WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Rick Warren said Thursday that his upcoming forum with Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama will be aimed at asking them tough "heartland questions."
The author of the best-selling book "The Purpose-Driven Life" is to interview McCain and Obama on Saturday.
The candidates will appear together at Warren's 20,000-member Saddleback mega-church in southern California.
"Well, I'm a pastor, not a pundit," he told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux on Thursday's "Situation Room." "One of the things we're going to do is I'm going to ask identical questions to both candidates, which will be different.
"I'm not going to play 'gotcha' with one candidate and not with the other. This way, it will be totally fair. You compare apples to apples," he added.
I saw the religeous forum from PA with Hillary and Barack. It was excellent and there was no "gotcha". And it was very eye opening. Barack really believes in the words of Jesus and the Beatitudes.
Dear Not An Obamabot:
He gave the church 90% of his money, but the church belongs to HIM.
What happened to good old fashion sermons. Why is the church in politics at all?
Ask the same questions but altewrnate who gets to answer first or keep the two separated so the person going second hasn't had the advantage of knowing what the questions are in advance. Then it will be fairand unbiased.
Why are we letting an evangelical run a debate? This is ridiculous?
I don't care how big their lobby is, religion has no place in government!
The framers of the constitution made it clear they believed religion was too dangerous to be a part of a true republic and that's why they created the separation of church and state.
The religious right have no business getting involved in a political election and the candidates are pandering to them by taking part. I'm not surprised by McCain, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised by Obama, but I'm really, really disappointed in both their campaigns for going along with this. It's a travesty.
So what does this guy have to do with anything?
Another freakin pastor. Has he been vetted? How many kids has he molested. Leave the religion out of politics
This should be an interesting debate. You have someone who's a truly practicing christian, but believes in things like abortion and gay marriage... which will make the evangelicals cringe. On the other side you have a guy who's not religious at all who's gonna try to pretend he is to pander to the evangelicals... this should be funny. :)
My question is: Will the candidates have a head's up as to what the questions will be?
Wow, Obama answering questions without a telepromptor? I expect a repeat of his debate performance when George Stefanopolis asked a few hard questions and Obama crashed and burned. Just love his deer-in-the-headlights look.
Good for you sir and good luck.
I think that it will be interesting.
Have both candidates attend a worship service, preach a biblical sermon on "The Purpose Driven President", treat them both to lunch, cast your vote according to conscience, and leave it at that.
I think it is so interesting that with some people the Pro-life issue is always such an important determination when it comes to electing someone.......Ok so Bush was elected and what has he done for this cause? I don't think I heard him once mention overturning Row vs. Wade. Many of the Republican candidates use this to rake in the votes, but really what has changed.....nothing!
I am unhappy that both of the candidates chose to participate in this forum. This is not a smart move for either of them.
no teleprompters... let's count the 'uh' and 'well...' and 'hmms' while barack stumbles over the first non-softball question that comes his way.
Seems fair to me.
CNN, this is ridiculous. The two candidates are going to appear at a forum moderated by some preacher? Where is the separation between church and state. CNN has sunk to a new low. This is one program that I will happily miss.
It is sad to see this minister who wrote in an email message to other pastors not more than a couple of years ago that he didn't know about AIDS and his wife had to tell him about it ... get this kind of publicity from presidential candidates. Rick Warren not only learned about AIDS ... but also about the great amounts of money churches could get form it via faith based grants ... which Obama wants to increase. Mixing religion with politics is never good ... only this seems more of a bad situation than most.
I'm just amazed he got McCcain to work on a Saturday. will be a good chance to see both men together on the same stage before the debates.
P.S. Person above who thinks Obama is the dumbest ever, Bush already holds that title. Barack is articulate and thinks before shooting his mouth off. I know it will be difficult to have an intelligent President , even a dim bulb like you will get used to it. Please use your head for something more than keeping your ears apart.
I live in Lake Forest, and though I'm not a member of that church, it's hard not to like Rick Warren and admire what he's done. He seems honest, and his willingness to not publicly take sides is laudable. If more religious leaders would do the same, that would be fine, too.
That being said, I'm not sure that it's appropriate to hold a political event (even if it lives up to its non-partisan billing) in a church. I'd even be fine with Mr. Warren moderating the event, but I think politics need to stay out of those buildings.