For Immediate Release Contact:
July 16, 2008 James Salt
Catholics United Calls on Senator John McCain to Remove Controversial Strategist from Catholic Advisory Committee
Deal Hudson Resigned from the Bush Campaign in 2004 amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations; Now Advising McCain on Catholic Outreach
Washington, D.C. – Catholics United today called on Senator John McCain to remove influential Republican strategist Deal Hudson from his position on the “Catholics for McCain National Steering Committee.” Mr. Hudson apparently continues to serve on the committee despite having stepped down from a similar position with President Bush’s reelection campaign when an alleged episode of sexual impropriety came to light in 2004.
In August 2004, the National Catholic Reporter disclosed that Hudson was forced to leave a tenured professorship at Fordham University over allegations that he solicited sexual activity with his 18-year old freshman student. According to the report, the encounter happened in Hudson’s campus office after a night of heavy drinking.
Hudson has proven himself an invaluable member of McCain’s Catholic advisory team. In May 2008, according to the New York Times, he helped broker a meeting between controversial televangelist John Hagee and conservative Catholic political operatives to soothe tensions over anti-Catholic statements Hagee had made.
In addition to questions about his personal conduct, the thrice-married Hudson has a longstanding history of misappropriating Catholic teaching to advance a partisan agenda. In 1999, Hudson’s magazine Crisis authored an influential study explaining how the Republican Party could achieve greater success at the ballot box by making specific appeals to Catholic swing voters, a move that prompted Bush strategist Karl Rove to invite Hudson into high-level campaign conversations. In 2002, Hudson established a White House Catholic Working Group, which – as he bragged in his recent book – deliberately excluded the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from policy discussions. Last year, Hudson publicly ridiculed a Vatican climate change initiative that didn’t fit his political worldview.
“If John McCain wants to represent a new kind of politics, then he and his Catholic committee would be well served by disassociating from divisive and controversial figures such as Deal Hudson,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “Many Catholics find it disconcerting that McCain would embrace Hudson, an individual with a history of questionable moral judgment, as a public face of his Catholic outreach efforts.”
Catholics United issued its request in the form of a letter to Senator McCain. It has also launched a national online petition effort calling for Hudson’s removal.
For more information:
Catholics United letter to Senator John McCain:
Catholics United online petition: