McCain and Obama will Attend, "Purpose Driven Life" Church forum
It has taken a man of God, perhaps, to do what nobody else has been able to do since the general election season began: Get Barack Obama and John McCain together on the same stage before their party conventions later this summer.news from around the nation.
The Rev. Rick Warren has persuaded the candidates to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. In an interview, Mr. Warren said over the weekend that the presidential candidates would appear together for a moment but that he would interview them in succession at his megachurch.
Word of the forum came as a leading conservative Christian, James C. Dobson, signaled that he might reverse his position and endorse Mr. McCain, The Associated Press reported.
“I never thought I would hear myself saying this,” Mr. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said for radio broadcast on Monday. “While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might.”
The forum still falls short of the kind of face-to-face, town-hall-style debates that Mr. McCain, of Arizona, has called for this summer before formal debates scheduled for this fall.
Mr. Warren, the author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” said he had called each man personally to invite him to his event, which will focus on how they make decisions and on some of Mr. Warren’s main areas of focus, like AIDS, poverty and the environment.
“I just got to thinking, you know what? These guys have never been together on the same stage, it would be a neat way to cap the primary season before they both go to the conventions and things go dark for a couple of weeks,” he said. “I’ve known both the guys for a long time, they’re both friends of mine, and I knew them before they ran for office, so I just called them up.”
He said that both had readily agreed, perhaps reflecting how each candidate is courting the evangelical audience to whom Mr. Warren ministers.
Mr. Warren’s event will have as a co-sponsor Faith in Public Life, the multidenominational religious group that held the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., in April, featuring Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania during their primary fight. Mr. Warren said he would devise his questions with input from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders associated with the group.