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Ford says he would not have gone to Bob Jones University

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Criticizing both Republican presidential candidates, former President Gerald Ford says he would not have spoken at Bob Jones University and would not have criticized Christian leaders Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

"It would be better for candidates to stay away from any group that is so dedicated to a single religious conviction," Ford said of George W. Bush's visit to the university before the South Carolina primary. The school bans interracial dating on campus and has been connected to anti-Catholic rhetoric.Ford was interviewed on Fox News Channel's "The Edge With Paula Zahn," which will air Friday.

"Let's keep religion out of the political arena," he said.

Some of John McCain's comments about Robertson and Falwell "were poor judgment -- any candidate should not call someone evil ... I would not use that language myself," Ford said.

McCain apologized this week after making what he called a flip remark about Falwell and Robertson being "forces of evil."