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Inside Politics

Catholic group calls on Edwards to fire blogging 'bigots'

Story Highlights

• Bloggers recently hired by Edwards criticized pope, Catholic Church
• Edwards is "decent man" done disservice by bloggers, Catholic group says
• Edwards using bloggers to try to increase campaign's reach on Internet
From Mary Snow
CNN New York Bureau
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The head of a conservative Catholic group is demanding that former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, fire two of his campaign bloggers, charging that they are "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash talking bigots."

In a move that has created a buzz in the blogosphere, Catholic League President William Donohue points to a blog written by Amanda Marcotte on the "Pandagon" blog site regarding the church's opposition to birth control saying it forces women "to bear more tithing Catholics."

Donohue also refers to another entry titled "Pope and Fascists." Donohue also objects to a second blog post that describes President Bush's "wingnut Christofacist base" written by Edwards' blogger, Melissa McEwan on "Shakespeare's Sister."

The Catholic League president said the language is "incendiary, it's inflammatory. It's scurrilous and has no place being part of someone's resume who's going to work for a potential presidential contender."

In a statement released by the Catholic League, Donohue laid the blame at the bloggers' feet. "John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar, trash-talking bigots," he said. "He has no choice but to fire them immediately." Edwards' campaign declined comment and attempts to reach Marcotte and McEwan were unsuccessful.

Another entry by Marcotte that has drawn attention is one in which she sarcastically chides the news media's coverage of the Duke Lacrosse players who were accused of sexual assault. Her entry read ..."Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."

The call to fire the bloggers has touched off a debate in cyberspace. "You have conservative bloggers saying it's about time the Edwards campaign woke up" says "Beltway Blogroll" author Daniel Glover. "And you have the liberal bloggers saying the Edwards' campaign needs to wake up to the fact that they need to stick with these bloggers, they made a decision to hire them and they need to defend them and not fall victim to complaining and screaming from the right."

According to The Associated Press, Edwards hired the bloggers last week as part of his outreach to liberal voters and activists on the Internet. The two bloggers join a number of others who have recently taken jobs with political campaigns.

With bloggers leaving behind a cyber trail of provocative writings and presidential campaigns relying on them more than ever, political observers say it can be a double edged sword.

"They're passionate," Glover said. "That's what they're known for and that's why the campaigns are hiring them. They want people who will defend the candidate and be the voice for them and to have a strong message and a strong voice."

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"Trash-talking bigots" have tarnished the presidential candidate of former Sen. John Edwards, the president of the Catholic League says.




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