One of the reasons why Sen. Sam Brownback's campaign is worried about an e-mail sent to, at most, a few dozen evangelicals in Iowa, is that the subsequent and inevitable media coverage could disseminate the original idea: that there is a politically significant significant distinction between Brownback's Catholic and Mike Huckabee's Southern Baptist. That said, there is an undeniable upside in engaging Huckabee so close to the Ames straw poll.
Late yesterday, Gov. Huckabee released this statement:
“We are glad that Rev. Rude issued an apology and clarification for his comments. They were not authorized by, disseminated by, approved by, or condoned by the campaign. Our campaign enjoys strong support from Catholics as well as evangelicals, and for that matter, from people whose support is not faith-based at all. I have spoken in Catholic churches and maintained a strong relationship with Christian brothers and sisters from many denominations.
“While I’m deeply grateful that many people of faith support me because they know I represent views compatible with theirs, I know that there are many others who support me because of an effective record of achieving results. Either way, I’m grateful for the support.
“I consider Sam Brownback a Christian brother and know that he feels likewise toward me. Like Senator Brownback, several key members of my staff are Roman Catholic. As believers, we don’t have time to fight each other. We need to focus on having a servant’s spirit and bringing hope to those who have given up.”
Brownback's campaign is not mollified.
John Rankin, a Brownback spokesman, e-mailed a reply:
The lengthy comment from the Huckabee campaign evades a simple question: Does Governor Huckabee denounce Pastor Rude's anti-Catholic comments, or not? It's a simple question and a fair one. What's holding them back from a straightforward denunciation of the bigoted, anti-Catholic contents of Pastor Rude's email?
Second, regarding the "apology and clarification" from Pastor Rude, let's revisit what the Pastor had to say: "... obviously, if I knew this private e-mail would somehow not remain private, I would have taken great care not to convey anything that would be offensive to anyone."
So, let me get this straight--if Pastor Rude knew his anti-Catholic comments would become public, he wouldn't have put them in an email for the world to see?