McCain Campaign Palling Around With Schenck

Since Sarah Palin decided to go after Barack Obama for his essentially non-existent ties to William Ayers, maybe now is the time to remind everyone about the McCain campaign’s ties to Rob Schenck, who has a long history of militant anti-abortion activism, fines, arrests, and run-ins with President Bill Clinton.

Schenck, who was meeting privately with McCain as far back as early last year, received a VIP pass to the McCain campaign event where he named Palin as his running mate and even got a chance to speak with both of them personally.  And last month, when he hosted a forum, the Obama campaign dropped out at the last minute rather than legitimize Schenck and his views, but senior campaign McCain advisor Robert Heckman still attended the event, where other speakers compared Barack Obama to Hitler.  

Schenck first came to prominence back in the 1990s when, along with his twin brother Paul, he began his career as a militant anti-abortion activist, for which he was repeatedly arrested, often targeting Dr. Barnett Slepian who was assassinated by an anti-abortion activist in 1998 by a man who, according to another pro-life activist, was probably known to both Schenck and his brother.  

On top of that, as we’ve pointed out before, Schenck also has a history of harassing Democratic politicians, especially former President Bill Clinton:

3 Charged in Scheme to Thrust Fetus at Clinton
14 July 1992
The Associated Press

Three anti-abortion supporters were arrested Tuesday after thrusting a container with a 19-week-old fetus at presidential candidate Bill Clinton.

“By the grace of God, Bill Clinton has been brought face to face with a victim of choice,” Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry said outside Clinton’s headquarters at the Hotel Inter-Continental.

Clinton appeared unfazed by the incident.

“They tried to hand it to me but I wouldn’t take it,” he said. “It was no big deal.”

The incident occurred as Clinton left the hotel around 8:30 a.m. for his morning jog.

Harley David Belew, 37, of Binghamton; the Rev. Robert Schenck, 34, of Tonawanda; and the Rev. Joseph Forman, 30, of Marietta, Ga., were charged with three health code violations: transporting a fetus into New York, removal of human remains from the place of death and improper disposal of a fetus.

Minister’s advice to Clinton draws Secret Service scrutiny Pro-lifer cited God’s judgment
26 December 1996
The Washington Times

The Rev. Robert Schenck, a pro-life activist, gave President Clinton some Christmas Eve advice as their paths crossed at the Washington Cathedral.

“God will hold you to account, Mr. President,” Mr. Schenck said he told Mr. Clinton as he walked by to receive Communion.


Mr. Schenck, general secretary of the theologically conservative National Clergy Council, said he was inspired to remind the president of God’s judgment on his pro-choice policies when he realized he would walk past him in a Communion line.

“At that moment I said, `Here we are,’ ” Mr. Schenck said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It was a rare moment when you are this close to the president. As I got closer to him I thought, No. 1, it had to be brief.”

Mr. Schenck said his comment drew on a verse in Hebrews 14. “I said it respectfully, in what I would call my pastoral voice.”

Mr. Schenck is no stranger to the limelight – nor to President Clinton. In 1992, he led Operation Rescue’s protest of Buffalo abortion clinics and participated in handing Mr. Clinton a dead fetus.

If Palin and McCain think that Obama needs to explain his vague ties to Ayers from years ago, maybe now would be a good time for them to explain why they have palling around with Schenck several times in just the last few weeks.