Obama is hoping a Biblically-titled grassroots effort will boost his stature among South Carolina primary voters.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign is hoping to increase the candidate's profile among African-American voters in South Carolina by launching a grassroots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family."
The effort, which began on Saturday, will organize Bible study programs and gospel concerts across the state over the next month in order to engage voters and boost Obama's name identification among Palmetto State voters who may be more familiar with the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Obama staffers have a significant grassroots effort underway in the state, using phone banks, canvassing and house meetings to reach out to black South Carolinians in urban centers as well far-flung rural areas. The campaign has also run radio ads here targeted at African-American voters emphasizing the Democratic candidate's faith.
African-Americans make up an estimated fifty percent of Democratic primary voters here. Recent polls have shown Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton running neck-and-neck among black voters.
According to a release from the campaign, "40 Days of Faith and Family" is "an opportunity for people of faith to come together, across racial and denominational lines, to talk about how they live their faith outside the four walls of the church, what they want to see from their presidential candidates and how Obama’s faith informs how he thinks about the issues of our time."
The release also says the effort will emphasize Obama's experience as a community organizer and civil rights attorney, two biographical entries that the campaign hopes will help the senator appeal to black voters.
Though Obama and Clinton are in a dead heat among African-Americans, Clinton still leads Obama by a wide margin in most statewide polls.
[For more campaign news from the Palmetto State, check out the South Carolina Political Ticker.]
UPDATE: The Obama campaign clarifies that they will not be organizing Bible studies themselves, but will be doing voter outreach through existing church Bible study programs.
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby