Home > Uncategorized > It’s the Barack, stupid.

It’s the Barack, stupid.

The most significant sentence in this article is in parantheses at the end of a paragraph:
The forum also offered Obama a chance to note that he had once attended Catholic school, and Clinton a chance to praise the Vatican as “the first carbon-neutral state in the world.”

Obama is always about him, his campaign is about Barack, and how he is the Messiah. Clinton is about solutions, tasks, actions, activity. Boring, yes. Effective, maybe. Illuminating, about leadership styles and personalities? Definitely.

The full article here:

Democrats work to woo back Catholic vote
By Robin Toner
Published: April 15, 2008

WASHINGTON: Many years have passed since the Democratic Party was as much a part of U.S. Catholic identity as weekly Mass and parochial school. But it still came as a shock to many Democrats to lose the Catholic vote, a key group in must-win states like Ohio, in the 2004 presidential election.

It is an experience they are determined not to repeat.

The presidential candidates are in the middle of an escalating battle for Catholic voters – most immediately between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, but also between the two parties as they look ahead to the general election. This struggle is an important part of the backdrop for Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the United States, which began Tuesday.

There is widespread agreement that U.S. Catholic voters are far more diverse than monolithic. Even so, both the Clinton and the Obama campaigns have hired Catholic outreach directors, deployed an army of high-profile Catholic surrogates testifying on their behalf and created mailings that highlight their commitment to Catholic social teachings on economic justice and the common good.

Dismayed at losing so many Catholic and other religious voters to the Republicans in 2004, Democrats talk far more often, and more comfortably, about their values and the importance of their own faith these days.

Essentially, they have tried to broaden the definition of “values” issues beyond abortion rights, on which they disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church and many religious conservatives.

Clinton, for example, spoke recently about the economy and the needs of working families to a crowd of more than 2,000 at Mercyhurst, a Catholic college in Erie, Pennsylvania. The college and the candidate went ahead with the event despite the objections of the local bishop, who argued that a Catholic institution should reflect the church’s “pro-life stance” on abortion.
On Sunday, the Democratic candidates appeared separately at a forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, for a televised discussion of poverty, health care, energy prices and the rest of the party’s policy agenda as moral and spiritual issues. (The forum also offered Obama a chance to note that he had once attended Catholic school, and Clinton a chance to praise the Vatican as “the first carbon-neutral state in the world.”)

Clinton, a Methodist, carried the Catholic vote overwhelmingly in Ohio, Texas and several other major states that have held primaries and caucuses so far this year, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls; she hopes to do so again in Pennsylvania, which holds its primary next week. (Aides say she is particularly popular among nuns.)
In an open letter to Pennsylvania Catholics, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., two children of Robert F. Kennedy, wrote, “Catholics have a partner in Hillary Clinton, one who will work to advance the common good of all Pennsylvanians and all Americans.”

Burns Strider, senior adviser and director of faith outreach for the Clinton campaign, said: “There’s no grand clandestine or secret message or formula here. It’s just a matter of middle class and working class people whose values match up very well with Senator

Bill Clinton carried the Catholic vote in 1992 and 1996. Some analysts say that considerable loyalty to the “Clinton brand” remains, notably on bread-and-butter issues like health care. The Obama campaign is acutely sensitive to the notion that their candidate is vulnerable among these voters; some of Obama’s allies argue that it makes little sense to even think of Catholics as a voting bloc, given the huge differences among them.

Even so, on Friday, the Obama campaign unveiled its national advisory council of prominent Catholics, including elected officials, theologians, academics, nuns and social advocates. In a conference call, Representative Patrick Murphy – who represents Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and prefaced his remarks by noting that he was St. Anselm’s Altar Boy of the Year in 1987 – said that Obama spoke “to the better angels in all of us.”

Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, another high-profile Catholic supporting Obama, noted: “I don’t agree with him on some issues. We disagree on abortion.” But Casey said he believed that Obama, as president, would advocate for “the least, the last and the lost.”
Republicans said their party raised its share of Catholic voters from 37 percent in the 1996 presidential election to 52 percent in 2004, part of their overall success in wooing and mobilizing churchgoing voters. They vow to hold them this time.

“We’re going to devote substantial resources to winning the Catholic vote,” said Frank Donatelli, deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. “I think the natural home of Catholics is the Republican Party.”

The campaign of the presumed Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, recently rolled out his National Catholics for McCain Committee, with Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, as a co-chairman.

Brownback’s chief of staff, Rob Wasinger, said McCain was “the full package” for Catholics, from his opposition to abortion to his support for overhauling immigration laws, a major issue for Hispanic Catholics.

Against this backdrop, the pope’s words and gestures during his visit will be scrutinized not just by the faithful and by theologians, but also by political professionals in both parties.

“The Republicans are just hoping and praying he’ll say something about abortion and gay marriage, and the Democrats are terrified he will,” said the Reverend Thomas Reese, a senior fellow and political scientist at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “But at the United Nations, he will also say a lot of things to the left of Hillary and Obama.”

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