Above Obama’s “pay grade”

mccaintimeYou know that your social life has taken a dramatic downturn when you are sitting at home on a Saturday night watching the Saddleback Church Civil Forum. But I’ve been interested in whether the long-heralded, loudly trumpeted transition of “evangelicals” away from the “religious right” is, in fact, true.

While Obama didn’t seem to move mountains with the crowd, they did give him a raucous, standing ovation when he arrived on stage. On the other hand, Warren asked them to stand up at the end of Obama’s answer period so maybe they were asked to do the same before he came out. The crowd, as may have been expected, was much warmer and responded much more favorably to McCain’s answers.

Whatever else you might say about this forum, it provides a good snapshot of how evangelicals are feeling about the two major candidates. While the media have breathlessly reported that Democrats and Obama are appealing to evangelicals — and young evangelicals in particular, the numbers have not (yet, at least) supported the claim.

Still, the Washington Post and Washington Times both continued the drumbeat this week with stories about young evangelicals being up for grabs.

And here’s a paragraph from a Politico report on the Saddleback forum:

Chastened by John Kerry’s narrow loss in 2004 — and exit polls showing that the so-called God gap played a key role in that loss — Democratic leaders have been on a mission to reframe the values debate by appealing to a generation that polls show is more receptive to considering candidates with differing views on abortion and other hot-button issues — and whose support Obama has aggressively courted.

I’m not sure how well that paragraph is phrased. Certainly polls suggest that young evangelicals are identifying slightly less with the Republican Party than their seniors and are reporting greater interest in more media-friendly political issues, but they also care more about abortion than the average evangelical. Are they really more receptive to candidates who support legalized abortion on demand, such as Obama? I’m not sure if the data support that. In fact, most observers agree that abortion is the key issue to opening up the Democratic Party to more evangelical voters.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life held a discussion with various media experts earlier this year on closing the “God gap” between Republicans and Democrats. It’s really interesting to read what folks like Amy Sullivan, E.J. Dionne and Ross Douthat have to say about the issues in play. Douthat in particular dealt with the abortion issue. In a much larger and quite charitable discussion that I’m doing no justice to by cherry-picking this bit, Douthat said:

It would be my contention that there is very little evidence based on the experience of developed countries — both in the United States and comparing it to Europe, which has different abortion laws and in many cases more restrictive abortion laws — it’s very difficult to imagine that the abortion rate can be significantly reduced in the United States so long as there is no real ability to place serious restrictions on it in the first two trimesters. As long as there isn’t that ability, it remarkably reduces the amount of space for compromise on the issue.

Keeping that in mind, let’s look at how the two candidates answered Pastor Rick Warren’s questions on the matter. Pretty early on, he asked Obama, “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Here is my rough transcription of Obama’s response:

Whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade. But let me speak more generally about the issue of abortion. Because this is something, obviously, the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And So I think that anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue is not paying attention. So that would be point number one. But Point number two: I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe versus Wade. I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion but because ultimately I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they wrestle with these things in profound ways. In consultation with their pastors or spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground — and by the way, I’ve now inserted this into the Democratic Party platform — is ‘How do we reduce the number of abortions?’ Because the fact is that although we’ve had a president who is opposed to abortions the last eight years, abortions have not gone down.*

That last statement is incorrect. Abortions are actually at their lowest rate since 1975 and dropped nine percent between 2000 and 2005. Thus far, only FOX News made a note of this.

Either way, Warren followed-up by asking whether Obama had ever voted to limit or reduce abortions. Obama didn’t answer the specific question but talked about working to reduce the number of abortions.
obama time cover 102306
When Warren, noting the 40 million abortions that have taken place since Roe V. Wade, asked John McCain the same question about when life begins, McCain answered:

At the moment of conception.

In follow-ups, he talked about his 25-year pro-life record and mentioned, not so subtly, the importance of a strong judiciary.

I’m fascinated to see how the media covers the differences in this question in particular. A few early reports are trickling in and I’m watching cable news reaction. It looks like Obama’s “pay grade” answer is one of the main hooks that reporters are using, and rightfully so. The Los Angeles Times thought it was the story of the night. Reuters’ campaign blog made a big deal about it. This Fox/Associated Press account notes the thunderous applause McCain received for his abortion answer and the trouble Obama had with his. Jake Tapper, reporting from Saddleback, had a good write-up of how Obama fared with the crowd. Perhaps he’ll have something soon on McCain’s performance. Andy Barr at The Hill has a great, completely straightforward report on the two candidate’s social issue answers. The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy play-by-play up.

I could see three different stories coming out of this forum. 1) There’s the story that people seem to be jumping on — the significant difference between how the two candidates’ answers were perceived by the forum’s audience and will be perceived by evangelicals in general. 2) There’s the ongoing discussion about the difference between how the candidates discuss their personal faith. I’m not sure what the differences mean but Obama easily referenced Scripture while McCain chose to tell anecdotes about his faith. With evangelicals seemingly trying to outrun the baggage of the “religious right,” which candidate’s approach — both in terms of their religious conversations and their positions on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, welfare, AIDS, poverty, educational choice and Supreme Court justices — appeals more? 3) There’s the story about what this forum means for Rick Warren and his empire. I was wildly and viscerally under-impressed with him but, then again, I’m not his target audience given my reaction to Purpose Driven Life. So in no way do I “get” his appeal. But does this succeed in bolstering his reputation among evangelicals? And if not them, will the media give him even friendlier coverage? Will his call for increased civility, at least, resonate?

Anyway, please let us know if you see any particularly good or bad coverage in the days to come.

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  • Erik

    I attended the forum tonight. Pastor Rick nor anyone else asked us to stand for Obama’s entry. We did it out of respect. (ed. I edited out portions of this email dealing with now-deleted comments)

  • http://shaun.pressbin.com Shaun G

    If I were writing about this event, I would not so much focus on Obama’s factual error about the abortion rate as I would on McCain’s apparent major policy change.

    As recently as May 2007, he voted to fund embryonic stem cell research (Source: http://www.ontheissues.org/senate/john_mccain.htm), and now he’s saying that life begins at conception.

    That means he’s either reversed his stance on embryonic stem cell research, or he’s taken on a view (life begins at conception, but let’s kill embryos anyway) that will upset people on both sides of the debate — pro-choicers the first clause and pro-lifers the second.

    Either way, that’s gotta be big news.

  • http://shaun.pressbin.com Shaun G

    Just now reading more coverage of the debate, and it looks like McCain reaffirmed his support of embryonic stem cell research. So it looks like his view is officially “Life begins at conception, but let’s kill embryos anyway.”

  • http://www.mcgath.com/blog Gary McGath

    Thanks for transcribing that passage. I’m linking to this post as well a standard news source.

    Obama hasn’t just ducked an issue; he’s handed over the question of human rights to theologians. (Science doesn’t answer moral questions, so that’s a red herring.) Imagine if the authors of the Declaration of Independence had written, “We hold these truths to be above our pay grade.”

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    I had to delete a half-dozen comments that were talking about how awesome Obama is and horrible McCain is.

    THIS IS NOT THE BLOG FOR THAT DISCUSSION (or its inverse).

    We discuss media coverage of religious news issues. We don’t discuss how rockin’ it is to be an Obama/McCain/Nader/Barr supporter.

    Take that discussion to the entire rest of the internet where it’s welcome.

  • Ron H

    Obama feigned humility by stating the determination of when life begins is above his pay grade. It was just his feeble attempt to hide his true beliefs (or lack there of) and a stunning demonstration of his lack of courage to state those beliefs truthfully and clearly. He is a man who has demonstrated intellectual arrogance on virtually every other subject, positioning himself as the smarter, deeper thinking candidate – but on this issue he all of a sudden can’t possibly figure out when human life begins.

  • Claude

    … I … found McCain’s answer about his most serious moral failing rather curious for its passive construction. Instead of saying, I committed adultery in his first marriage, he just referred to “the failure of my first marriage.” That sounds like an evasive answer to me.

    The New York Times coverage of the forum characterizes Warren as representing a “changing of the guard” of Evangelical leaders, contrasting him to Pat Robertson. But what struck me was how much Warren looks and sounds like Jerry Falwell.

  • Chris Bolinger

    does this succeed in bolstering [Warren's] reputation among evangelicals?

    That is not his goal.

    And if not them, will the media give him even friendlier coverage?

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

  • Stephen A.

    A brief Reuters story (below) highlights Obama’s statement about abortion being “above his pay grade” and seems balanced.

    Aside from the content and about the forum itself, it got rave reviews afterwards on FOX and CNN for its dignified and fair format, which I think we’ll see more of in the future.

    Politico.com focused on Obama’s attack on conservative SC Justice Clarence Thomas and McCain’s slip-up calling “rich” people those who make over $5 million. The fact that they didn’t mention each other (pretty astounding) and had no “spin room” afterwards was also mentioned.

    This was a definite plus for Pastor Warren as well, since I’m sure few conservative evangelicals will accuse him of shying away from the abortion question, as some feared. The question was direct, pointed and demanded an answer, which both candidates gave (although some will obviously quibble about ‘hidden meanings’ as we’ve already seen.)

    I especially liked his question asking whether the criticism of the forum, held as it was in a church, was worthy of criticism (note that he forgot to say ‘criticism IN A CHURCH’ with Obama, making criticism of the forum general in that question.) For those who might critique him on the basis of IRS regulations about electioneering in a church – which perhaps this was meant to preempt – I’d say that he extended the invitation to BOTH candidates, as required by those regs, and the theme was (ostensibly) faith, though it did stray a bit from that topic, especially when McCain launched into his stump speech on every other question.

    Although I must say that if I was Bob Barr or Ralph Nader, I’d be calling my lawyers right now and calling Pastor Rick for equal time!

    I also think this event will do nothing to stop the stories in the media pushing the idea that evangelicals are increasingly uninisterested in moral issues like abortion and gay marriage and are willing to chuck them in favor of financial issues alone. If anything, it seems to have solidified opinions. (Obama’s fiery interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network anchor, shown on CNN after the event, was quite interesting on the abortion issue.)

  • gfe

    If I had been writing the story, my lede would have been the candidates’ responses to the question of what have been their personal and America’s biggest moral failures. I thought it was an interesting question that got to the heart of why a church would be sponsoring a forum such as this, and I thought both candidates gave sincere and somewhat revealing answers.

  • Jerry

    It struck me that your first quote of Douthat and second are contradictory.

    it’s very difficult to imagine that the abortion rate can be significantly reduced in the United States

    and

    That last statement is incorrect. Abortions are actually at their lowest rate since 1975 and dropped nine percent between 2000 and 2005. Thus far, only FOX News made a note of this.

    It’s not surprising that the right-wing Fox news would ding Obama for missing that fact, but I think that many from all perspectives don’t realize how far the abortion rates have fallen. http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2008/01/17/index.html Specifically follow the link to the actual statistics and look at page 4 and 5.

    To my eyes, those are significiant declines and those statistics cry out for more attention to answering the why question. I suspect that religion and spirituality are a significant part of the answer to that question.

    I think that if Obama had known that, he certainly would have mentioned it and said that we can do better. I guess that just proves that Obama is not omniscient. But given how the press pounces on any illustration of lack of omniscience, I’m not surprised that, in this case, Fox pointed it out. The pro-democratic media takes as much pleasure in pointing out McCain’s flubs as the pro-Republican media does for Obama. The sun also came up this morning.

    In an ideal world, there would be a followup with both candidates pointing out this trend and asking how knowing it affects their position.

  • Martha

    “I believe in Roe versus Wade.”

    That’s a pretty clear statement of his position. He has explained his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act as:

    “Obama: Well and because they have not been telling the truth. And I hate to say that people are lying, but here’s a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say –that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law already in place in Illinois that insured life saving treatment was given to infants.”

    So he may not think his pay grade permits him to judge theological or medical issues, but he does think that Roe versus Wade is the be-all and end-all.

    I really do think we can’t ask for a clearer statement by the man. It’s up to the voters to decide if this committment to Roe versus Wade is or is not support for abortion, and if they can vote for a candidate so absolute in this one area.

  • FW Ken

    Martha – thank you for posting Senator Obama’s comment. I have read the claim that the amended Illinois bill was identical to the federal bill. I trust some enterprising reporter will be able to dig up the old bill(s) and compare them.

  • http://perpetuaofcarthage.blogspot.com/ Perpetua

    I was puzzled by what seemed a contradiction to me, and didn’t notice any coverage or explanation of it. McCain made strong pro-life statements. But McCain also said he believed in a fundamental right to privacy. Isn’t that how the Supreme Court found in favor of abortion in Roe vs. Wade?

  • http://goodintentionsbook.com bob smietana

    Mollie,

    The numbers do support the notion that the God gap is shrinking. Pew has exit polls showing that in 2000, Bush won among evangelicals 68-30, and by 2004 the lead was 78-21. The Rasmussen poll shows McCain with 58-32 lead. That’s a significant change, given the photo finish nature of recent elections.

    The Democratic strategy isn’t to lead a mass exodus of Evangelicals from the Republican party–they want to peel away just enough votes to win in 2008.

  • Martha

    FWKen, that would be interesting. I have no idea what the exact wording was; there are several sites out there criticising Obama, but they are up-front about being pro-life.

    This is not to say they are lying, biased, or inaccurate, but I’d like to see an analysis from a reporter, or an impartial source. Just to see if his explanations are coherent, consistent, and stack up.

    This site gives “Obama’s Top Ten Reasons” and is very critical of him; the one about the wording is:

    “http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/01/top-10-reasons.html

    And the #1 reason Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was:

    1. The IL Born Alive Infant Protection Act was a ploy to undercut Roe v. Wade. During a debate against Keyes in October 2004, Obama stated:

    Now, the bill that was put forward was essentially a way of getting around Roe vs. Wade…. At the federal level, there was a similar bill that passed because it had an amendment saying this does not encroach on Roe vs. Wade. I would have voted for that bill.

    This was an out-and-out lie. The definition of “born alive” in the federal and Illinois versions were identical. The only difference came in paragraph (c), which was originally identical in both versions but changed on the federal level.

    Illinois’ paragraph (c): A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.

    Federal paragraph (c): Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in this section.

    When the senator sponsoring the IL bill tried to amend IL’s paragraph (c), Amendment 1 below, to be the same as the federal paragraph (c), Barack Obama himself, as chairman of the committee hearing the bill, refused, and he then also killed the bill.”

    Now, this is a self-described conservative site, so there are probably political and possibly religious elements at work here. Clarification would be handy, wouldn’t it?

  • David

    For the first big debate, there seems not to be that much interest

    NY Times seems to not care much on line
    Wapo has some coverage, farther down the line
    Washington Times has it top right

    Blog Coverage is varied.
    TPM has ignored it for the most part
    Daily Kos has limited coverage
    Huff has it as their #2 popular post, but main coverage has fallen down the page

    Not very much “gotcha” type coverage, i.e. no mention in the ledes of “above my pay grade”

    Seems like most of the media is not covering too much – Since it was not done by a journalist it is not important? Or do they just not get religion and it’s importance in America?

  • Martha

    The National Right to Life Committee has posted documents from the Illinois senate archives tracking the progress of the Bill, including changes to wording:

    http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/index.html

    They are maintaining that a “neutrality clause” such as Obama says he would have voted for was proposed and added to the Bill.

    Who knows who’s telling the truth here? I think, though, that Obama is being truthful when he says he would not support anything he deems “trying to undermine Roe versus Wade”.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Bob,

    White evangelicals are less enthusiastic for McCain but so is every traditional Republican group. So that might not be indicative of a closing of the God gap. Or it might. White evangelicals are slightly below supporting Obama where they supported Kerry at the same time four years ago.

    It’s important, too, to compare apples to apples. Same polls with same definitions of what constitutes evangelicals at the same time in the polling cycle. Rasmussen polls aren’t bad, but they’re rolling auto-robot polls, which is different than how Pew conducts their polls. Also, I don’t think Rasmussen polled the same questions four years ago, so it’s impossible to compare.

    I’m not saying the God gap isn’t closing — I just haven’t seen evidence that white evangelicals are voting more for Obama than they did for Kerry. Perhaps that will change, but most media stories alleging that they are use anecdotes and somewhat imprecise data.

    Incidentally the notion that evangelicals are overwhelming GOP voters is also a media construct. In fact, 2004 voters were less likely to cite values as a reason for voting for anyone than they were in, say, 1988. But the media decided to jump on the story anyway. Further, the percentage of evangelicals that GWBush got in his last two races was itself an outlier. Usually the numbers aren’t quite so dramatic.

  • Chris Bolinger

    Mollie, you nailed it, but good.

  • http://www.goodintentionsbook.com Bob Smietana

    Mollie:

    Not sure that an 78%-21% advantage evangelicals in 2004, on the heels of 68%-30% victory in 2008, is a media construct. Sounds more like an old fashioned butt whipping to me.

    I mentioned the Rasmussen poll because it’s included in the WSJ story you linked to about evidence for evangelical support. The Pew study is more helpful. If Kerry had held on to that extra 5% of evangelicals, he might be president right now.

    That was my main point. The Dems are not looking to win the evangelical vote, and no one expects them to. All they want to do is peel away enough evangelicals voters to tip the election in their favor.

  • Tim J.

    FW Ken,

    The NRLC has posted the two bills at http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/2003AmendedILBAIPAandFedBAIPA.html . They are indeed identical in every substantive way (the differences consist basically of the words “United States” being replaced with “Illinois”). Unless someone has a direct link to some government page with the text of the bills that shows they’re different, I think we can safely say who is lying here.

  • FW Ken
  • http://carelesshand.net Jinzang

    I wonder if either candidate would have the courage to speak in a Muslim forum.

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  • Martha

    “All they want to do is peel away enough evangelicals voters to tip the election in their favor.”

    I think you’re right there. They’re not looking for a wholesale migration to the Democratic party, but if they can just convince enough centrists/cafeteria Catholics/young, hip evangelicals/moderates/non-guns’n’God types over to them, then Obama has a chance.

    Probably the same with McCain; looking to present the man as traditional, but not fundamentalist.

    Everybody is jostling for the centre.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    On the God Gap issue, I meant to link to this CNN story which I thought accurately characterized what’s happening.

    It got the gist of the courting of evangelicals story while noting that polling doesn’t show movement toward Obama, just no enthusiasm for McCain.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Two points–I just read a 20 page analysis of Obama’s pro-abortion (virtually pro-infanticide) stance in the Ill. Senate. It included the whole law in controversy that Obama fought as well as the weak force of previous Ill. laws to protect infants–and it sure looks like the words Obama spoke (and were directly quoted by Martha) were riddled with lies and/or purposeful deceit.
    And when is Obama going to get off his arrogant high horse when a reporter asks about this issue. On CNN after the debate a reporter asked him about this abortion/infanticide issue and Obama clearly was angry and called raising the question “offensive.” The reporter afterwards told the anchor he was dumbfounded at Obama’s being so angry at being asked a legitimate question about a legitimate issue.
    Also, the media constantly in its reports has made it look like only evangelicals consider individual human life as beginning at conception (as though it is some sort of fundamentalist, Bible thumping quirk). However, this is also the traditional Christian teaching, Catholic teaching, and affirmed by most scientists. It is only the extremist radical left that considers a child to be nothing more than an exterminatable blob from conception until birth (and now increasingly even after birth) And it is this extremist left Obama has regularly sided with throughout his short career. (That is why–little noticed by the MSM–that NARAL unanimously dumped very pro-abortion Hillary for extremist Obama during the recent Dem primary.)

  • http://www.soilcatholics.blogspot.com Peggy

    The event was much more interesting and useful than I thought it would be. I was amazed by McCain being on his game so much and answering so readily. I had wondered if he had seen the questions ahead of time. Then I read that Andrea Mitchell suggested something similar on Meet the Press today. While Warren didn’t press Obama on some matters, he seemed much more openly friendly with McCain (as did the audience) than he did w/Obama.

    Obama did fairly well, but equivocated much, such as on abortion. I did catch his absolute evasion of the Q whether he had voted for any limitation on abortion. Krauthammer at FOX called Obama more than once “post-modern” in wordy responses.

  • Jerry

    Speaking of McCain’s double talk about life happening at conception and being pro-stem cell research, has anyone seen coverage on what those against embryonic stem cell research want done with all the embryos now in storage? I’ve never read of anyone exploring questions such as: If an embryo is left frozen, does that freeze a soul in limbo and deny that soul entrance into heaven? What should the law say about the disposition of those frozen embryos? I’d sure love to read a media discussion of those theological questions.

  • http://www.thelutheranreview.com Sarah

    Mollie, thank you for giving up your social life for one night to watch and report the interview. :)

    I posted a link on my blog to your article.

    Most poignant was the one sentence response by McCain on when life begins.

  • Jerry

    It turns out that McCain lied about being in the cone of silence during the event. I wonder how the that revelation will play to those who liked his answers on certain questions. Will they still believe his answers? There are many media reports including the NY Times

    Mr. Warren started by asking Mr. McCain, “Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?”

    Mr. McCain deadpanned, “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

    Interviewed Sunday on CNN, Mr. Warren seemed surprised to learn that Mr. McCain was not in the building during the Obama interview.

  • Steven in Falls Church

    It turns out that McCain lied about being in the cone of silence during the event.

    Having come across poorly at this event in comparison to his opponent, the Obama party line is now that McCain must have cheated and received the questions before-hand, a baseless smear that McCain is hitting back hard against.

  • http://www.truyoo.com Shaun G

    Oh my gosh — I think I just figured out why McCain would say that he believes life begins at conception … but that he also supports funding embryonic stem cell research.

    I think he’s using the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ definition of conception, which most of us know as implantation.

    If that’s the case, then it sure seems like he’s being misleading to the majority of his audience who likely think that by conception he means fertilization.

    Commenting on a previous GetReligion post, I gave a run-down of terms relevant to the abortion debate that get used in different ways by pro-lifers and pro-choicers.

    When McCain says life begins at conception, he is using a term that is defined differently by pro-lifers and pro-choicers, and so I think the natural follow-up question should be:

    “Sen. McCain, by ‘conception,’ do you mean fertilization or implantation?”

  • Julia

    “I believe in Roe versus Wade.”

    Shouldn’t a law professor say “I agree with the reasoning in Roe v Wade”; not “I believe in” a legal precedent?

    Monday morning CNN has been going through clips of Obama and McCain’s answers to the same questions. Very interesting.

    Sunday on FOX, Bill Kristol said he thought Rick Warren did such a good job that he should be included as questioner in the fall’s debates – replacing one of the anchor people in each debate. I was surprised myself at how interesting the event was. The forum sure beats the quiz show aspect of what we usually get in the TV “debates”.

    Only problem I see with the “cone of silence” issue is whether McCain had access to radio coverage while he was in the motorcade. Or if somebody told him what they had heard so far before he went into the green room. Certainly there are witnesses who could clear this up. Even if McCain had heard some of the questions, that didn’t give him much time to formulate answers. Also – Warren said both candidates were given a list of the areas he would be covering; the only thing they didn’t know what how the questions would be phrased.

    Andrea Mitchell is exhibiting her familiarity with Obama’s talking points more and more. She and her husband, Alan Greenspan, are photographed frequently at Democratic social events. If she went to a lot of Republican parties, would she be parroting what she heard at those parties instead? What’s the ethics of a reporter’s social connections? Are there rules about that taught in J School?

  • Julia

    FYI

    CNN just played the clip of McCain talking about stem cells. Essentially, he said that there are different opinions about the use of embryonic stem cells. He has decided they could be used because there are other important values that also are at issue. He said that he was optimistic that the recent advances in skin cell research might soon make the issue about embryonic stem cells moot.

  • http://www.soilcatholics.blogspot.com Peggy

    That the 2 had an outline of the issues to be discussed may have been enough to prepare McCain, who knows (or should know) what the crowd would like to hear. I didn’t think McC took a clear stand on stem cells. He was pretty vague so as to make us wonder what he meant.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    About the listening devices allegation — check out Beliefnet’s Godometer interview with Warren:

    A source at the debate tells me that McCain had access to some communications devices in the few minutes before he went on stage with you and that there was a monitor in his green room, in violation of the debate rules.

    That’s absolutely a lie, absolutely a lie. That room was totally free, with no monitors–a flat out lie.

    There’s more at the link.

  • http://TheAmericanView.com John Lofton, Recovering Republican

    The Rick Warren/Obama/McCain get-together proved one thing conclusively: not one of them is, from a Christian/Biblical perspective, qualified to hold a God-ordained civil government office. And yes, God does have qualifications for those who hold civil government offices. You’d think (but not really, if you have Scriptural discernment) that a “Pastor,” who says he’s a “Christian,” in a “church,” questioning two men who say they are “Christians,” might ask each man what, to them, is the Bible? Is it God’s Word? Oh, and you’d think the faith-works thing might come up in a Q like: “How would your Christian faith apply to your job, govern your job, as President?” And, and — Jesus, remember Him? Might’ve asked: “Is He your Lord? And wht might this mean when you’re President? What might you do or not do because Jesus says so?”

    Please visit our site and comment: TheAmericanView.com.

    And read the piece re: What kind of person (a Godly, knowledgeable man) God tells us we can vote for to hold one of His civil government offices.

    http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=693

    John Lofton, Editor

    JLof@aol.com

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