From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:
The Christian televangelist John Hagee is tried to clarify comments he made about the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler that ultimately led John McCain to reject Hagee's endorsement. "I have dedicated my life to combating anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel," Hagee said from a podium in front of both United States and Israeli flags at his television studios in San Antonio.
The pastor said that any idea that he condoned the Holocaust or Hitler was "the most vicious of lies."
He was introduced by Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, who said that Hagee's "words were twisted" and that he had stepped into a "political minefield." The statements that surfaced were from a sermon Hagee gave nearly a decade ago when he said the following:
" 'And they the hunters should hunt them,' that will be the Jews. 'From every mountain and from every hill and from out of the holes of the rocks.' If that doesn't describe what Hitler did in the Holocaust, you can't see that."
"Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said 'I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.' So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the Holocaust."
"Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says -- Jeremiah writing -- 'They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,' meaning there's no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don't let your heart be offended. I didn't write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel."
Scheinberg said the comments Hagee made were trying to illustrate that "God was powerless to stop the Holocaust."
Hagee endorsed McCain months ago, but McCain officially rejected his endorsement Thursday after reading the comments. "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them," McCain said. "Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today."