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McCain Rejects Endorsement of Pastor Over Remarks on Hitler

The presumptive Republican party nominee for the U.S. presidency, John McCain, has rejected the endorsement of a preacher criticized for his statements about Jews.

U.S. media reported Thursday that John Hagee, a prominent evangelical leader, told his congregation during a sermon in the 1990s that Adolf Hitler had fulfilled a biblical prophecy by pushing Jews out of Europe and into Israel. McCain quickly distanced himself from the minister, calling the remarks "deeply offensive and indefensible."

McCain Friday is giving select media members a three hour glimpse at his medical records, amid concerns about his health. The Arizona senator turns 72 in August and would be the oldest person to assume the presidency if he wins the November election.

The Associated Press, which reviewed the records, says McCain, who has had skin cancer (melanoma), appears cancer-free, has a strong heart and is in otherwise good general health.

In other news, Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama campaigned Thursday at a Florida synagogue, telling the crowd that he would do everything possible to strengthen cooperation between the U.S. and Israel if he wins the presidency.

Obama, who has been criticized for his willingness to negotiate with Iran, called the Islamic Republic the greatest threat that Israel faces and vowed to use what he called "direct diplomacy" to neutralize that threat.

Political analysts drew parallels between Hagee's remarks and those of Obama's former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who has been criticized for his racially-charged sermons.

McCain is meeting in coming days at his Arizona home with three Republicans widely considered potential running mates -- Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (who was one of McCain's rivals for the Republican nomination).

But aides to McCain say the get-together does not have anything to do with selecting a vice presidential candidate.

There are also reports that Obama has begun searching for a running-mate.

Obama leads Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination, although the former first lady has vowed to fight on at least through the final three nominating contests.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.