In the News and On the Air: Canceled, Cut Short

Rev. Haggard steps down. Here's an interview we will not be able to bring you on Morning Edition.

We had a chat scheduled yesterday with the Reverend Ted Haggard, leader of a Colorado mega-church and head of the National Association of Evangelicals.

The Christian leader has spoken out on political issues. He is an opponent of same-sex marriage, which his home state’s voters could ban this month.

Shortly before our scheduled interview, the reverend’s staff called to cancel.

Later, we learned that he had suddenly resigned amid allegations that he paid a 49-year-old man for sex.

On the air this morning, NPR’s Jeff Brady is playing us this carefully worded statement from Haggard: "I haven't had sex with a man in Denver and I've been faithful to my wife."

In Denver? Is that within the city limits, or does it also apply to the suburbs?

Brady also sent along an e-mail from Haggard’s church, which says Haggard "confessed" to "some of the accusations."

Because the scandal involves a pastor who spoke out on politics, and who regularly participated in conference calls to the White House, we have to ask if it might affect the atmosphere for the upcoming Congressional elections.

NPR's Mara Liasson says it’s one more challenge for the religious right, which is so critical to Republicans.

Rep. Reynolds cuts it short. Congressman Tom Reynolds doesn’t need any more challenges. He’s the embattled leader of Republican efforts to keep the House.

In a taped interview, we asked Reynolds several times to explain his position on Iraq, one of the most difficult issues for his party.

Rep. Reynolds said only that "the commander in chief is the president," and that Congress has a responsibility for "oversight." Pressed for details of what should be done , he blamed "national media people like you" for focusing on Iraq, and then said, "I gave you an answer. Is there any more you have? Because I'm about to walk into another meeting."

Novelist Ford keeps it short. If he's feeling rushed, Reynolds may feel a kinship with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford, who’s on the program today.

The protagonist of The Lay of the Land, his new novel about the suburbs, keeps growing impatient with blathering conversations and wishes that he could have a political chat with his neighbor that lasted only "six sentences."

In our interview, Ford confesses that this impatience applies to him, even when he is talking to someone he loves. "I know I will be out on the road on a book tour and I will call my wife, and I just want to hear her voice... and I don't want to have a long exchange."

With that, we’ll shut up for now.

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