WASHINGTON – The publisher of a conservative Catholic journal and leader of GOP efforts to reach out to Catholics says he's resigning as a Bush campaign adviser because of what he called "personal attacks" over allegations involving an episode with a female student years ago.
"It is now being dug up, I believe, for political reasons," Deal Hudson, publisher of the journal Crisis, wrote in the online edition of National Review (search) magazine.
Hudson cited "allegations from over a decade ago involving a female student at the college where I then taught." He was associate professor of philosophy from 1989 to 1995.
"The matter was satisfactorily resolved long ago," Hudson wrote without elaboration.
The New York Times, quoting a "person involved with the university's investigation," reported in Thursday's editions that a female student accused Hudson of sexual harassment after he allegedly made sexual advances to her in a bar while she was intoxicated. The newspaper said Hudson gave up his post at the college in response to the investigation.
Bush campaign officials confirmed on Thursday that Hudson had resigned as an adviser, while noting that he had been a volunteer and was not on the campaign payroll.
Campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt referred a reporter to Hudson's own account in the National Review.
In that essay, titled "The Price of Politics — Getting ahead of a potential distraction," Hudson, 54, said he had been happily married to his wife for 17 years and the couple had two children.
He blamed an unidentified reporter from "a liberal Catholic publication" for dredging up "information about my personal life" in what he said was an attempt "to embarrass me" for political reasons.
"While I have no intention of being dissuaded by personal attacks, I will not allow lowbrow tactics to distract from the critically important issues in this election," Hudson wrote. "While I remain fervently committed to supporting President Bush's re-election, I think it best that I no longer play a role as an adviser in this year's campaign."
His resignation comes as both Bush, a Methodist, and Kerry, a Roman Catholic, are actively seeking the support of the nation's roughly 64 million Catholics.