McCain Clears Up Meeting Rumors

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Sen. John McCain's campaign is clearing the air about a story circulating in cyberspace suggesting he's not that interested in reaching out to evangelicals.

CBN News has been told by the McCain campaign that the Internet report is inaccurate.

Newsmax.com reported Monday that the GOP presidential hopeful declined to meet with the Rev. Billy Graham. According to the article, pastor Brian Jacobs, of Ft. Worth, Texas tried to broker a meeting between the McCain campaign and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The article states that Jacobs is a "consultant to the Billy Graham Association." But CBN News has learned that Jacobs did not have the authority to set up a meeting of this kind.

"The offer to meet with Mr. Graham was extended by someone who is not in an official capacity to arrange such a meeting, nor is he affiliated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association," Franklin Graham spokesman Jeremy Blume said. "So far, Billy Graham's office has not been directly contacted about meeting with Sen. McCain."

Earlier Monday, the McCain camp told CBN News' David Brody that the report was "Bogus. Totally not true."

"Our campaign has been working directly with Reverend Franklin Graham's office to facilitate an important meeting between John McCain and Reverend Billy Graham," Tucker Bounds, a McCain spokesman said.

"The report's implication that we have 'declined to meet with Billy Graham' is blatantly false, because our campaign has already been working directly with Franklin Graham's office and politely declined Mr. Jacobs' offer to help facilitate a meeting," he said.

"John McCain has the highest respect for Reverend Billy Graham and looks forward to meeting with him in the future," he said.

Blume said Graham was contacted months ago by the McCain camp to meet with the senator.

"This was during the primaries and Franklin did not have any follow up to that call," he said. "But Franklin said he would now be willing to meet with Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama."

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