September 24th, 2007
05:50 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama plans "40 Days of Faith and Family" in South Carolina

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

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. LinnieFB, Corona, CA

    I don't think this is just an appeal to black voters. Faith & family are also major themes among evangelicals of every race. (among all religions actually)

    I do believe Obama understands the importance of faith and prayer and the difference it will make in his campaign.

    September 24, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. laurinda,ny

    If Obama was such a great person then why doesn't he spend 40 days and nights in a nursing home, home for the wayward, orphanage,etc. Many people are not religious and that is very uncalled for.

    September 24, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    And so it begins...imagine that, trying to "appeal" to black voters...

    September 24, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Coach Haughton

    If Obama was such a great person then why doesn't he spend 40 days and nights in a nursing home, home for the wayward, orphanage,etc. Many people are not religious and that is very uncalled for.

    Posted By laurinda,ny : September 24, 2007 7:23 pm

    Most people are not religious?
    90% of americans believe in god.
    what a dumb statement.

    September 24, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Ivan Nunez, Minneapolis, MN

    Enough with the mixing of religion and politics! Can we keep the elections secular?

    The article outlines that the event will bring together people of faith across denominational lines; however, it also says it will organize Bible study programs and gospel concerts.

    How is that interdenominational? Should there be study programs of the Koran and of Buddhist texts?

    A better event for South Carolina would be "40 Days of Racial, Sexual and Religious Equality."

    September 24, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Uh-oh! That doesn't sound good!The theocrats weren't supposed to flip to our side until a few years from now.We better start rooting for rudy,we might need him.And by rooting I mean praising as a thrice married,immoral liberal kook that all lefties would support.Let Obama take the godhead cash and go down with the ship like bush.

    September 24, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Juli Bridgers, Elgin, Illinois

    Isn't any one else getting tired of politics?

    "40 Days of Faith and Family," the latest come-on in grassroots ewfforts (everyone sick of that worn-out phrase as well?!)starring Barack Obama.

    B.O., we don't need you or any other political candidate to organize our Bible studies and family time. Beleive it oir not, we've been able to take care of such matters all by ourselves, and have been doing so since long before you decided to start believing your own PR.

    Neither faith or family should be fodder for poltical taglines. By adopting these concepts as his own to exploit, Obama is demonstrating just how little he understands of the American people.

    September 24, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. Christian, Tampa FL

    I think it's a great idea and it shows that Obama's campaign is sensitive to the values of the voters he's reaching out to.

    September 24, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Tony Lopez, Charlottesville, VA

    If Barack Obama can lead the country in prayer well then more power to him. As spiritual people we believe in the power of prayer and real leaders lead prayers, the world we live in as well as our country needs prayer to find the way to peace.

    September 24, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. Fred, Reston VA

    There is nothing more disgusting than using the Lord to get votes. If Obama were a righteous man, he would not use religion as a tool to get elected. Only republican who is confused about the meaning of Christianity would do such a thing.

    September 24, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Dan, NY

    A lot of news out of SC today, as it has become quite a hot contest. More on

    September 24, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |

    Yes youre right B -rock is trying to appeal to blacks, and all other faiths dummy.

    September 24, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Linda - Albany, NY

    Why the catering to one particular race/belief? Obama's campaign states that it is, "an opportunity for people of faith to come together, across racial and denominational lines...," however, it also states, "the campaign hopes will help the senator appeal to black voters."

    Perhaps someone should inform Obama that voters are made up of different races & beliefs, including atheist, agnostic, pagan, muslim, etc. Do they not count?

    September 24, 2007 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  14. kris, St. Paul, MN

    Obama is Muslim in his heart but he is acting as a christian; god save America!!!!


    September 24, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  15. Gene, Chicago, IL

    This should rank right up there with some of the gems that Karl Rove has created as Saturday Night Live material. May-be church lady can moderate.

    September 24, 2007 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  16. Wallace, Chicago IL

    Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    Cut the nonsense.
    What are you implying? So if Hillary or Mitt Romney, or maybe Giuliani decided to do something like this, it would be okay right? It's okay for them to try to "appeal" to black voters, but he can't?

    I've seen you on here before... talking about "Oprah endorsed Obama just because he is black", but you won't say the same about a prominent white figure endorsing a white candidate.

    Call it both ways Kay. Contrary to popular belief, I think America sees through your type of hate... or at least I hope they do.


    September 25, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. erika morgan black dimond wa

    This sort of thing is how our candidates should be using campaign money so it is not just another loss for the public to bare. We need news coverage of these events, lots of it and also Edwards's work for Katrina victims. As talk is cheep, the sweat on the brow will tell us who these politicians really are. It is very important that we have a true measure of what sort of person it is that we elect to occupy the Oval Office!

    September 25, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  18. Bert

    I'd like to know what Mr. Obama has to offer us heathen-americans(special status IS worth free money, right?)
    who would like to see a lot of these
    organized religious institutions audited top-to-bottom for fraud, graft,
    and larceny....we keep hearing so much of this 'family' garbage, I say earn enough to feed your own kids or keep it in your pants, welfare statism, sanctified or otherwise, is garbage.

    September 25, 2007 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  19. B. D.

    This sounds like a bad idea that will backfire. Pandering to the nation's broadest bigot faction–evangelical Christianity–is another one of those political tricks that tend to hurt Democrats in the long run. Let us hope Obama can pull it off without making despicable promises to protect and uphold supremacist ideology.

    September 25, 2007 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  20. Derek, Phoenix, AZ

    Interesting... it doesn't mention what Mr. Obama's "faith" is...

    September 25, 2007 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  21. Sam, IA

    Excuse me laurinda, But why would it be inappropriate to have a dialouge with people of faith if you are a Christian yourself? I'm not grasping the concept. He should only speak to atheists? Of course his religion will be questioned by the hypocrites of the right who seem to think they have a hotline to God. So be it, That approach has finally worn thin with the real voters of america, No more preaching under the bathroom stall, thanks.

    September 25, 2007 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  22. Chip Celina OH

    Obama gets it. Given enough time, maybe he can get around to Laurinda's pet projects!

    Laurinda, NY asks: If Obama was such a great person then why doesn't he spend 40 days and nights in a nursing home, home for the wayward, orphanage,etc. Many people are not religious and that is very uncalled for.

    For starters, he's a sitting Senator that happens to be running for President. He has done his time helping people out and you want MORE? Why is it uncalled for that he exercises his First Amendment rights? Do candidates lose that once they run for office?

    Have you spent time at nursing homes, orpanages etc. When's the last time you helped out at a soup kitchen? Have you visited people in prison? Be honest, don't just say you have because we can't verify it and it looks as if you are on the high moral ground. If you have, I applaud you for your community service and hope you continue, but don't put your expectations on a candidate and then show religious bigotry because you may not agree with his faith.

    I haven't done the nursing home or orphanage gig, but I have helped out at soup kitchens and on several occasions visited prisons to hang out with guys I don't even know. Let me tell you they really appreciate that. I don't expect anyone else to do these things but am appreciative if they do.

    A great need in this country is for the citizens to get off of their duff and get involved, not sit at their computer and gripe because the politicians aren't out doing ALL of the community service because that's government's role.

    That's become an increasingly huge problem with our society, we sit around EXPECTING government to do all of the dirty work and criticize them when they don't but expect nothing of ourselves. Then, when someone in the government does get involved, we complain about it and Monday morning quarterback it to death, "Well, I wouldn't have done it that way, or his charity is not acceptable because he only wants to help group A and not group B."

    Have a great Tuesday!

    September 25, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  23. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    This is DISGUSTING!! A Democrat trying to appeal to the thumpers. We dont want those people in our party. If Obama wants to attract those type of folks he needs to switch to the other side.

    September 25, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  24. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Even as a non-Democrat and a non-bible thumper, I applaud Obama for his effort here.

    No problem promoting faith and family as the country could use a little more family unity nowadays.

    I would imagine the usual suspects would be jumping all over this if it were a Republican as the actions of a few losers have obviously tarnished the party.

    But the gist of your hammering usually entails the way the Republicans are shoving "faith and religioun" down peoples throats, why is this any different, is it because he is a Democrat?

    The Democrats to their credit have started actually started using the "F" word (faith) on the campaign trail, with the main panderer using it down south and also using HER fake as hell accent.

    Your a good man Obama and believable when you speak of faith.

    September 25, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  25. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    So according to AJ from Montpelier, VT anyone who is of Christian faith is not welcome in the Democratic party. Wow, how close minded and bigoted can a person from a "progressive" party be?

    Like it or not (I really don't care) the majority of Americans are people of faith and do a lot for their fellow man.

    September 25, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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