[Updated and bumped to the top for discussion purposes.]
Lynn Sweet looks at the tea leaves.
Considering a 2008 White House bid, Sen. Barack Obama will visit New Hampshire, an early presidential primary state, on Dec. 10. Before going to New Hampshire, Obama, an Illinois Democrat, has strategic trips to the West and East coasts on his calendar:
â€¢ Obama will hit New York on Monday to keynote a children’s charity event. In return, he was offered control of the distribution of $1 million worth of new products to charitable agencies across the nation. However Obama attorney Bob Bauer said that he declined the offer and “we are not taking control of the gift.”
â€¢ In California on Friday, Obama will take a seat on Jay Leno’s couch on the “Tonight Show.” […]
Obama has been to Iowa three times. But he has never set foot in New Hampshire, a state where voters are used to personal contact before they make up their minds on whom to support.
I’ve asked this question before, but it deserves a repeat today. Do you think Obama is in this thing or not?
*** UPDATE *** The pushback against Obama’s efforts to recruit evangelicals is apparently intensifying.
Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to evanglical Christians in preparation for his possible Presidential campaign is running into very stiff resistance from the Christian right. As the Chicago Tribune reported recently, Obama is set to attend a huge evangelical gathering in California on Dec. 1, at the invitation of megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical superstar who wrote The Purpose-Driven Life. Analysts have interpreted Obama’s scheduled appearance as a sign he’s working much harder than Dems ordinarily do to win over Evangelicals.
But the appearance is now provoking an intense backlash from leaders of the Christian right. They are calling on Warren to disinvite Obama from the event because of his liberal positions, especially abortion rights â€” or as one of those leaders put it, Obama’s support of “the murder of babies in the womb.” […]
For instance, an open letter from a group of Christian-Right figures â€” including Phylis Schlafly, Tim Wildmon and others â€” criticizes the invitiation by citing Obama’s pro-choice stance and his support for condom distribution in answer to the AIDS epidemic, “not chaste behavior as directed by the Bible.” The letter ends, “No, Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama, we will never work with those can support the murder of babies in the womb.
The National Clergy Council also issued a press release about Obama recently.
“Senator Obama’s policies represent the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality, not to mention supreme American values,” said the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), president of the National Clergy Council and chair of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance, America’s oldest association of Evangelical ministers. […]
“If Pastor Warren cannot find the courage to rescind his invitation to Senator Obama, he must at least make clear through a public statement that the Senator’s support of abortion stands in contradiction to what the Bible teaches and what the Christian Church has historically taught on the sanctity of life,” said Rev. Schenck.
*** UPDATE 2 *** While we’re on the subject, Insight Magazine has a piece about how Hillary Clinton’s people are worried about an Obama run.
The worst-case scenario, the sources said, would be a Clinton-Obama slugfest in the South, where the New York senator would seek support from black voters who had backed her husband more than a decade ago. But Clinton advisers don’t believe she could compete against Mr. Obama in the black community, which comprises nearly 50 percent of the Democratic vote in the South.
â€œI can envision Hillary working out a deal with Obama in which he becomes a leading ally and even promised a major Cabinet post,â€ the strategist said. â€œThe last thing Hillary wants is to face a popular black candidate for the Democratic nomination.â€
*** UPDATE 3 *** As if on cue, the AP has a new story about the controversy over Obama’s upcoming appearance at the megachurch, “Megapastor defends invitation to Democratic Sen. Obama.”
“Our goal has been to put people together who normally won’t even speak to each other,'’ the Saddleback statement said. “We do not expect all participants in the Summit discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take the cooperation of all government, business, NGOs and the church.'’