Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama’s Catholic Advisory Council [UPDATED]

(Hat tip: Kathryn Jean Lopez)

From CBNNews:
This afternoon, Barack Obama’s campaign will announce the formation of what they are calling their, “National Catholic Advisory Council.” More details to come on an afternoon conference call but Senator Bob Casey and Former Congressman Tim Roemer will be on that conference call.

A couple interesting notes: First of all, this Catholic Council seems to be set up not so much for the Democratic primary as it is for the General Election. Why? Obama has two high profile pro-lifers in prominent roles on this Council. Senator Bob Casey and Former Congressman Tim Roemer have taken flack from the Democratic Party in the past because they are not pro-choice. The Obama campaign is clearly trying to send a message. This is an “in your face” signal to voters of faith that Obama is a different kind of Democrat. They want Catholics and Evangelicals to know that while Obama may be pro-choice, the pro-life point of view is not going to be so easily discounted. Critics will call it deceptive. Supporters will call it an “olive branch”.

Also, let this be considered the opening salvo in the potential battle to come over faith voters. Obama will not concede this block. He’s not going to get the single issue life or marriage voters but get ready for the Obama campaign to make a major push for the Evangelical vote. John McCain already had some work ahead of him on getting out the faith vote. If Obama is the nominee, it gets even harder. McCain and the Republican National Committee will need to figure out a way to cast Obama as an out of control liberal so he doesn’t pull a certain percentage of the Evangelical vote away from McCain. This will be a key battleground area and in a close election it could make all the difference in the World.

John McCain has already set up his Catholic Advisory Committee. It's more than one hundred strong. Below is a quote from the Senator who leads it, Sam Brownback:

"John McCain has a common sense vision for America based on faith, freedom, and families," said Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), National Co-Chair of the National Catholics for McCain Committee. "Committed to the protection of innocent human life, he is a leader Catholics will be proud to support. John McCain knows from experience what it means when a society tramples on the truth of the value of the human person. He is committed to defending the dignity and value of every person, regardless of their status."

More here.
(emphasis added)

Here's more on the story from

My Comments:
I'll update with additional information (and commentary) as more becomes available following this afternoon's announcement from the Obama campaign, as Obama, Roemer, Casey Jr., et al, try to put lipstick on this pig.

UPDATE (13 April)
More from CBNNews:
Some more information now on Barack Obama's Catholic Advisory Council. As The Brody File reported Friday, the Obama campaign is going hard after the Catholic vote and if they make it to the General Election they will try to reach out to Catholc pro-lifers even though Obama is pro-choice. A list of the council is here.

Below is from Obama's Religious Outreach Director Joshua DuBois:

"This is the first time in recent memory that prominent Catholics have stood up in this way in a Democratic primary. Senator Obama is proud of his support among Catholics across the country and looks forward to working hard for every Catholic vote. This Council is a phenomenal milestone in that process."

Obama's Catholic Council has two prominent pro-lifers taking an active role. Senator Bob Casey says the following:

"Thousands of Catholics and people of all faith communities across Pennsylvania and around the country have responded to Senator Obama's plan to help ordinary Americans find decent jobs and affordable healthcare, and his vision of restoring America's leadership in the world."

Former Congressman Tim Roemer said this:

"I am proud to join this impressive group of servant leaders. We look forward to fanning out across the country to share Barack's message and his record with voters in the weeks ahead."

Here's Obama's statement:

"I am deeply honored to have the support and counsel of these committed Catholic leaders, scholars, and advocates. We share many important values, and I have profound respect for how these religious and lay women and men have put their faith into action to promote the common good. They have spent their lives serving others: shaping our public debates, caring for the poor, ministering to those who need our help, and fighting for a more just society. As a committed Christian, I welcome their help as we continue to build the largest grassroots network of people of faith in any campaign in history."

How Obama tries to court the very pro-life Catholic vote will be interesting to watch. Obama's pro-choice views will be a problem but what Obama has done from day one is go out of his way to try and not demonize the other side.

Look, we all know the reality. If Obama becomes President he'll be sympathetic to the pro-choice cause and pick judges that will tilt the court left. But here's an important point to remember, At the end of the day people don't so much vote on policy positions, they vote with their heart. Do they have an emotional connection to the candidate? If Obama makes pro-lifers "feel" like they are not crazy and are being heard then who knows? They just might be convinced to vote for him because they "feel" that Obama cares about them and respects their views.

UPDATE # 2 (13 April)
Karen has an excellent rundown on the spotty records of some of Obama's Catholic advisors at Some Have Hats.

I can't say that I'm too surprised to find Professor Richard Gaillardetz' name in the mix.

UPDATE #3 (16 April)
Deal Hudson: "Who Are Obama's Catholic Supporters?"

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At 4/12/2008 12:52 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

You have to wonder how they're going to spin Obama's support of the "Freedom of Choice Act", denying medical aid to survivors of abortion, and creative reading of the 'Sermon on the Mount' to support same-sex unions.

At 4/12/2008 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After letting his mask slip for a moment and revealing the profound contempt for people in small towns clinging to guns and God that he feels, I'd say that this "Catholic" Advisory Council would have an easier time selling Ian Paisley to the average small town Catholic than Senator Obama. However, I do wish them lots of luck, all of it bad.

At 4/13/2008 9:24 AM, Blogger Kyle R. Cupp said...

Wow! What an honor bestowed on Catholicism in getting advisory councils from both political parties! I feel so important now in our electoral process.

At 4/20/2008 7:53 PM, Anonymous Michele said...

Terence Jeffrey in an article entitled What Does Obama Believe? had a great line about Robert Casey’s (I think his father would be horrified) support of Obama.
“For life-begins-at-conception Casey to support life-doesn't- even-begin-after-birth Obama is an unambiguous betrayal of Casey's stated belief in the right to life.”


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