February 14, 2008 in Nation/World

GOP leadership in House backs McCain for president

Jonathan Weisman Washington Post

Pastor questioned for endorsement

» BUENA PARK, Calif. – A Southern Baptist preacher who endorsed GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on church letterhead said Wednesday he was being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for mixing religion with politics.

» The Rev. Wiley Drake, a prominent pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, said he received a 14-page letter from the IRS on Feb. 7.

» Under federal tax law, church officials can legally discuss politics, but they cannot endorse candidates or parties without risking their tax-exempt status. Most who do so receive a warning.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A day after winning the Potomac Primary, Arizona Sen. John McCain was handed another victory Wednesday when he was unexpectedly endorsed by the entire House GOP leadership.

Republican leaders had said Tuesday they intended to remain neutral, but after an hour-long, closed-door session with the senator, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, R-Fla., all fell in line.

“John McCain is an American hero and will make an excellent president of the United States,” Boehner said. “McCain has a solid conservative record as one of the most vocal opponents of wasteful spending, a staunch defender of America’s national security and a strong believer in the sanctity of human life.”

McCain spent much of the session with House Republicans not only taking their praise but also reassuring them on one big issue: immigration. McCain has been beaten up badly on the immigration issue, participants said he told them. He had the bloody shirts to prove it. He understands the nation’s borders must be sealed and independently certified as under control before the next president even considers any further steps to give an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country a pathway to citizenship.

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