WASHINGTON – Democrat John Kerry (search) broke ties with an Arizona legislator who had endorsed his presidential campaign amid allegations that the lawmaker was trying to use religion to win over supporters of rival Joe Lieberman.
The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that state Democratic Rep. Ben Mira (search)nda was trying to persuade backers of Lieberman to switch allegiance because the Connecticut senator, who is Jewish, does not campaign on Friday nights and Saturdays in observance of the sabbath.
Lieberman campaign manager Craig Smith issued a statement Wednesday morning calling on Kerry to "take swift action to rebuke these statements and disassociate himself from these individuals who have used these tactics on his behalf."
That's just what Kerry did. Kerry spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement that said the campaign investigated the matter and found that no campaign staffers were responsible, but the campaign "severed its association" with Miranda.
"We have expressed our deepest regrets to Senator Lieberman, a friend of Senator Kerry's for many years, and made it clear that, of course, Senator Kerry deplores and will not tolerate the injection of religion into this race in any manner whatsoever," Gibbs said.
Miranda did not immediately return a call for comment.