let me enjoy this "silver lining" aspect of my impending defeat.

The liberal establishment in this country has a huge stake in the accepted notion that I am a racist. Why else would a middle-class American continue to vote Republican? Answer: because I am a simpleton who does not understand my own interests. The GOP waves the bloody shirt of race hatred, homophobia, and evangelical sophistry in front of my face, and I start salivating like Pavlov's pooch.

Not too long ago America was "too racist" to elect Obama. But as his election grows more probable, we are now forced to swallow news analysis like the David von Drehle piece in TIME, which argues that as the economy falters, white America has no choice but to accept Obama. Economic fear trumps race prejudice. I suppose this assumption is based on the well-known fact that Barack Obama is an expert on the economy.

Of course, this attack by John Lewis on John McCain is more in keeping with the old playbook. Back when the Obama Nation was chastising that well-known racist, Bill Clinton, for his incendiary comments, this thought kept running through my mind: what did he say, exactly?

The accepted evidence that served as the baseline for every one of those "racist Bill" stories was that Clinton repeatedly spewed patently racist comments during the campaign. But every time I read or viewed some form of that story line, it always reminded my of one of those Wikipedia entries in which some statement is followed by the phrase "[citation needed]."

What did he say? When did he say it? Where? What was the quote exactly?

In reality, Clinton simply suggested that the main reason better than 90 percent of African American Democratic primary voters (ironically, previously nearly 100-percent loyal to him) were now voting for an unknown African American candidate might be that Obama himself was an African American.

Was that racist? polarizing? unfair? implausible?

Polarizing maybe. But, seriously folks, did anyone ever really believe Clinton's assertion to be anything other than manifestly correct?

Now Johnny McCain and Sarah Palin are racist (again).


Because the McCain-Palin campaign has asserted that Barack Obama "pals around with a terrorist," which may or may not be true. We will probably never know. Why? Rather than address the true nature of the relationship with Bill Ayres, the Obama campaign and his "willing accomplices" in the prObama press shout down the question as racist.

When the Keating Five history comes up, McCain addresses the charge rationally and methodically. It is, in fact, an unfair charge--but we understand why it comes up (over and over again). McCain had a relationship with Charles Keating. Every official and/or objective entity that has ever looked at the imbroglio agrees that McCain showed poor judgment but did nothing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) illegal or unethical.

But it continues to come up, and McCain continues to refute the charge. It is an association that invariably invites many questions.

How is "Ayres and Obama" different?

Part of it is style. Barack Obama has a strong tendency to be right all the time. He was right to say he would meet with rogue leaders without preconditions. Actually, he waffles on that one. Either he did not really say it, or, he said it, and he was right to say it--and now all of McCain's smartest advisers agree that he was right to say it. What he never says is that he misspoke.

He was right to say that the SURGE would not work. Actually, he waffles on that too, alternating between the SURGE really did not work and nobody in their right mind could have expected it to work--and it would have actually worked better if it had not worked. But never, "thankfully, I was wrong about the surge."

On Ayres: it doesn't really matter because Obama was eight years old when Ayres committed acts of terror, and he does not really know the man that well, and, if he does know him well, which he might, it is okay because Ayres is a college professor and a strong ally of Mayor Daley. But, in truth, none of it matters because the whole issue is soaked with racism and should be disqualified on that count. Next Question!!!

This has some backfire potential. John Lewis should have let sleeping dogs lie.