"How did it happen," Hagee said of the holocaust in a 1990s sermon. "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."
In a statement released this afternoon, McCain said: "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well. I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views. But let me also be clear, 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."
Hagee has been a controversial figure since his public endorsement of McCain. The pastor has apologized for disparaging remarks he has made against the Catholic Church and once claimed Hurrican Katrina was caused by plans to hold a gay pride event in New Orleans.