ABC: Evangelicals 'Buzzing' Over Obama

Will evangelical voters flock to support Barack Obama?  According to ABC's World News Sunday the presumptive Democratic nominee for President has evangelicals “buzzing” because Obama “seems more comfortable talking about his faith than the Republican” candidate, John McCain. 

Sunday anchor Dan Harris reported that Obama is “taking advantage of a shift among evangelicals, particularly among younger evangelicals who are more left-leaning.”  According to Harris “hundreds of house parties and rock concerts” are planned to attract the liberal members of the evangelical community.  In closing the story Harris conceded that there was “almost no chance Obama will win a majority of evangelicals” but “even a small improvement could make a huge difference in a tight race.”

Harris interviewed author Stephen Mansfield, who wrote The Faith of George W. Bush.  Mansfield, whom Harris identified as an evangelical, will soon release his latest work, The Faith of Barack Obama.  Harris termed the book “favorable” to Obama.

MANSFIELD: He's a man who's fluent, again, in that language of religion. He has no problem sharing his own religious experiences. And I think that he's going to really connect with a certain segment of the evangelical voters.

Following Mansfield's quote Harris cut to Internet video of Obama saying, “I've never been ashamed to talk about my Christian faith.”  After detailing the plans to attract younger, more liberal evangelicals with rock concerts and house parties, Harris spotlighted 25-year-old Josh Dubois, the “son of a preacher,” who is running Obama's faith outreach initiative. 

DUBOIS: We don't have a number in mind, but we do know that millions of evangelical Christians are taking a hard look at Barack Obama and what he stands for.

Harris acknowledged one major stumbling block for evangelical voters: Obama's support for abortion.  He termed it a “nonstarter for many evangelicals” and interviewed one such voter from Ohio. However, the interviewee was an older, white male and clearly not the demographic Obama is targeting.

Harris also mentioned that Obama has “other barriers” like the Jeremiah Wright controversy and Obama's own comments about “bitter” voters “clinging” to religion. 

At this point he included a sound bite from Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, who mentioned Obama's opposition to banning partial birth abortion and a “failing record on the key issues that are important to evangelicals.” 

Rather than delineating those key issues, or mentioning that Obama has an extremely liberal voting record, Harris mentioned that McCain wasn't conservative enough for some evangelicals either.  Harris noted that Mansfield, the author featured in the story, “will not actually vote for Obama because of the issue of abortion.”

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.