Hillary Clinton's running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said Sunday that the campaign does not need to issue an apology for email messages, including from communications director Jennifer Palmieri, mocking Catholics.
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The 2011 email is between John Podesta, the subject of the hack and Clinton's campaign chairman, Palmieri and John Halpin, a senior fellow at the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress.
In the email, Halpin writes that 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp Chairman Robert Thomson, who are both Catholic, are attracted to the faith because of "systemic thought and severely backward gender relations."
Palmieri responded: "I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable, politically conservative religion — their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelical."
"Many took offense to the perceived mockery of Catholicism," ABC host Martha Raddatz said. "You're Catholic. Should the campaign apologize for these messages?"
Kaine dodged and said that he does not believe the validity of these hacked emails.
"I just want to say the writer of this email said he sent this email," Raddatz said, trying to get him back on topic.
Kaine dodged again, citing that the emails had the potential to be doctored by the Russian government.
"This is an important topic that everybody needs to know about these emails," he said. "One email has come up with my name in it and it's completely inaccurate. Now, was it inaccurate because the sender didn't know what he or she was talking about? Was it inaccurate because it was doctored? I have no way of knowing.’"
Raddatz asked again, point blank, if the campaign should issue an apology.
"We all have opinions and I don't think you need to apologize for your opinions," Kaine said. "But, in fact, that's a great thing about our country and even about being Catholic."
The email caused backlash from Conservative Republicans. Gov. Mike Pence (R., Ind.), Donald Trump's running mate, said that Clinton should disavow these comments.
"If only on behalf of her catholic running mate, Hillary Clinton should denounce those bigoted anti-Catholic, anti-evangelical remarks and her campaign staff should apologize to people of faith and do it now," he said.
Palmieri said that she does not "recognize" this email.