Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) threw his own bomb into the presidential race today by comparing Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace.
"George Wallace never threw a bomb," Lewis noted. "He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."
“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all," Lewis said today. "They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.”
McCain, who once lavished praises for Lewis and someone he would consult as president, responded by saying, "Congressman John Lewis' comments represent a character attack against Gov. Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale. The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama's record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign."
Obama officials responded by noting some McCain supporters and Gov. Sarah Palin are hateful: “Senator Obama does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies. But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ‘pals around with terrorists.’ "
Not stopping there, Lewis kept up the pace today by alleging the GOP of voter frauds in Georgia.
Here is Lewis' statement on his website:
I was deeply disturbed when I heard about the allegations made in the case of Mr. Jose Morales, as well as the Justice Department’s valid inquiry into violations of the Voting Rights Act in Georgia. Georgia is not the only state where questions are mounting. In Ohio and in Florida and other states around the country it seems that obstacles are being created to keep citizens from participating in this election.
"I think there is a deliberate, systematic effort to depress the turn out of African American, Latino and other minority voters on November 4th. This is harassment. It is intimidation, and it places an undue burden on some citizens. Who decides, based on what standards which 2 million voters deserve greater scrutiny than any others? I think these actions violate both the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act. They should be pursued by voting rights groups and the Department of Justice with all deliberate speed so we can make the way clear for registered voters to freely exercise their constitutional rights.
"I urge all the register voters of Georgia to become informed and know your rights so that no one can discourage you from casting your vote on Election Day. I can assure you I will be in touch with the Justice Department officials about this matter and will be monitoring the developments in the Morales case very closely."