Tales from the Trail

McCain, Palin doing less well with younger evangelicals

DALLAS – Republican presidential contender John McCain still retains strong support from white evangelical Protestants, but the 72-year-old Arizona senator’s appeal fades with younger voters from this flock.

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That is the findings of a survey that was just done for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

It found that McCain has the support of 71 percent of white evangelical Christians versus 23 percent for his Democratic rival Barack Obama.

But the numbers narrow somewhat for evangelicals under the age of 30, to 62 percent for McCain to 30 percent for Obama.

McCain has solidified his support with this important component of the Republican base with his choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin – a staunch conservative Christian and mother of six — as his running mate.

Obama defends community organizers

newphil.jpgLANCASTER, Pa. - The work of community organizers, who work  for low salaries to help people in impoverished communities,  is getting lots of attention this week as Republicans poke jabs at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama‘s job experience.

The three years Obama spent as a community organizer “maybe … is the first problem on the resume,” said former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his speech at the Republican convention on Wednesday.

Giuliani, who failed in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and now runs a lucrative consulting firm, said community organizing sounded as though Obama had “immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.”

Faith-based community organizers upset by Palin putdown

ST. PAUL – Faith-based community organizers have a message for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin: they have “actual responsibilities” thank you very much.

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In a pointed barb aimed at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, John McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket said her experiences as a small town mayor in Alaska were far more taxing than that of a community organizer.

Obama was a community organizer in Chicago two decades ago.

A small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities,” the Alaska governor told the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night in a rousing speech peppered with jabs at Obama.

Faith on full display at Republican convention

ST. PAUL – Faith was on full display at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night with prayers from a pastor and tunes belted out by a Christian pop star.

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Miles McPherson, a senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego and former professional football player, evoked patriotism and faith while leading the convention in prayer:

Thank-you God for always being there for us. And thank you for making America the greatest country in the world. We pray these things in Jesus’ name,” he said to warm cheers from the crowd.

Will Biden help Obama with the Catholic vote?

biden1.jpgDALLAS – With Delaware Senator Joe Biden on the ticket, will Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama make inroads with wavering Catholics in the race for the White House? 
 
In an election year that has seen both Obama’s campaign and that of his Republican rival John McCain try to woo voters of various faiths it is sure to be a question that pundits will ask in coming days.
 
Obama on Saturday chose Biden, 65, as his vice presidential running mate, ending days of frenzied speculation.  
 
Biden, originally from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, will bring not only foreign policy expertise to the ticket — he chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — but strong working-class roots and his Catholic faith.
Catholics had strongly supported Hillary Clinton in her failed bid for the Democratic nomination and a number of polls have shown a fairly close race among Catholics with Obama leading nationally by a small margin.
 
Conservative Catholics tend to line up with evangelicals on issues like abortion but there are also many liberal Catholics in America who like the Democratic Party on economic issues. 
 
Almost one-quarter of U.S. adults are Catholic but their electoral clout is somewhat diluted by their distribution.
 
According to a June report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, nearly four in 10 U.S. Catholics reside in New York, California and Texas, none of which are closely contested. The first two are solidly Democratic and Texas is Republican.
 
The report said states “where the Catholic vote could make a real difference are Florida, Ohio and Louisiana.”
 
Pennsylvania is widely seen as another battleground for the Catholic vote.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage
      
 
(Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed. Biden at a Democratic Party Debate in December)

Democratic abortion platform wins points from some pro-lifers

DALLAS – The Democratic Party remains staunchly behind a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

But the platform statement on the issue that will be adopted at the party’s presidential nominating convention in Denver later this month has been well received by some pro-life Christians, who rtr1w5c6.jpgapplaud its emphasis on abortion reduction.

On a conference call Tuesday with journalists, several leading evangelical and Catholic activists welcomed the stress on abortion reduction as the “common ground” between those who support abortion rights and those who oppose them (camps which describe themselves as pro-choice and pro-life).