How the GOP candidates responded to Falwell’s death

I decided to see what the various Republican candidates had to say about the death of anti-gay bigot and religious extremist Jerry Falwell. The statements ranged from an outright endorsement of the man’s ideas to a simple condolence to his family. Here is the order of how closely they embraced Falwell, in rank order:

Strong Falwell Supporters
1. Hunter
2. Brownback
3. Gilmore
4. Romney
5. Huckabee

Weak Falwell Supporters
6. Thompson
7. McCain
8. Giuliani

No Support for Fallwell at All
9. Paul, Tancredo

Strong Falwell Supporters

1. Hunter – Hunter went over the top, devoted his entire home page to Falwell. Unfortunately he, oddly, used an image of his words so that I can’t copy them.

2. Brownback – top of his home page

“Today, America has lost a true spiritual leader and a man of great faith in Jerry Falwell. His great words and actions will never be forgotten by the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that his life has touched. Jerry’s moral character and principle will forever be remembered deep within my heart and those whose lives were so blessed to be touched by him.”

3. Gilmore – on his home page, but not the top of his home page

“In the passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell, we have lost someone who brought inspiration and faith to millions of people around the world. Dr. Falwell was a valued supporter of mine for many years and I was an admirer of his good works. The educational institution he founded, Liberty University, has become a major employer in Virginia and is well regarded by educators from throughout the country. Not only did he inspire people in Virginia and America with his faith based efforts to lift up the lives of our citizens, he also has helped people throughout the world with his mission work. We will miss him.”

4. Romney – on his news page

“An American who built and led a movement based on strong principles and strong faith has left us. He will be greatly missed, but the legacy of his important work will continue through his many ministries where he put his faith into action.

“Ann and I have had the honor to talk and meet with Reverend Falwell and get to know him as a man of deep personal faith and commitment to helping those around him. He will be forever remembered.”

5. Huckabee – on his news page. But note the very odd back-handed compliment of Falwell in the third sentence. Many did not know that Falwell had compassion for people? Hell of a thing to say about a religious leader – people didn’t know he had any compassion. (Of course, Huckabee is correct – this would be news to me.)

“I’ve known Dr. Falwell since the mid 1970’s. I’ve been to his church and spoke at the university last fall. He was one of Christendom’s great leaders who stood by his convictions and never lost his common touch. Many did not know about his sense of humor and compassion for people from all walks of life.”

“Dr. Falwell helped spark a conservative movement that renewed our belief in our core values and a new confidence in what is good about America. His efforts helped elect one of America’s greatest leaders, President Ronald Reagan, in 1980. We are deeply indebted to his service to our nation.”

Lukewarm Falwell Supporters

6. Thompson – yes, the link is on his home page, but not a very warm endorsement at all. Rather pro forma.

“I join millions of Americans in remembering Jerry Falwell as a religious, educational and cultural leader. A man of boundless energy, he dedicated his life to serving his students, his church and our great nation. Our prayers are with Dr. Falwell’s family in their time of loss.”

7. McCain – on his news page, and not much of an endorsement, but better than Giuliani

“I join the students, faculty, and staff of Liberty University and Americans of all faiths in mourning the loss of Reverend Jerry Falwell.

“Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Falwell’s family at this difficult time.”

8. Giuliani – not on his home page, and buried on his news page (the title of the release doesn’t even say Falwell). Also, written the way you’d write a eulogy about someone you couldn’t stand.

“I express my condolences to his family, Reverend Falwell’s family, and to his much larger family …He was a man who set a direction. He was someone who was not afraid to speak his mind. We all have great respect for him … he is a person who told you what he thought and you knew where he stood. … My sympathies and my prayers go out to his family…”

No Support for Falwell

9. Paul – nothing about Falwell at all

9. (tied with the above) Tancredo – he has NOTHING on his site about Falwell’s death, at all.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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