June 10th, 2008
04:49 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama meets with religious leaders behind closed doors

,
 Obama privately met with about 30 religious leaders in Chicago on Tuesday.
Obama privately met with about 30 religious leaders in Chicago on Tuesday.

CHICAGO (CNN) - Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama held a private, closed-press meeting Tuesday with religious leaders, which included Evangelicals, Protestants and Catholics, according to campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

About 30 people are expected to attend, including some from Chicago, a campaign aide said. Members of the media were kept out and weren't informed of any details until about 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting.

"Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration," Psaki said in an e-mailed statement when pressed for details by members of the traveling press corps. Previously, the only information provided to reporters was that Obama would hold a private gathering with "community leaders."

"This is one of several meetings he will have over the coming months with religious leaders," Psaki said.

The Illinois senator left the traveling press corps upon landing in Chicago after a morning of campaign events in St. Louis, Missouri. Staffers would not disclose the location of the meeting to the reporters who were still on board the plane waiting to depart.

The campaign said privacy was necessary because the meeting includes people who support Obama, as well as some who do not who wanted to remain unidentified.

They provided the names of three leaders in attendance, all of whom happen to be African-American:

Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention; Dr. Stephen Thurston, pastor of the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago; and Bishop Philip Cousin of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is pastor of the Philip R. Cousin AME Church in Naperville, Illinois.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. xddy4u

    You bloggers are a joke. You are saying this because all in attendance were Aro-American clergymen. Obama, don't leave no stone unturned. Don't take nothing for granted. Reach out to everyone.
    Even to those jokers who have just blogged. Obama '08

    June 10, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. saba

    Vig,
    You are so NEGATIVE I think you have low life.
    He well rounded and briliant person not ignorant like you!!

    June 10, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Mary

    Way to go Barack! People of faith need their voice heard too, just keep church and state separate. Just talk about the war, health care and jobs what we all need.

    June 10, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Sarah

    For the life of me, I can't understand why Americans continue to ignore the whole premise of separation of church and state. Isn't that why our ancestors fled their homelands? And yet, there Obummer is, insisting that religion matters. Why should preachers, priests, ministers, and various other nefarious spiritual charlatans of organized religion have any say in who becomes our president or vice president? Hillary Clinton would never stoop so low. Jeez, the guy has no balls at all, does he? What a pantywaist.

    June 10, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. R.I.F.

    Vig June 10th, 2008 4:53 pm ET

    Hey "Vig" do you also have a prediction on who's going to win the superbowl? I'd like to make some money since you're such the predictor.

    Geez, the guy meets with religious leaders in an effort to get people to understand that the democracts are also filled with religious people contrary to how the republicans try to paint us. Cut him some slack. How about we just ignore religion like in 2000 and 2004 and let the republicans get all of the religious votes.

    June 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. prince

    If the religious leaders want to go to the press, its their business, it should not be because Obama made them to. The issue of church and state need to be seperated, and i think Obama has learnt his lessons that the media need not be part of that meeting

    June 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. jimmy velman

    OBAMA AND HIS PASTORS AND PRIEST 20 YEAR FRIENDS ARE TOO FAR LEFT OF THE MODERATE CENTER TO BE ELECTED TO THE PRESIDENCY. THE GOP IS ALREADY ON TARGET ON THEIR
    TAX AND SPEND SLOGAN AGAINST OBAMA. ENDING THE OIL SUBSIDIES IS JUST A FIRST STEP. OIL AND GAS DRILLING AND BUILDING NEW REFINERIES ARE ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES IN THIS UNCERTAIN WORLD . THE ENVIRNOMENTALISTS AND NANCY PELOSI WOULD COMPROMISE OUR NATIONAL SECURITY
    FOR SOME INCONSEQUENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS..
    THE OIL COMPANIES ARE NOT IDIOTS. THEY WILL TAKE UTMOST CARE ON WHERE THEY DRILL AND USE ALL MEANS NECESSARY TO SAFEGUARD OUR NATURAL RESOURCES. WE AGREE ON TAXING THE OIL COMPANIES ON THEIR EXCESSIVE PROFITS WHICH ONLY GO TO THE WELL PAMPAERED CEO'S WITH UNLIMITED PERKS AND MONEY WHICH THEY SOEND IN OTHER COUNTRIES WITH VACATION HOMES EVERYWHERE IN EUROPE
    AND SPEN OUR DOLLARS ABROAD TOO.

    June 10, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Homan

    Vig – you are so narrow minded. Since when does talking with different people, or different factions make you ineffective. Obama is the most thoughtful politician I have seen in years. Talking with many factions, listening, and than drawing thoughtful conclusion's is what makes a leader a leader. It does not mean you Obama is going to try and be everything to everyone. Just look at his firm stance on the War, the economy, and you will see that he does not try to be everything to everyone. LISTENING is the thing THE BUSH Administration lacked, and look where that left everyone!!

    Vig – think before you write!!

    Hoping for a better world!!!!

    June 10, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. prince

    Obama would be just fine. I suspect he want to bounce off idea off them about a church he has chosen to attend. He probably want some list of churches, members, and church pastor vetted y the Christian community before he commit himself to sitting in the pews.

    Its just crazy the way the media is behaving like parasites and maggots who feed on stench.

    CNN, FOX News, and all the like, leave the guy alone and let him enjoy his christianity

    June 10, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. LS

    I am a staunch Obama supporter; however, his seeming need to have religious people around him bothers me. I also don't like how he is apparently only meeting with Christian leaders. What about other faiths? But, I am very a-religious (not "anti" just "a"), so anything dealing with a politician and religion would bother me. The 2 should be kept separate, just like a voter shouldn't voted based on religious views.

    June 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Marcus West

    To me, this is actually kind of scary. I mean, not because of seperation of church and state, but rather a paranoid worry. It just seems like something the "AntiChrist" would do. Ha. Look what television and media do to me. But it does seem very creepy.

    June 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Nevada female voter for Obama

    "What about representatives of the "non-faith community", NYC Native? I don't think that people who have no faith have heads or ministers of non-faith...talk about over-inclusion! Those who have no faith probably don't care about being represented anyway. I doubt they have issues that could be addressed in such a forum. Their issue is they have no faith! As to Mr. Obama's meeting, perhaps the only other faith community he should include would be rabbi's from the Jewish Community, but he has already met with them.

    June 10, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. barackobama4prez

    I know it's hard for some of us to fathom a leader who is for the people...all people....but this is why I am feeling this Senator.

    June 10, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. james

    dont hate on it its just that when you are president you need to talk to everyone thats all.

    June 10, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. RyanD.

    Unity.

    United States of America, not divided.

    Obama 08'

    June 10, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Obama For President!

    Its Going To Be A Landslide Victory For Obama!

    June 10, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Rick Roberts

    First of all let me say that I am a white 70 year old mail who will vote for Obama. I think that the more people he meets with the better. That includes folks from Iran, with pre-conditions as well as Cuba. Let's have us all notice that Bush meets with people, unfortunately he is even more disliked by the rest of the world than we dislike him.
    Obama is another JFK and if the people in my age group would only remember what excitement we felt when JFK was running for President then maybe they would stand behind him like I do.
    I have a Grandson in the Navy who has already been in the Iraq area and I don't want any more Grandsons going there.
    He will be effective as a President because he will reach out to people from all walks of life.
    Only an idiot or a racist would think diferently.

    June 10, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Carol, MN

    Good. I think he should have done this months ago. He is a Christian and a good man. Ministers should stand with him.

    Let's not fall for anything, let's stand for America. Stand with Barack.

    He gets my prayers every night. I want him to win and I want to take our country back to decency and honor.

    June 10, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Don't Worry

    He's only playing the "faith" card:

    Anyone who questions his “vetting” for President of the United States is “tangentially inconsequential.” Furthermore, everyone understands that voting “present” 130 times in the IL Senate is “trivial” compared to his having to sit in that church for 20 years just to advance his political career. He was not born to a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas to end up earning the “infinitesimally” tiny salary of $14K a year as a community organizer. Nor did he attend Harvard so that he could steel a measly couple of thousand votes during his run for the IL Senate. NO! His vision has always been higher than that.

    June 10, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Cindy, CA

    I hate the question "Is America ready for a black president?". My answer is "We had George Bush, so that means we were ready for an idiot. Why not try an intelligent man, black, orange or green.

    Barack 08

    June 10, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Over turn roe v wade

    Save the babies from the Hillary supporters that want to keep the right to kill them. Call it what you want it is MURDER. Republicans for LIFE. Let them live. They want to live just like you.
    McCain08

    June 10, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. GO OBAMA

    Don't worry - he's only playing the "faith" card.

    Besides . . . anyone who questions his “vetting” for President of the United States is “tangentially inconsequential.” Furthermore, everyone understands that voting “present” 130 times in the IL Senate is “trivial” compared to his having to sit in that church for 20 years just to advance his political career. He was not born to a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas to end up earning the “infinitesimally” tiny salary of $14K a year as a community organizer. Nor did he attend Harvard so that he could steel a measly couple of thousand votes during his run for the IL Senate. NO! His vision has always been higher than that.

    June 10, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Tim-Henderson, NV

    I believe this to be an important step to quell misconceptions about BHO. To sitting down w/ these folks is politics by inclusion, not by exclusion. Clearing the air and asking questions can only help all sides be less jugemental. God Bless America

    June 10, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. HSNP

    Was Jeremiah Wright attending? Or that Catholic nut? Or Mr. Farrakhan?

    June 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. DJ, LA, CA

    He met with a very broad group of many different churches. Besides it's not like he met with lobbyist or set government policy like Cheney did when he met with energy executives 40 times...always in secret.

    June 10, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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