First it was the Catholic nonsense, then it was the New Orleans nonsense, and finally it was the Hitler nonsense. The guy was, quite simply, more trouble than he’s worth.

The Huffington Post had published a recording of Hagee saying that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God’s will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel in accordance with biblical prophecy.

“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee’s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” McCain said in a statement to CNN Thursday.

He added that his relationship with Hagee did not compare with Obama’s lengthy association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright’s extreme views. But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today,” said McCain.

Exit question one, which I’ve asked before: This is bound to alienate some evangelicals. What can Maverick do to win them back, short of putting Huckabee — who once complained that Hagee hadn’t endorsed him — on the ticket? Exit question two: How long before he dumps Rod Parsley too? Or does Parsley get a pass because a swath of the base likely agrees with him?

Update: Let’s try the VP question another way. Does this make McCain/Romney less likely?

Update: A good point from David Brody, and especially worrisome in light of Politico’s article today about Maverick’s floundering campaign. Where was McCain’s research team on this?

Well, look did McCain have any other option? Of course he had to distance himself from these comments. It’s still different from Jeremiah Wright because Hagee WAS NOT his Pastor. That’s important in all of this but it makes you wonder where the vetting process was in all of this? Hagee was known to be controversial in the past so did the McCain camp not realize that these past comments could reflect poorly on McCain?

Here’s the other part of this: McCain SOUGHT this endorsement.