John McCain and the "Patriot Pastor"
Lost in the shuffle of Tuesday's John McCain-Bill Cunningham dust-up was that, at Tuesday's Memorial Hall rally, McCain had at his side the Rev. Rod Parsley, the Columbus mega-church pastor and televangelist who was out touting Ken Blackwell for Ohio governor in 2006.
(Parsley is on McCain's left in this photo; former senator Mike DeWine on his right.)
Parsley formed an organization called Reformation Ohio to get Christian conservatives registered to vote and bring them into the political process. In 2006, Parsley, pastor the World Harvest Church in Columbus, worked hand-in-glove with the Rev. Russell Johnson of Lancaster, who formed the Ohio Restoration Project in order to form a corps of "Patriot Pastors" who would spread the word among their flocks to support candidates like Blackwell.
At Memorial Hall, while McCain gave Cunningham a tongue-lashing for his disparaging remarks about Barack Obama, Parsley stood at the candidate's side, nodding his head in agreement.
McCain's repduation of Cunningham may have set off a wildfire of anti-McCain sentiment among the voters who listen to conservative talk radio, but having an influential evangelical leader like Parsley on his side might help cut McCain's losses.