Obama Web Site Seeks to Rally The Faithful

By Politics
Saturday, June 2, 2007

Although Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is a Christian, he "embodies the basic ideals and values of most Hindus," said Prianka S., a Hindu from Chicago.

Obama's "love for Israel" is "evident not just in his work, but also in his heart," said Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), an Orthodox Jew.

Obama "represents true faith," said the Rev. Bertha Perkins, a Baptist minister in New Hampshire.

Those are among the gushing testimonials to Obama on his "People of Faith for Barack" Web site ( http://faith.barackobama.com), which officially launches today.

Obama is the first of the Democratic presidential contenders to launch a religious outreach Web site, but the others won't be far behind. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is set to unveil his "moral leadership" Web site tomorrow, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) campaign is working on one, staffers said.

Edwards stumbled in February when two religious bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, resigned from his campaign over past writings that blasted religious conservatives as "Christofascists." Much of his religious outreach has since been handled directly by his campaign manager, former Rep. David E. Bonior (D-Mich.), who spent a year in a Roman Catholic seminary before going into politics.

Obama's effort is headed by Joshua DuBois, a former Senate aide who is associate pastor of a Pentecostal church in Cambridge, Mass. DuBois calls himself a "political progressive, religious evangelical" -- exactly the demographic that all three Democratic candidates will be courting Monday night at a forum sponsored by Jim Wallis's magazine, Sojourners, and carried live by CNN.

-- Alan Cooperman

Thompson Takes Next Step

Fred Thompson (R) moved one step closer to a presidential run, filing papers to form a committee that would allow him to raise money and hire a staff but would not require him to disclose his donors.

The committee, incorporated in Nashville, is the latest move in Thompson's all-but-certain candidacy. The former Tennessee senator and actor, who this week announced that he will not play District Attorney Arthur Branch in the next season of "Law and Order," is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2008 GOP nomination next month.

-- Perry Bacon Jr.

FEC Says Kerry Overspent

The Federal Election Commission has told Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to pay the federal Treasury more than $1.2 million as a result of overspending uncovered during an audit of his 2004 presidential campaign.

The campaign was bound by strict spending limits because it accepted $74.6 million in federal money during the general election. The campaign is entitled to an administrative appeal, and it will follow that course, said attorney Marc Elias. "The FEC's ruling sets the stage for the next point in the process," Elias said. "We won't be writing a check anytime soon."

-- Matthew Mosk

Clinton Fires Back at Romney

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign responded sharply to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's claim that the former first lady "wouldn't even get elected in France."

"Her view is the old, classic, European caricature that we describe of big government, big taxation, welfare state," Romney (R) said in a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday.

The Clinton campaign quickly dismissed his remarks. "Given his willingness to flip-flop, by tomorrow, Governor Romney will be speaking French, wearing a beret, and heading up Frenchmen for Hillary," campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

-- Perry Bacon Jr.

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