The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Bishops Use iPods to Lure Faithful Voters

By Michelle Boorstein
You know competition for American voters' attention has gotten intense when the Catholic Church starts giving away iPods.

Yes folks, it's come to that, in this intense, information- (and misinformation) saturated campaign season. In an effort to get Americans to read their voters' guide, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops announced today that they are giving away a free digital recording device to a randomly-selected person who registers on the guide's Web site.

The bishops' organization -- which essentially represents the Vatican in the United States -- also announced it had put a video quiz about its positions on YouTube and a page about them on Facebook. The video features Steve Angrisano, who the bishops describe as "a dynamic singer ... popular with Christian youth," but who in the staid video comes across a bit more like a caricature of the square Sunday school teacher than he might like:

"The Catholic Church is involved in politics because...?" Angrisano asks as answers flash: A: We have nothing better to do? B: We love going to Washington D.C? or .... C: To defend human life and protect the weak and vulnerable.


Images flip by, from flying clocks (unexplained) to fetuses to people protesting war.

American bishops put out documents meant to guide Catholic voters every four years, but in the past few elections a few individual bishops who have forcefully condemned candidates who support abortion rights have drawn outsized attention.

This year's guide, called "Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship," repeats what other guides have said, which is that the church is against abortion, torture and deliberate attacks on noncombatants in war. And the guide acknowledges that Catholic voters have to weigh a range of "intrinsic evils" and pick among candidates who never match up exactly with the Catholic Church on everything.

"There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons," it says.

However the bishops meant the document, the new multimedia push will certainly be watched closely by partisans on both sides, as Catholic voters -- who make up some 20 percent of all voters -- have been narrowly divided in recent years and are now squarely under strategists' microscopes.

It's also doubtless aimed at younger Catholics, who are increasingly Latino. Latinos account for nearly half of Catholics under age 40 in the United States.

Posted at 7:55 PM ET on Sep 17, 2008  | Category:  Religion
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Are the catholics condemning war as well? War is more morally corrupt than abortion. Killing innocents either women and children, pregnant women young and old are also a question of morality that trancends to all christian faiths. Since McCain favors war and Obama supports the rights of women to abortion, catholics should question both of them.

Posted by: bigben1986 | September 18, 2008 5:36 PM

Eric says: "If you support Hillary, YOU MUST VOTE AGAINST OBAMA!!!

Posted by: Eric | September 17, 2008 11:42 PM"

What are you thinking? If McCain is elected one of the direst results will be a Supreme Court nearly entirely comprised of ultra-conservatives. What do you think that might bring? I suspect, for starters, an end to Roe v. Wade. Is that what you want?

Posted by: lyndunham | September 18, 2008 3:31 PM

George Will on yet another reason to vote McCain/Palin-

"Divided government compels compromises that curb each party's excesses, especially both parties' proclivities for excessive spending when unconstrained by an institution controlled by the other party. William Niskanen, chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute, notes that in the last 50 years, "government spending has increased an average of only 1.73 percent annually during periods of divided government. This number more than triples, to 5.26 percent, for periods of unified government."

By picking Palin, McCain got the country's attention. That is a perishable thing and before it dissipates, he should show the country his veto pen."

Posted by: Scott | September 18, 2008 9:23 AM

The percentages of a adds with negative tones may be up this week folks, but there is a difference between having a ‘negative tone’ and ‘lying with dishonor’ McCain clearly has, repeatedly!

McCain is running the sleaziest campaign since when Bush attacked McCain in 2000; and, showing how he sold out to continue the ‘Bush legacy of lying for the Presidency’, by McCain standing by completely debunked lies on national TV’s “The View” (

It’s clear that John McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election!

McCain lies like ‘the same old Bush!’

McCain = Bush = McBush!

Posted by: Independent | September 18, 2008 5:05 AM


Every time you posted that, I've pointed out that LBJ did not run for re-election. Are you just mindlessly spamming?

Posted by: JakeD | September 18, 2008 1:01 AM

Vote for Obama and you will have DESTROYED Hilary's chance at becoming

Consider this:
If you elect Obama for 2008 , Hillary CAN'T RUN IN 2012!! The
incumbent always runs for their party in reelection.

Hillary will then be 69 when she gets a chance to run as democrat.
Then people will call her old(like they do McCain who is 72) and she
will NEVER become President.

Reagan was 69 when he got elected but he wasn't trying to break the
glass ceiling at the same time.

So if you care at all about Hillary, you will VOTE AGAINST Obama this
time around. Plus, you will break the glass ceiling and Hillary WILL
BE THERE in 2012!!

Think about it!! It makes sense!!

If you support Hillary, YOU MUST VOTE AGAINST OBAMA!!!

Posted by: Eric | September 17, 2008 11:42 PM

Hacking and publishing Gov. Palin's Yahoo account was a bad move by who ever did it. If they had any real damning emails they should have released them up front because after today they will be of no value. People that support Obama will believe them and blog about how bad they are; McCain supporters will be outraged because it reinforces the premise that she is being treated unfairly; and undecided voters will not trust the content of any email message because they cannot be verified and for that reason, it supports the premise that she is being treated unfairly. Further, no one, liberal, conservative, or middle of the road American wants to see their privacy invaded.
Anything released will be denied and frankly cannot be proven. If you can hack the account, you can change the email message. My guess is in the coming days other emails will be released that will cast Palin in a bad light. John McCain’s camp and conservative media will say the messages have been doctored and the American people will believe them because in the end, the emails were stolen and who can trust a thief? The left leaning media will never be able to verify anything because no one will ever come forward to be interviewed because it will reveal their identity and if they get caught, they will go to jail. Again, if the media runs any possible story without verifiable proof it is further proof that the media is out to get her. This was a really stupid move. The risk in this case was much greater than any potential reward.

Posted by: Dr Jack | September 17, 2008 11:30 PM

Alan Chernoff's CNN Report on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Buying Influence in Washington DC- Guess who DID take their money in a BIG way (yep B. Obama):

"Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) spent over $94.8-million on lobbyists since 1998, making it the nation's 12th-largest lobbying client, while Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) bought $79.5-million of influence, the 20th biggest spender, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"They wanted to fend off regulation of their enterprises," said Massie Ritsch of the Center.

Until recent months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largely succeeded in that effort - functioning with relatively little oversight as they aggressively grew their portfolio of mortgages to try to increase earnings.

Campaign contributions bought influence as well, including donations to the presidential candidates.

Sen. Barack Obama is the No. 3 recipient of Fannie and Freddie campaign dollars, having collected $123,000 from the companies since he first ran for the Senate in 2004, according to the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics.

The former chief executive of Fannie Mae, James Johnson, was the original head of Obama's vice presidential search team. Johnson resigned from Obama's campaign amid controversy over discounted home loans he had received.

Sen. John McCain has received $19,000 from the two companies in the past ten years."

That's $40,000 a year for Obama and $1900 a year for McCain- Wow, Obama what do you owe them in return?

Posted by: Scott | September 17, 2008 11:28 PM

Fight affirmative action. Vote McCain.

Posted by: JakeD | September 17, 2008 10:18 PM

Fight fascism, vote Obama.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 9:54 PM

the link to the voters guide you reference is busted.

Posted by: FYI | September 17, 2008 9:34 PM

The bishops should also make clear in their messages to Catholics that Pope Benedict himself said that to vote for a candidate solely because the candidate favors legal abortion is a sin, BUT to vote for a candidate for reasons you, the voter, consider compelling (ending poverty and hunger, fair treatment of workers, renouncing pre-emptive war, or whatever) IN SPITE of his/her position on abortion, you have not committed a sin.

A very few bishops have tried to strike the fear of hell into Catholic voters by saying abortion is THE issue on which to base their votes ... or else. They are utterly incorrect.

Posted by: Bernice | September 17, 2008 8:39 PM


We don't use condoms ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 17, 2008 8:34 PM

In her acceptance speech, Sarah Palin approvingly quoted Westbrook Pegler, who among other things was a racist, an anti-semite and a fascist who advocated killing Robert F. Kennedy.

In Spanish, there is a phrase, "To s/he who understands, few words are needed."

Palin's literary choice speaks volumes about why her ignorance does not portend bliss for the American people and their ideals.

In this time of economic turndown, a moment when the search for scapegoats may be just around the corner, it might be wise to remember the words of author Sinclair Lewis, which hopefully will not turn out to be prophetic:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”

Posted by: Martin Edwin Andersen | September 17, 2008 8:28 PM

This is a culture war and the future of women's rights hang on this election.

I will report you JakeD as a condom user if you do not get your name off that list.

Posted by: Rico | September 17, 2008 8:26 PM

I just signed up : )

Posted by: JakeD | September 17, 2008 8:13 PM

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