billygraham.jpgJohn McCain sojourned to Billy Graham’s mountaintop cabin in North Carolina yesterday for a 45-minute meeting with the Reverend and his son, Rev. Franklin Graham. Although the Grahams declined to issue endorsements for McCain, the New York Times reports that Franklin had warm words for the Senator:

[B]oth sides portrayed [the meeting] as nonpolitical — just a chance to talk over old times and pray for God’s blessing on the presidential election and the candidates. But afterward, there were encomiums all around.
Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, had requested the meeting with the Grahams. He called his hosts “great leaders” and said they had had “an excellent conversation.” In response to a reporter’s question, he said, as if slightly surprised: “Oh, I didn’t ask for their vote.”
Billy Graham, 89, who has counseled American presidents for the last half-century and is an enormously influential voice among millions of evangelical and born-again Christians, has been in poor health and made no statement.
But Franklin Graham, who met last week with Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the likely Democratic nominee, issued a statement praising Mr. McCain. “I was impressed by his personal faith and his moral clarity on important social issues facing America today,” said Mr. Graham, who noted that he and Mr. McCain, of Arizona, have sons serving in the military.

Is this a new chapter in McCain’s as of yet lackluster evangelical outreach effort? Blogger George Archibald, a former Washington Times reporter, suggests otherwise, characterizing the meeting as an attempt by McCain to make nice with Billy Graham after his campaign declined the Reverend’s request for a meeting last month:

It was a huge mistake of McCain for President campaign functionaries to have spurned the Reverend Brian Jacobs’ offer last month to set up the meeting between McCain and the renowned evangelical preacher, as I initially reported on this site.
When the news of the rebuff hit, it was a thunderbolt throughout the McCain campaign. John McCain himself hit the ceiling, wanted to know who had made such a stupid mistake – saying no, I don’t have time for a meeting with Billy Graham? What idiot made that stupid, senseless mistake?

God-o-Meter is unfamiliar with Archibald’s work but will check with the McCain camp and other sources about this report and let you know what shakes out.


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