October 7th, 2007
05:11 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama addresses evangelical megachurch

Obama was scheduled to address a church audience in South Carolina on Sunday morning

GREENVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama is increasingly invoking his Christian faith on the campaign trail, and on Sunday morning the Democratic presidential candidate will become a preacher of sorts by addressing an evangelical megachurch in Greenville.

Obama will speak to the Redemption World Outreach Center, which describes itself as "a Spirit-filled Church, characterized by dynamic worship, supernatural miracles, and relevant ministry for all ages ...
reaching people from all walks of life." Obama's campaign calls the appearance "an opportunity for the Senator to have a morning of fellowship with South Carolinians."

The church has 4,200 seats. Members of the church said Sunday morning that they have a total congregation of over 10,000.

It's rare for Democratic candidates to venture to the traditionally conservative Upstate region of South Carolina, which is characterized politically by church-going Republican primary voters living in and around Greenville and Spartanburg.

But Obama's visit here is not surprising given his campaign's recent efforts in South Carolina to reach out to Christian voters, including the state's large African-American population that makes up an estimated 50 percent of Democratic primary voters. The state campaign is in the midst of promoting Obama's values through a grassroots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family," which is reaching out to primary voters through gospel concerts and a series of faith forums.

Last weekend, Obama attended but did not speak at two churches in Columbia, one predominantly black and one predominantly white. At a town hall meeting in Aiken on Saturday, Obama was introduced by a pastor who led the crowd of 2,400 in a brief prayer. There are times on the stump when Obama even sounds like a pastor himself, referencing New Testament phrases and sometimes saying "I'm not gonna preach to ya!" when emphasizing a point to his audience.

According to the religion web site Beliefnet and its "God-o-Meter" tool that measures "God-talk" in the presidential campaigns, Obama invokes religion more than any of his Democratic competitors.

Obama is set to speak during the 9 a.m. service.

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

October 7th, 2007
04:58 PM ET
15 years ago

Citing Iraq plans, Richardson adviser defects to Biden campaign

Richardson's plan would immediately withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq and focus on diplomacy.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - One of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's South Carolina advisers is leaving the presidential campaign because of Richardson's Iraq plan and signing up with Sen. Joe Biden.

Citing Richardson's liberal stance on Iraq, which would immediately remove all U.S. forces from Iraq, the campaign's South Carolina state co-chair Fletcher Smith said Biden's plan to divide Iraq into three federal regions is a more responsible plan.

"To me it's the only way this problem is going to be resolved," Smith said in a phone interview Saturday morning. "Right now we have a quicksand of a civil war, and I don't believe we can just pull out precipitously in a six month period of time without jeopardizing our interests in the region. We don't need another evacuation that we had in Vietnam."

Smith serves in the South Carolina House of Representatives and is a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. Smith has been the co-chair of Richardson's South Carolina steering committee since July.

He said he had spoken with Richardson and his staff.

Smith said he did not consider joining any other Democratic campaign besides Biden's, and noted he was drawn to Biden because he is an Irish-American.

"Irish-Americans faced the same problems African-Americans have faced in this country," Smith said.

The Richardson campaign did not comment on Smith, but defended the Governor's Iraq plan.

"Governor Richardson has a real plan to get our troops out of Iraq," said Richardson spokesman Lachlan McIntosh. "He's the only major candidate who will get all of our troops out quickly and leave no residual forces whatsoever. Our men and women are currently targets in Iraq. The longer we stay, the more will die."

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iraq • Joe Biden • South Carolina
October 7th, 2007
04:51 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton and Romney lead latest Iowa poll

(CNN)–Senator Hillary Clinton, D-New York, is leading the pack of Democratic presidential candidates in the politically crucial state of Iowa, according to a poll of likely caucus participants released by the Des Moines Register on Sunday.

In the poll, Clinton registered 29 percent of those polled. Former North Carolina senator John Edwards, and Senator Barack Obama, D-Illinois, came in with 23 percent and 22 percent respectively. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson registered 8 percent support in the poll, with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, at five percent, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio at 1 percent each.

The numbers were a significant change from the paper's last poll in May, when Clinton came in third, behind Edwards who was up top, followed by Obama in second place.

On the Republican side, there was no change from the poll in May, as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney held on to his lead with 29 percent support of those likely GOP caucus goers polled. Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who formally entered the race last month, had 18 percent.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who came in second place in the Ames Iowa straw poll in August, was third in the poll at 12 percent, followed by former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani at 11 percent. They were followed by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, at 7 percent, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, at 5 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas at 4 percent. Former Ambassador Alan Keyes had 2 percent support, followed by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California at 1 percent.

The Register said the Democratic survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. The paper said the poll of likely Republican caucus goers had the same margin of error.

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- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

October 7th, 2007
08:14 AM ET
15 years ago

Virginia congresswoman dies

Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Virginia.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., died Saturday after battling breast cancer, according to a statement released by her office. She was 57.

Davis died at her Gloucester, Va., home. She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2005, according to the statement, and had a recurrence earlier this year.

"Davis had been receiving breast cancer treatment at Duke University and just recently had received positive reports on her condition," the statement said. "However, during the last week Davis' health took a turn for the worse."

Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming, the statement said.

President Bush said in a statement that during her four years in the House, Davis "was an effective advocate for the people of her district and a strong supporter of our men and women in uniform. She was a fine example of a public servant who worked hard to cut government waste to ensure the people's money was used wisely. Her common-sense values will be missed on Capitol Hill."

"Jo Ann and I were both elected to the United States Congress in 2000 after serving together for many years in the Virginia House of Delegates," said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a statement. "She fought for, and embodied, the core values of Virginia."

Bush said Davis' determination to fight her cancer "is an inspiration to all of us."

Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla. and chairman of the House Republican Conference, noted in a statement that when Davis was first diagnosed with cancer, instead of retiring, she "pressed on, continued to serve with distinction the people of the Commonwealth and the country she loved, and beat the disease." After the cancer returned, he said, "she courageously took the same path."

"Jo Ann Davis was an inspiration to all of us fortunate enough to serve with her, and we are all deeply saddened by the news of her passing," Putnam said. "At this difficult hour, our thoughts and prayers are with Jo Ann's husband, Chuck, and their loved ones."

Filed under: Congress