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Candidates Saddle up for Saddleback

By Krissah Williams Thompson
The spotlight on the campaign trail this weekend will turn to Pastor Rick Warren, one of the nation's most prominent evangelical preachers and the only man able to get Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama to show up on the same stage before the fall debates.

The candidates will both fly to Orange County, Calif., tomorrow, joining Warren at his Saddleback Church for a wide-ranging discussion of values, social issues and leadership at what the pastor calls a Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion.

In interviews posted overnight on Christian Broadcast News analyst David Brody's blog, Warren provided insight into his approach. He'll spend an hour with each of the candidates. A coin toss determined that Obama will go first.

Warren's questions will be wide-ranging. He told Brody that in addition to a question about Jesus Christ, he'll ask about abortion and the definition of marriage, but he won't limit himself to the traditional social conservative hot button issues.

"I'm also going to ask them about more than that, in that third section on 'World View.' I'm going to ask them questions about character, competence, about values, vision, virtue, about their convictions in leadership, about their experience," Warren told Brody. "And I'm going to deal with their personal life -- because character matters. Their personal life does matter as a leader. God says so."

Warren also told the New Yorker recently that his interview-style will be "sort of David Frost or ... Charlie Rose," so expect long questions and long answers.

After his turn with Obama, Warren will bring on McCain, who will apparently be sequestered somewhere so that he cannot hear Warren's discussion with Obama.

Warren does not make endorsements and has called both candidates "good friends."

During the forum, which will show live on CNN, a group of religious progressives called the Matthew 25 Network will air a pro-Obama advertisement featuring religious backers such as Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, the Texas Methodist who presided over Jenna Bush's wedding. In the ad, which is called Families, Caldwell and his wife Suzette point out that Obama has "stood by families -- including his own." On a conference call this morning Matthew 25 Network leaders acknowledged the rib at McCain, who years ago took responsibility for the demise of his first marriage before quickly marrying Cindy McCain.

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 15, 2008; 2:25 PM ET
 
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Comments

I wish we could see more debates between Obama and McCain. This was a great opportunity to actually compare the two candidates on several levels. Although I think they both did good jobs in presenting their points of view, John McCain came across as the more seasoned, experienced, and decisive of the two candidates. When it comes to leadership and solving the numerous problems facing this country, John McCain stood head and shoulders above Obama.

Posted by: Howard | August 17, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

For 8 years under Clinton this country did nothing while terrorists attacked us. (Cole, 1993 WTC bombing, US Embassy bombings) the list goes on. Now that GWB decdided to do something with the blessing of most democrats, they all jump ship. You lefties make me sick. And for those of you who complain about this being held in a church, and cry about separation of church and state, that phrase is NOWHERE in the constitution, nor is it implied.

Posted by: Hector | August 16, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I am looking forward to this opportunity to hear from both candidates in a civil and grace-filled environment. Warren represents much that is good and under-reported about evangelicalism. He's has demonstrated great courage in refusing to bow to either the radicals on the right or the left.

May God bless Rick, our candidates, and all who listen that we may wisely choose the next leader of our nation.

Posted by: Brett | August 16, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

This is a net loss for liberty, equality, and democratic ideals. It is a forced perspective by people who have perfected willful ignorance, blind and unquestioned obedience to tyranny and forced subjugation. That a segment of the population who's self importance and self righteousness takes priority over the larger majority's right to even exist is disturbing enough, that the same segment can force their misguided convoluted ideals on the rest of society speaks volumes about what has truly eroded the fabric of our society. They speak of morality from a contrived narrow definition that would never admit their own responsibility or complacency in degradation of the world around them. They speak of character from a narrow contrived view that disallows accountability for their actions and the actions of those with whom they identify. Their definition of leadership never surpasses that of a dictatorial ideologue and their understanding of the problems which face our nation show all the shallowness of a theocratic and despotic ideal. We have in our country a criminal enterprise that poses itself as a legitimate government, a criminal organization that validates itself through the idiocy of those who vote against the better interests of themselves and the rest of society. They allow themselves to be manipulated and monopolized by fear and fallacies. A social club that re-enforces it's belief by the alienation which it causes and forces it's authority upon those who can see it for what it is. What a disgrace, what a joke!

Posted by: Average joe | August 15, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

This is a net loss for liberty, equality, and democratic ideals. It is a forced perspective by people who have perfected willful ignorance, blind and unquestioned obedience to tyranny and forced subjugation. That a segment of the population who's self importance and self righteousness takes priority over the larger majority's right to even exist is disturbing enough, that the same segment can force their misguided convoluted ideals on the rest of society speaks volumes about what has truly eroded the fabric of our society. They speak of morality from a contrived narrow definition that would never admit their own responsibility or complacency in degradation of the world around them. They speak of character from a narrow contrived view that disallows accountability for their actions and the actions of those with whom they identify. Their definition of leadership never surpasses that of a dictatorial ideologue and their understanding of the problems which face our nation show all the shallowness of a theocratic and despotic ideal. We have in our country a criminal enterprise that poses itself as a legitimate government, a criminal organization that validates itself through the idiocy of those who vote against the better interests of themselves and the rest of society. They allow themselves to be manipulated and monopolized by fear and fallacies. A social club that re-enforces it's belief by the alienation which it causes and forces it's authority upon those who can see it for what it is. What a disgrace, what a joke!

Posted by: Average joe | August 15, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Corruption Anon | August 15, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope McCain is asked why it appears he sold his soul to the Devil by going in the gutter with this campaign.

Posted by: ericmiami | August 15, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

No wonder this Republic is in shambles.
I've just decided not to vote for President.
These two show their values by appearing in this forum. Nauseating.

Posted by: Henster123 | August 15, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I, Barack Obama, promise that no one American company will be sold to foreign investors while I am president.

To do that, I will increase taxes on all these same companies, their owners, and stok holders and bleed them dry until they are so completely useless and innefective that no one in their right state of mind will EVER want to buy them.

I am Barack Obama and I approve this message.

Posted by: Barack Obama | August 15, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

YEAH! Go Putin, go Putin!

BaraKKK fully endorses the Russian invasion of Georgia . . .'cos after all, looking tanned for the convention is WAY more imprtant than actually saying or doing anything.

GOT MY TAN AWWWWNNN!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Obama = Putin | August 15, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Forget about the setting, put aside all your views of God, stop calling one another names in this Comments section and let's get down to the meat of this matter! Please!

This will be first time we're going to be able to compare and contrast in real-time the two candidates that are running for the President of the United States! And the fist time we will be able to formulate the differences in appearences and presentations between John McCain and Barack Obama.

To tell you the truth if I were a McCain supporter I'd be pretty worried about this one. Character, Family, God? Not McCain's strong points. Look for McCain to break out the old trodden story of how his "faith" got him through when he was a POW. Of course, in your favor, watch as McCain's infidelity to his first wife is somehow not even mentioned or refered to!

Not only that but I predict that McCain is going to come across as looking pretty wobbly on his feet and make some mistakes and the whole age thing will probably come up again.

Yes, if I had my money on McCain on this one I'd be sweatin' it, maybe double check with my bookie what the point spread is again. It'll be a good head-to-head pre-season warm-up match to watch leading up to the real debates none-the-less.

Posted by: Factory Worker, Akron Ohio | August 15, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

BAMBI - Rezko - Auchi - Saddam Hussein?
Jaded by the political corruption the state of Illinois is immersed in, one might be tempted to shrug off the Rezko trial today as simply another showpiece for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. After all, he's put away close to 150 corrupt Daley and Ryan administration workers and the Illinois public mumbles, but no shows no outrage.

One wonders if public sentiment would change (Yes, "CHANGE!") if it could be shown that Barack "CHANGE" Obama's strong opposition to the War in Iraq was based on financial ties to a Saddam Hussein arms dealer?

Obama buys a house in a land deal with Tony Rezko's wife, whose income at the time was $35k/year. In the days before the papers were signed, Rezko gets a loan from Auchi. Auchi and Rezko are pizza and real estate partners -- you know, little ol' harmless "Tony" Rezko, the small time Chicago operator.

Then mysteriously last month, Rezko goes to jail for breaking a bail agreement because he gets another $3.5 million loan from Auchi, the man who became the 279th richest man in the world partially by making arms deals with Saddam Hussein.

No, not a discredited urban legend about Obama's connections to terrorists, but this time a viable direct connect? RealClearPolitics.com's Jack Kelly comes thisclose to connecting the poisonous dots between Obama and Nahdmi Auchi:

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/03/obama---rezko-.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0bm1QHXAig&feature=related


Posted by: CarolT | August 15, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I feel for the people who don't belive there's a God...yeah we just live so we could die yeah we have no purpose...what a mind job...Jesus was a man that didn't have much money, education, didn't traveled no more than 200 miles from his home town, his parents borrowed a place so he could be born and yet this man has conquered more men and women than any empire in the world...and they still talk about him EVERYDAY. He is the light of the world! hey! lost sheep? He still loves you even tho you spit at the Son of man. God bless. p.s. Religious people we're the ones that killed Jesus. (pardon my grammar i'm not that well educated)

Posted by: frank | August 15, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Your categorization of "fruit-cake" and "nutjob" betray your ignorance. I certainly respect Mr Warren's proactive and optimistic view towards change to your pessimistic if not childish rant.

Posted by: Lance | August 15, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This is an awesome forum!! Leadership and character IS paramount to making a great and effective presidency. Without integrity and character you have a "reed" shaken in the wind, a bang with no effect.
Also, there is no separation of church and state. State should not interfere with the church, but we NEED the church in the state. A Godless society will only cause more chaos and a breakdown of simple morals of right and wrong.
Also, Corruption Anon's comment about Bob Jones is unsubstantiated. Don't speak about something you don't know about. I live in the same city as Bob Jones and the school is a positive influence and has done great things for every race and color of people. Their student body has hundreds of students from scores of different countries.

Posted by: GodBlessAmerica | August 15, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What idiot would get SCIENTISTS together to talk about ethical issues? Scientists are not trained to address ethics...they only have opinions about the facts they report. Ask a philosopher to talk about the facts scientists report and you may actually get somewhere. Further, economists would be far better to discuss realistic targets for revitalizing the us economy through investment in alternative energy.

Posted by: kolson | August 15, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It's bad enough to have to listen to all the 'evangelicals' on cable TV 24/7. Now we have to put up with the other media doing it to us as well. Enough is enough. Give me freedom from all this junk.

Posted by: EvangelicalJoe | August 15, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the separation of church and state comment above. But such is the power of celebrity preachers. Celebrities are sure getting a lot of time this election. It will be interesting to see how the online instant poll http://www.bop-o-rama.com reacts to this debate. Do you think they will let Paris come? Maybe not.

Posted by: acarponzo | August 15, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Why was everyone so worried about Obama's pastor making anti-American statements? Obama needs to answer whether or not he embraces the Black Liberation Theology Rev. Wright preached at his church. Do some research on your own. Look at what the Rev. Wright kept refering to when he was questioned about his inflamatory statements, specifically the writings of James Cone. Is this where BHO is taking this country?

Posted by: Gary in SC | August 15, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid. Give me a candidate that doesn't listen to bow to any religious or athiest view point.

Posted by: Nothere | August 15, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Aaargghhhh! You couldnt pay both candidates to get together with leading scientists to talk about ethical issues that they as president may face, or even to discuss realistic targets for revitalizing the us economy through investment in alternative energy. But you can get both of them on to sit with someone who says "...because character matters. Their personal life does matter as a leader. God says so". Sorry, enough is enough - its because _you_ say so, and the little voice in your head that claims to be your god backs you up on it. Avoiding generalities here, you - specifically you Rick Warren, are a fruitcake - and I know this because the tooth fairy told it was that way.

Posted by: MC | August 15, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

This should be an intriguing preview to how both candidates will far in the upcoming debates. Warren might be an acceptable stand in for, say, Jim Lehrer...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | August 15, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

What a sad state of affairs when religious zealots have SO much influence into the political process. The only adgenda these people have is to force us all to live like they do. When is this country going to stop allowing these religious people to impose their backward thinking on the rest of us. Isn't that why we're fighting the Taliban? Maybe we should spend some resources fighting against the religious nut-jobs we have right here at home!

Posted by: Rob | August 15, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank God this is what I have been waiting for. I consider my self a centrist. I am a Christian that feel there in no longer any compassion in the right. I also feel that to build a stronger nation we need to find common ground in this country. Build Infrastructure, educate our workforce and make education affordable to all that want it.

Posted by: Bill In washington state | August 15, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe the first presidential debate will be in a church. So much for seperation of church and state.

Posted by: Matt | August 15, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that Republicans have tried to create a diversion from their illicit relationships with Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big War and Big Drugs by hiding behind perverted religious and racial smokescreens.

If the Republicans were truly people of the Word, then peace, prosperity, health care, education, energy independence and a clean environment would have been the agenda for the past 30 years.

They care about the dirty money that they and their friends are making by war, oil, drugs, tobacco, and all of the other sin rackets that they are running.

That they have endorsed a KKK-meets-Bob Jones style of religion is just wrong.

http://www.girlinshortshorts.blogspot.com/2008/02/john-mccain-and-mob.html

Posted by: Corruption Anon | August 15, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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