CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think this speaks to the Episcopal Church and not to Obama, or the religious right. The Episcopal Church, it used to be said of it a generation ago it was the establishment at prayer. And now, it's the American left at prayer. And I think that's one of the reasons why it and the other mainline denominations are in such decline. Because if you want a message like what Reverend Leon delivered you go to a Democratic party meeting or a pro-choice rally, you don't go to church.
But I would and I do agree this is a deliberate attempt. The guy knew that the press would be there. This was a way for an ambitious cleric to make himself heard and to make news. But I would give the president a pass on this. This is not like Jeremiah Wright, in whose church he sat for 20 years, who was his mentor, who married him. This is a church where all presidents have gone from James Madison on.
It was an appearance that had no connection intrinsic with him. I don't think he owes him any allegiance. And I think what Jay Carney said is he has every right to stay away from this. I don't think it implicates him at all. But what I found incredibly offensive is that the language used was a reflection of and an echo of the language that Ted Kennedy had used when the nomination of Robert Bork was announced, where he went on this calumny, libel against Bork. But he basically said he is a racist, he is a sexist, et cetera, et cetera. There was an echo of that and it was a gratuitous statement and a complete disgrace. I would put it all on the Reverend and not on the president.
BRET BAIER: Last thing, evangelicals, social conservatives overall make up a big population, more than 20 million. Will they factor in significantly in this next election?
KRAUTHAMMER: They will and they should. People are talking as if the split between libertarian, social conservatives is something new. It's been around since Reagan. I think the way that you would finesse it is you show each other respect. Not only about abortion and gay rights, it's been euthanasia and drug abuse and all kinds of things about a culture of life where, you know, people aren't all on one side, aren't all shifting one way.
The way to finesse it as attitudes evolve is with federalism. It's a way to say I respect you. I respect the tradition in your community, our country allows it, it has experiments. Oregon has assisted suicide. I hate it, but I think it's the way it ought to go. People ought to see what happens. And that's where I think we can all agree on that as things shift. you don't have to nationalize everything. And that's what I think is the big mistake. (Special Report, April 1, 2013)