July 17th, 2008
10:19 AM ET

Reaching out to Catholic voters. The role of sin and repentance.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.vert.dealhudson.jpg caption="Deal Hudson at a press conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 2003." width=292 height=320]
Dana Bash
CNN Political Correspondent

The McCain campaign deliberated much of Wednesday about how to handle a demand that Deal Hudson, a volunteer on outreach to Catholics, to step down.

They decided not to cut him loose.

“He’s a name on a list, a volunteer, so when are we going to start talking about gas prices, jobs and the issues facing Americans? The McCain campaign is all done with the gotcha games,” said campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds.

The backstory:

A McCain aide tells me they made a determination that Hudson is so "loosely affiliated" with the campaign, why throw him under the bus because of what the aide called a gotcha game from a Catholic group that's "clearly liberal."

The group, "Catholics United," wrote the McCain campaign a letter Wednesday demanding that Hudson be dismissed from Catholics for McCain National Steering Committee.

Why? Hudson allegedly solicited sex from an 18-year-old female student in 1994 when he was a professor at Fordham University in New York, and was forced to leave his tenured position there.

Hudson was forced out of a volunteer post in the Bush campaign in 2004 when the story surfaced then.

"He doesn't know McCain and McCain doesn't know him. He's a name on a press release from a year ago," one aide said. "He did bad things, but he wasn't convicted of a crime and he has lived a repentant life for 15 years."

The McCain campaign is clearly learning what some outside Republican strategists have complained about for months - that their self-inflicted wounds are often made worse by rash decisions that keep the story going.

Case in point, according to some advisers, is how McCain reacted to news that two staffers were lobbying for the repressive regime in Myanmar.

McCain was so angry that he demanded new strict rules on lobbyists working for the campaign. The result was more stories dripping out for days as other aides were forced to resign to comply with the new rules.

Filed under: Dana Bash • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Caycee

    It's time for freedom from religion. If McCain can't cut a deal with so many other religious zealots, he shouldn't take on a Catholic whose list of well publicized dirty laundry will do more harm than good. This just goes to show once again, lack of common sense and leadership skills in McCain.

    July 17, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Can we please stop with the 'much ado about nothing'?!

    However, I will say that this is just one more reason why the separation of church and state is necessary. I'm getting quite tired of religious affiliates (pick your religion) dictating to candidates and citizens what the morality should be. And in this particular case, we are talking about a man who 15 years ago solicited an of-age girl. It's not like he was a priest sexually molesting young boys. That is what the Church needs to be worrying about (as these cases do still crop up) - not what two adults do on their own time.

    July 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  3. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    It puts Catholic outreach in a whole new spin does it not!! Pathetic!!

    July 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  4. Christine

    A man who solicitaed sex from an 18 year old? No big deal for me as a Catholic. As someone who is a people watcher, I have seen many good Catholic men have affairs and try to have sex with much younger women. Not my place to judge, I'll leave that to God.

    July 17, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  5. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    If we have gotten to the point that every campaign volunteer has to be eliminated for any past mistakes, then we better reform our entire political system in a hurry. More members of Congress have done things much worse than this man, yet they still retain their positions and privileges.

    July 17, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  6. ANGIE

    I agree with you cindy from Ga but i dont think john mccain will be the one to help with our problems he has voted with bush too many times why would he stop now cant teach an old dogs new tricks!!! i feel john mccain will bring the same. obama08

    July 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  7. Michelle Fonthill Ont,Canada

    It's so hypocrtical of the McCain campaign to not cut Mr.Husdon loose from thier party.He does not represent a strong backboned Catholic .It's not fair to us Cahtolics and John McCain pretends not to know anything about it .Catholics must unite and defend our truth and justice that will hopefully prevail in this upcoming election!

    Michelle D.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:35 am |
  8. Cindy

    I am with McCain on this one. I really don't care what either sides surrogates do or don't do. They don't mean a thing to me! When are we going to stop worrying about what they do or say and get back to what really matters?

    What really matters is that gas is sky high and rising, our economy sucks and we are in two wars that need to be ended. We need to worry about that and how to turn this country back around instead of the he said she said junk that we keep being spoon fed by the media. That would be all well and good if we were doing perfect in this country but we aren't!

    We need to get back to reality and back to the real issues and how we are going to fix our problems!


    July 17, 2008 at 10:31 am |
  9. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Funny how the McCain camp doensn't like it when the shoe is on the other foot. A few months ago they were calling for Obama to let go someone in his campaign. McCain started this general election off playing "gotha games" now that the tables are turned doesn't seem they like them so much.

    July 17, 2008 at 10:29 am |