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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  November 16, 2007
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Topic category:  Other/General

"Hardball" Touts McCain, Tolerates anti-Mormonism

The Senator has his mom's support, of course, and she's surely entitled to opine that her son is the only qualified candidate.

But Mrs. McCain went on to suggest that Mr. Romney is not qualified because...he's a Mormon.

The day was November 9, 2007.

MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, an unfaithful Catholic (compare his personal views on abortion and homosexuality to Catholic teaching), interviewed Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain, 71, and his mother Roberta, 95.

An important purpose of the joint appearance obviously was to try to allay concerns that Senator McCain is too old to be President of the United States.

The Senator's father died at age 70, a pertinent fact not mentioned on the show.

Worse, perhaps, despite his intention to help, Mr. Matthews' references to the Senator's mother as his wife undermined the effort to make the Senator appear youthful.

Was there another purpose: to highlight former Governor Mitt Romney's religious choice--Mormonism--and then disparage it?

Mr. Matthews asked Mrs. McCain about her views on both Mr. Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Mrs. McCain pointed said that she would not "judge" Mr. Giuliani (another unfaithful Catholic) and never mentioned his religion, but she had made Mr. Romney her special target and had plenty to say about his religion.

For this interview, Mr. Matthew was not playing hardball. His pitches to both the Senator and Mrs. McCain were slow softballs.

Mrs. McCain seemed more with it than Mr. Matthews. For example, she tried to tactfully let Mr. Matthews know that she was the Senator's mother instead of his wife, but Mr. Matthews continued to seem to be oblivious to having misspoken.

Let's go to the transcript.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Republican presidential candidate and U.S. senator from Arizona John McCain has been hitting the campaign trail up in New Hampshire with a new ally, his 95-year-old mother, Roberta. Welcome to both of you McCains. Senator, thank you for joining us. I want you to talk about New Hampshire and why it‘s important to your campaign.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, thanks for having us on. And I did finally have to roll out the secret weapon here on my right, and there‘s no doubt now of our chances of success. Any questions about my genes or my age certainly ought to be dispelled.


THAT was funny.

Mrs. McCain's subsequent comments on Mormonism were not.

The Senator assured viewers that his mother was working hard to make him President.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: mom is very vigorous. She spends 16-hour days with us. She shakes hands. She does a great job. And you know, my friend, Tom Ridge, was campaigning with me this morning and she wore him out and he had to leave.


Mr. Matthews gently asked Mrs. McCain about the presidential race.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask Mrs.—Mrs. McCain what your feelings are about this race.

Your son, as you know, won the New Hampshire primary back in 2000, which is seven years ago, which is a lifetime. And now he‘s come back, after a lot of action the last seven years politically, a—an alliance with the president, who he beat up there. And now he has got to go back and replace Bush as the next president.

What do you feel about this election?

R. MCCAIN: I think he‘s going to win it. And the main reason he‘s going to win it is, he‘s the only qualified candidate in the entire lot.

You consider over 20 years in the military, four years in Congress, and over 20 years in the Senate. Compare that record of serving his country as the records of the other people, and it‘s no—it‘s not even to be discussed.


The Senator has his mom's support, of course, and she's surely entitled to opine that her son is the only qualified candidate.

But Mrs. McCain went on to suggest that Mr. Romney is not qualified because...he's a Mormon!

MATTHEWS: So, you don‘t think Romney has done...

J. MCCAIN: You see that, Chris? Have you got that?

MATTHEWS: You don‘t think Romney has done—I heard it all.

You don‘t think Romney has done much heavy lifting for America, then?

R. MCCAIN: No, I don‘t.

I think being senator—a congressman, a senator, whatever it was—a governor for four years, and as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he‘s a Mormon. And the...Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, I—it‘s not even—again, it‘s not a subject.

Senator McCain immediately commented: "The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine."

Mr. Matthews noted that Mrs. McCain had "raised the religious issue" and she did not even wait for a question to reaffirm her anti-Mormonism.

MATTHEWS: Now that you have raised the religious issue...

R. MCCAIN: Well, that‘s my view. And you asked me.

Mr. Matthews had NOT asked Mrs. McCain to discuss religious preferences. Mrs. McCain chose to discuss Mr. Romney's religion and his religion was the only religion she did discuss, virtually using Mormon as an epithet.

Mr. Matthews quickly moved on to Mr. Giuliani.

Mrs. McCain did not talk about his religion or judge him.

MATTHEWS: Look, what about Giuliani? And what do you think of Giuliani and his judgment of people, Mrs. McCain?

R. MCCAIN: I‘m not judging Giuliani.

I am studying very carefully his background and what he‘s accomplished. And I think it‘s very little, compared to the great accomplishments that my son has given to this country.

Later in the interview, Mrs. McCain played "the God card" for her son: "I think he wants to serve. I think he sees an important role that he can play to help this country. And I think we need a strong leader who—he‘s always followed every principle that is important. And I just think that he feels it‘s—well, put it this way. I think he really wants to serve God and his country, and that‘s all he wants or needs or is looking for."

Mr. Matthews approved and gushed like a schoolgirl with bad eyesight about the Senator.

MATTHEWS: Well, that‘s a good thing to say.

Senator McCain, you are a very young man, I think, and your genetic disposition here is very impressive. It looks to me like you have many years ahead of you as a healthy American. And I guess this is the point you want to make.

Then Mr. Matthews gave Senator McCain time to suggest that his mother's anti-Mormon comments had taken him completely by surprise and were not shared by him.

J. MCCAIN: I think that Mormons are great people. I think that ...should [in] no way be a factor in consideration or lack of consideration for Governor Romney. I think that it should never be a consideration. And I know that he will be judged on his record. He‘s a fine and decent man and a fine family man.

Was the Senator trying to have it both ways: have mom do the dirty work and then officially disassociate yourself from it?

Mr. Matthews rushed to help Senator McCain, but he was so upset that he referred to the Senator as Mrs. McCain's husband.

MATTHEWS: Well, I hope anybody out in Utah doesn‘t take any offense to what Mrs. McCain said. I think she was just looking out for her husband, and I take it with a good heart. And I think the Olympics were screwed up before that guy took charge of them.

Anyway, thank you very much, Senator John McCain.

And thank you, Mrs. Roberta McCain.

When asked about Mrs. McCain's comments, Mr. Romney graciously said anyone over 90 gets a pass from him to say whatever she or he wants.

I wonder what would have been the reaction if Mrs. McCain had used the N word.

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to,,, and and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is

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