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A second blogger working for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Tuesday under pressure from conservative critics who said her previous online messages were anti-Catholic. Melissa McEwan wrote on her personal blog, Shakespeare's Sister, that she left the campaign because she was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the level of attention focused on her and her family. ''This was a decision I made, with the campaign's reluctant support, because my remaining the focus of sustained ideological attacks was inevitably making me a liability to the campaign,'' McEwan said Tuesday night.
Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, said McEwan left the campaign under her own terms. Both Bedingfield and McEwan declined additional comment.
McEwan's resignation came just one day after another blogger, Amanda Marcotte, left the Edwards staff for similar reasons. Both had become targets for conservative critics. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, called Marcotte and McEwan ''foul-mouthed bigots'' for remarks he deemed anti-Catholic. Last week, Donohue called on Edwards to fire both bloggers. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, responded that he considered the bloggers' past writings personally offensive and added that similar content would not be tolerated. But he decided to keep Marcotte and McEwan on staff to give them ''a fair shake.''
''We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked,'' Edwards said in a statement last week.
Donohue had promised a nationwide public relations campaign in newspapers, magazines, and Catholic publications in an effort to rid the Edwards campaign of the two bloggers. The Catholic League counts 350,000 members.
McEwan and Marcotte have stressed that the content and opinions on their personal blogs are in no way a reflection of the Edwards campaign. In one posting, McEwan described Christian supporters of President Bush as his ''wingnut Christofascist base.'' Marcotte once posed a mock question-and-answer session in which she speculated what would have happened if the Virgin Mary had taken an emergency contraceptive. ''You'd have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology,'' came the answer.
Donohue is a brash and frequent critic of those who speak out against the church as well as gays and Hollywood's control by ''secular Jews who hate Christianity.'' ''It's too bad that Edwards didn't make the decision himself to get rid of them,'' Donohue said Tuesday night. ''Why he had to wait for these women to bail on their own doesn't speak well for him. But I'm delighted, and as far as I'm concerned, this closes the issue. I have no vendetta against John Edwards.'' (AP)