Jeremiah Wright Unaired McCain Ad

John McCain famously refused to make the Jeremiah Wright affair an issue in his campaign. ABC News has obtained a copy of an unaired ad, which they ran on yesterday’s Good Morning America:

NARRATOR: Long before anyone knew who John McCain or Barack Obama were, one chose to honor his fellow soldiers by refusing to walk out of a prisoner of war camp. The other chose not to even walk out of a church where a pastor was spewing hatred.

REV. WRIGHT: Not God bless America! God damn America!

NARRATOR: Character matters, especially when no one’s looking.

It’s a good ad and perfectly fair. Would it have made a seven point difference in the race? No. It’s not as if the Wright scandal went unreported. Indeed, Hillary Clinton used it against him with some effect in the primaries.

via Patrick Appel

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    It likely would have gotten more of the base on board… the base… you know… the ones who read his NOT addressing that sisue, as shrinking away from a justified fight.

  2. Pug says:

    The base was on board. The problem was with the rest of the country. The base, folks like Hannity, Limbaugh, etc., threw everthing they had at Obama, including Wright, and it didn’t work.

    “Character” didn’t work for the Republicans this time. Everybody knew about Jeremiah Wright. People made their assessments of the Wright issue and millions didn’t care that much.

    It’s kind of surprising really, since Wright was the perfect foil: an angry, angry black man. The scariest thing in America.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Wow. McCain was a POW. Who knew?

  4. caj says:

    I think the Rev Wright issue was played to death during the election and it did not get anywhere unfortunately for Hannity and the rest of the righteous right.
    So, I don’t know why this nonsense is still an issue now….can’t we just move on from this junk.
    The media just don’t know when to give up with this rehashing of “old” news….the clip may be new, but does anybody care!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Anderson says:

    Wright’s sermon has some goofy parts, but that’s not one of them.

    Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontus Pilot — Pontius Pilate — the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from east to west. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonised Kenya, Guana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian decent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese decent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African decent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them in slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing “God Bless America.” No, no, no. Not “God Bless America”; God Damn America! That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God Damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God Damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!

    I doubt any of the Puritans would’ve disagreed. Certainly not John Winthrop; the words that come after his famous “city on a hill” phrase would surprise many people:

    For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

    Or compare to the faux-Tocqueville quote of which Eisenhower and Reagan were fond:

    America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

  6. tom p says:

    Don’t confuse us with the facts, Anderson, that is so totally unfair, quoting him in context!

  7. Houston says:

    Oh please, they’re not even remotely in agreement with each other. Winthrop states clearly that “if we shall deal falsely with our God,” it may cause Him to rebuke us and “withdraw His present help from us.”

    The good Rev. Wright declares that this has happened, and thus our nation should be Damned by God.

    You don’t really think that Winthrop and the Puritans would agree, do you?

  8. spencer says:

    As a young Marine in Viet Nam Rev. Wright gave years of hie life and put himself in harms way in service to his country.

    How many of you have done as much for your country, Bithead?

  9. Anderson says:

    You don’t really think that Winthrop and the Puritans would agree, do you?

    Well, in the absence of any Puritans, it’s a bit of a counterfactual.

    But I hope that the Puritans would’ve considered the conduct recited by Wright to be less than Christian.

    Also note Wright’s condition that America should be accursed “so long as” it continues to usurp God’s position as the source of moral authority. In other words, he’s not talking about literal damnation, but using the contrast with “God bless America” to point up that, in his view, America is accursed through its own actions and must repent.

    Most of Wright’s particulars are plausible, though the notion that the feds are selling drugs to black youth seems to buy into some rumors about CIA involvement in the drug trade, & is a bit of a stretch AFAIK.

  10. Rick Almeida says:

    Could it be the case that most Americans just don’t care when religious figures say controversial things? In a very real way, is it not very much the job of religious leaders to provoke?

  11. Our Paul says:

    Stand up and a round of applause to correspondent Anderson, and my vote for this months “Rain on the Party” award!!!

    My goodness, is there a inadvertent pun in this highly desired award?

  12. John425 says:

    It seemed to me that MCain was always treating Obama like a fellow Senator, complete with all that clubby “my esteemed colleague” baloney and never realized he was not on the Senate floor but on the campaign trail.

    I hope that Senator Palin won’t succumb to that stuff when she gets there.

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    ****That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people*****lol, I don’t know what Bible he was READING, but was there not only 3 innocent people, 2 of them who screwed up real bad, and 1 of them who became our Savior.

  14. Anderson says:

    Stand up and a round of applause to correspondent Anderson, and my vote for this months “Rain on the Party” award!!!

    Thanks, I’m … honored?

    Do I have to accept in person, or can you just mail me the check?