New York House member drops Bush, backs McCain
King cites Bush appearance at Bob Jones University
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., switched allegiance in the GOP
presidential race Monday, dropping his support of George W. Bush for, in King's words, becoming a
tool of "anti-Catholic bigoted forces."
King, endorsing the candidacy of Sen. John McCain, charged that the Texas
governor "allowed himself to be used" when he agreed to speak at Bob Jones
University during the South Carolina primary campaign.
The fundamentalist Christian school prohibits interracial dating and its
officials refer to the Catholic and Mormon religions as cults. King referred
to the university as "anti-black and anti-Catholic."
"I happen to be a Roman Catholic myself," King said. "And I was just
shocked at the person who wants to be the leader of my party and the leader of
the country would allow would allow his campaign to be used by anti-Catholic
In Detroit Monday, Bush defended speaking at the school early in the
campaign in which he went on to defeat McCain by 11 percentage points.
"When asked about interracial dating, I didn't hesitate to say, of course I
don't accept their policy," Bush said at a breakfast sponsored by the Economic
Club of Detroit.
"But I didn't go to accept their policy. I wanted them to accept my
policy. That's why I went to give the speech."
The next big matchup between Bush and McCain is Tuesday in Michigan, which
is heavily Catholic -- Gov. John Engler, Bush's chief supporter, among them.
"No matter how he tries to explain it, going to a school which is
anti-Catholic with his campaign's seal of approval on that school, on its
policies -- and as a Catholic I can no longer support Governor Bush in the (New
The Catholic vote also is expected to be influential in New York, which
has its primary March 7.
King charged that Bush, after the upset trouncing he got from McCain in
New Hampshire, agreed to speak at Bob Jones because "he was so desperate to be
elected in South Carolina."
"To me that shows a clear lack of judgment, and also quite frankly, a lack
of moral compass," King said.