Hagee Defends Comments after Rejection

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Pastor John Hage defended himself Friday, in the face of a controversy that prompted Republican John McCain to reject his endorsement.

McCain rejected the months-old endorsement from Hagee, as well as the support of Rod Parsley, an Ohio preacher who has criticized Islam.

McCain said he has not been influenced by either minister, using the moment to distinguish himself from Democratic candidate Barack Obama's trouble with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.

"I've never been to Pastor Hagee's church or Pastor Parsley's church. I didn't attend their church for 20 years. I am not a member of their church. I received their endorsement which did not mean that I endorsed their views," McCain said.

But Hagee quickly defended his statements that have been called controversial and unacceptable. He publicly addressed his critics after McCain called some of his remarks in past sermons "crazy."

"People seeking to attack Senator McCain have combed my records for statements they can use for political gain," Hagee said. "They have had no qualms about grossly misrepresenting my position on issues most near and dear to my heart if it serves their political ambitions."   Watch Hagee's defense here.

"I am tired of these baseless attacks and fear that they have become a distraction in what should be a national debate about important issues," he said. "I have therefore decided to withdraw my endorsement of Senator McCain for president."

Pastor parsley has not responded to CBN News requests for a comment.

Source: CBN News, The Associated Press

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