In 2000, John McCain solidified his "maverick" reputation by lambasting the Religious Right. He labeled Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance" and decried the Right’s role within the Republican Party:
"They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country."
"John McCain has been working hard to get back in the good graces of the Right," said People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert. "By choosing Sarah Palin, he’s given them exactly what they want — a book banning, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-science extremist who’s short on experience but long on ideology. Americans don’t want a candidate who believes that victims of rape and incest should be denied a right to choose abortion. But the far right does. They said jump, and McCain just asked how high."
In return, the right-wing’s response has been over the top:
James Dobson, Focus on the Family: "A lot of people were praying, and I believe Sarah Palin is God’s answer."
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council: "Senator McCain made an outstanding pick."
Connie Mackey, FRCAction: "I am elated with Senator McCain’s choice."
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel: "Absolutely brilliant choice."
Richard Land: "Governor Palin will delight the Republican base."
Rick Scarborough, Vision
, "I’m elated. I think it’s a superb choice." America
Ralph Reed: "They’re beyond ecstatic. This is a home run."
Gary Bauer, American Values: "[A] grand slam home run."
Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: "She is the best possible choice."
Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America: "Governor Palin will change the dynamics of the entire presidential race."
Janice Shaw Crouse, CWA’s Beverly LaHaye Institute: "She is an outstanding woman who will be an excellent role model for the nation’s young people."
David Barton, Wallbuilders: "The talk won’t be about, ‘look at Sarah Palin’ as much as ‘look at what McCain’s choice of Palin says about McCain’s core beliefs."
Jonathan Falwell: "John McCain made it very clear that his administration was going to be a pro-life administration, and he proved that’s his belief and his passion today with the choice of Sarah Palin."
Jerry Falwell, Jr.: "I think it’s a brilliant choice."
Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life: "And then when [Palin] was announced — it was like you couldn’t breathe. [We] were grabbing each other and jumping up and down."
Gary Marx, Judicial Confirmation Network: "I can tell you that this pick tells millions in the base of the party that they can trust McCain. More specifically that they can trust him with Supreme Court picks and other key appointments."
David Keene, American Conservative Union: "The selection of Governor Palin is great news for conservatives, for the party and for the country. I predict any conservatives who have been lukewarm thus far in their support of the McCain candidacy will work their hearts out between now and November for the McCain-Palin ticket."
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