When I wrote yesterday that Salon was reporting Edwards had fired the two bloggers he hired to work on his campaign for profane and anti-Christian statements, I also ran this quote:
The Salon report says the bloggers were fired, but also includes this quote from Jennifer Palmieri saying she would “caution [Salon] against reporting that they have been fired. We will have something to say later.” I will update as new information is available.
Well, now I am updating and we know what Palmieri meant. Edwards says he has talked to the bloggers and he has decided not to fire them.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday he was personally offended by the provocative messages two of his campaign bloggers wrote criticizing the Catholic church, but he’s not going to fire them.
Edwards issued a statement and answered questions about the fate of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen, two days after the head of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights demanded they be fired for messages they wrote before working on the campaign.
“I talked personally to the two women who were involved. They gave me their word they, under no circumstances, intended to denigrate any church or anybody’s religion and offered their apologies for anything that indicated otherwise. I took them at their word,” Edwards told reporters during a campaign stop in Charleston, South Carolina
I know this might earn him some credibility with his lunatic fringe Bush-hating base, but don’t think it will play so well in the general election. What will be most interesting to watch is whether or not Hillary or any of Edwards’ other primary opponents will be able to use this without ticking off their D.U.-Kos supporters. I think when all is said and done, this is one Edwards will regret.
Update: Michelle Malkin says the “pandagonization” of Edwards is complete. She also rounds up reaction.
Update II: The Anchoress was against firing the bloggers, but she still has plenty to say, and she has a great roundup of others blogging.
Update III: I agree with Bryan at Hot Air: “If they truly never meant to malign anyone’s faith, as Edwards says, Marcotte and McEwan are two of the most incompetent writers on the planet. Or they lied to him and he bought it whole. Or as Allah says, he’s just taking us all for fools.”
Certainly Edwards must have finally bitten the bullet and gotten around to reading some of the writing the bloggers have been criticized for when making his decision to keep them on. That means John Edwards has put himself on record saying he believes Marcotte’s comments on the immaculate conception could possibly be construed as anything other than denigrating someone’s religion. Of course, he could be resting it all on the word “intended.” Maybe it was just an accident that they denigrated anyone’s religion. My guess is he is counting on the fact that most of the offensive blog posts are so extreme that no mainstream media outlets will be able to repeat them. Whatever Edwards was thinking, this does not make him look good.
More from Sister Toldjah, who says this isn’t bad for our side.
Update IV: John Hawkins exaggerates a bit in the following, but there is evidence on quite a few liberal blogs indicating that his comment has at least some truth to it: “If liberal candidates like John Edwards couldn’t hire people who hated Christians and Southerners, how could they ever fill up a staff? After all, that’s probably a description of 3/4ths of the liberal activists on the planet and half the candidates. So, what else could he do but keep Marcotte and what’s her face?”