16 August 2008- John McCain at the Saddleback Forum, responding to the question “Who were the three wisest people you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration?”:
I think John Lewis. John Lewis was at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Had his skull fractured. Continues to serve. Continues to have the most optimistic outlook about America. He can teach us all a lot about the meanings of courage and commitment to causes greater than ourself.
11 October 2008- John Lewis offers some advice:
“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 today 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 only desired to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed one Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.
“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Governor 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.”
11 October 2008- John McCain heeds the advice. Or not:
“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.”
That worked out well.