From NBC's Kelly O'Donnell
McCain responded to Hagee's letter of apology to Catholics, calling it "helpful." He describes his own attempts at reconciliation over the years with, for example, the anti war movement. When asked if he or his staff brokered the apology, McCain says he did not personally broker the deal, leaving open the possibility that advisors did encourage the Hagee apology to diffuse McCain's so-called pastor problem.
Here's the full exchange, per NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann:
Did you influence or support decision?
MCCAIN: I don't know. I know that Pastor Hagee and the head of the Catholic League, Mr. Donahue, have joined together and exchanged letters, and that's the kind of reconciliation that I've been engaged in for any many years. I reconciled with the anti-war moment; I reconciled with David Ifshin; I reconciled with the Vietnamese in interest of healing the wounds of war. So I believe the fact that these two individuals came together is a laudable thing and a testimony to both individuals and their principles, which are Judeo-Christian values."
If he is comfortable with Hagee's endorsement…
MCCAIN: "Look, as I've said many times I've accepted his endorsement. I didn't endorse everything that he said. The point is that the fact that he has made an apology I think is very helpful. Whether somebody apologizes for something they thing that they did wrong then I think that that's a laudable thing to do."
Were you involved in brokering the deal?
MCCAIN: "I certainly wasn't."