Governor George W. Bush, and his supporters, have been asked all week to explain his decision to launch his South Carolina campaign at Bob Jones University. At issue is the school’s ban on interracial dating and its explicit condemnation of Catholicism. Bush and his defenders have disapproved of the school’s racism but not its anti-Catholicism.

For example, on Feb. 13, Bush was prodded by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” to comment on the school’s anti-Catholicism and the best he could do was to say, “I don’t associate with the thought. First of all, that was a 1982 quote by a man now passed away.” He did not mention that the anti-Catholic quote is flagged on the school’s web page in 2000, along with several other bigoted statements.

On Feb. 15, when given a chance to comment on this during his presidential debate on CNN, Bush let the opportunity go. On Feb. 17, he told CNN “I support people from all walks of life being able to date,” but said nothing about the school’s anti-Catholicism.

On Feb. 13, on “Face the Nation,” Bush supporter Pat Robertson addressed the school’s racism, but not its anti-Catholicism. Bush supporter Haley Barbour on Feb. 16 on “Crossfire” never condemned the school’s anti-Catholicism when the subject came up. On Feb. 16, Bush supporter Rep. Jennifer Dunn on “Hannity and Colmes” followed suit, as she did again the next night on “Hardball.” Bush supporter Rep. J.C. Watts spoke against the school’s racism on CNN’s “Early Edition” on Feb. 16 and did the same thing on Feb. 17 on “Hardball” without ever addressing the school’s anti-Catholicism. Bush supporter Rep. Tim Hutchinson, and his Bush-supporting brother Rep. Asa Hutchinson, in an AP story on Feb. 16 spoke against the school’s position on race, but said nothing about the school’s anti-Catholicism.

Here is what Catholic League president William Donohue said today:

“The evidence is in: Bush and his friends find it difficult to condemn the anti-Catholicism that marks Bob Jones University. We need to know why.”

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