On Saturday night, at the forum at Saddleback Church, the Rev. Rick Warren asked John McCain to name “the three wisest people that you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration.” McCain listed three people: Gen. David Petraeus, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
It was nice, I suppose, for McCain to mention Lewis in this context. Indeed, I don’t doubt for a moment that Lewis is quite wise and would have a lot to offer McCain in the way of advice.
But it was more than a little odd to see McCain tout his support for Lewis’ wisdom given that McCain has largely ignored Lewis during their decades of concurrent congressional service. Jonathan Stein has the story:
At the time of McCain’s Selma speech, a Lewis associate told my colleague David Corn that McCain has never been close to Lewis. Lewis was not told about McCain’s speech in Selma in advance, nor was he invited to attend.
In response to McCain’s latest invocation of his name, Rep. Lewis said in a statement requested by Mother Jones, “I cannot stop one human being, even a presidential candidate, from admiring the courage and sacrifice of peaceful protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge or making comments about it.” But, he added, “Sen. McCain and I are colleagues in the US Congress, not confidantes. He does not consult me. And I do not consult him.”
Well, no, of course not. McCain is a conservative Republican with an underwhelming record on civil rights. Lewis is a progressive Democrat who has championed civil rights throughout his life.
McCain is going to “rely … heavily” on Lewis if elected? We should be so lucky.