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

Obama meets with religious leaders behind closed doors


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/03/art.obama.jpg caption=" 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. Cheryl L. Swaim

    Did God attend the meeting to support Obama?

    June 10, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. California Voter

    It would be nice if Obama would let the American people know why he remained a member of a black liberation church where the pastor preached hatred and racism. Sorry leaving the church now is meaningless . . .why didn't he leave long ago. Leaving the church now just means he is pandering to the voters.

    June 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. kathi

    can someone PLEASE give this guy his own church ??

    maybe then he'll drop out and we can get our REAL candidate back. (you know, the one the people VOTED for??)

    separation of church and state should mean exactly that. i want a president, not a flipping preacher.

    this is absolutely disgusting.

    June 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. No McCain!

    Obama shouldn't be bothering with these people. They can't interfere with government. Keep church and state separate!

    What can they do? Seriously. Someone answer that question.

    Obama '08!

    June 10, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |

    obama and wright

    obama and wright

    obama and wright

    20 years

    20 years

    20 years

    enough said

    June 10, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. PCS / North Carolina

    deb in az June 10th, 2008 5:23 pm ET

    "was his mentor there?"

    He was raised by a single white mother, Sent him to Prinston and Harward. His mentor was his mother, who got up at 4am everyday to teach him before she left for work. How many of us could think of what she did, let alone doing it. Don't be sarcastic to his mother deb. You may be a hard core GOP.

    June 10, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Obama - A Fresh Change

    "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."

    Whoa there Sarah with your repetitive negative comments on these blogs! Your Republican undies are showing! BTW, Hillary would and has stooped lower! But I wouldn't have whined and stomped my feet and behaved childishly if she had received the nomination, and I would've voted for her to unite the party and win the White House in '08 – JUST LIKE SHE's ASKING HER FOLLOWERS TO DO NOW WITH OBAMA!

    Wow – From what I've been reading on these blogs the past week, there truly are some people who need to have their voter's registration cards revoked!

    June 10, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. jesus

    There is a place in hell for all REPUBLICANS. We'll see all of you soon...........

    June 10, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. David

    This guy is the biggest phony. He meets BEHIND DOORS . . . thought he said in the debates that he would never do that. This guy is a big liar with zero experience to run this Country. Yes I would love to see a black american become President of this country but NOT BARACK. He is not qualified. He can't debate, he swiches on issues, he is the typical politician. Quiting his church just this year after twenty years have gone by; wearing a flag pin only in the last couple of weeks, saying he would not have meetings behind closed doors, give me a break. Go back to the senate and learn something. McCain in 08 since Hillary was pushed out.

    June 10, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. Rational1

    Nevada female voter for Obama: thank you for clarifying the "non-faith" representation. That blogger left me dumbfounded.

    People of faith have to remember "all are called, not all will come". We have to remember that we are many a people, and that not all of us will apply common-sense to everyday circumstances or, as in this case, real logic in this election process.

    Obama's goal is to unite American's by bridging together the commonalities we have as individuals. I would be very wary of a leader who didn't. Remember Cheney answer to American's legitimate concerns?..."So."

    Choose your leaders wisely......Obama '08

    June 10, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. Kay

    Wow, Deb of AZ with her negative comments is posted constantly!

    June 10, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Luis

    Here we go again!!!!

    America should be a place where people should not fear
    Religion taking over the government!

    Americans should feel free to practice any faith.
    Americans should feel free to practice NO faith.

    Religion should not be a part of politics!

    Religion should be a personal choice,
    remember what JFK said???

    Why do Religious leaders need to be consulted in private??
    Just another special Interest trying to get special priveliges
    and promises in return for their votes!! These pontifs have
    lowered themselves to bartering their followers votes,
    to further their agendas at any expense!


    Obama, please make a speech like JFK, and be sure
    to let draw that clear line between Religion & Government.

    June 10, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. Susie

    To All of you,
    I want to congratulate for having Senator Obama to be soon you New President. He is showing the quality of a true leader.CONGRATULATION TO ALL AMERICAN PEOPLE

    June 10, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Kenny

    Look out beer drinkers. Today Senator McCain has said he will veto all beer with earmarks so I guess the USA is going to be a DRY COUNTRY if he is elected. I wonder what he has been drinking to have seen a beer with "Earmarks". LOL

    June 10, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Linda K.

    Does Barack Obama have the right to hold private meetings or must everything be done in public? Do you want him to hold a news conference every time he talks with someone?

    Cut the man a little slack. For some of you, he can't do anything right. If you've already made up your mind, then leave him alone and listen to McCain. If you want to know more, please go to barackobama.com.

    And please stop comparing Obama to Bush. Their IQs aren't even close.

    June 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Marlie:

    To NYC: Cool your jets. This is his first meeting. How do you know he will not be meeting with others. Geeez, people can only do one thing at a time.

    June 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. vahe

    good job!!!!!!!!

    June 10, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. Peter E

    I'm amused how Obama supporters, who have criticized Bush and Clinton for all the 'secrecy' don't apply the same standards to their own man. Is this the 'change' Obama will bring? More closed door meetings? More secrecy?

    June 10, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. Peter FROM NJ

    Obama meets with religious leaders behind closed doors.
    What is this?
    Promise them no to pay tax.
    If they are involved in politic and they have to pay tax.
    I hope people wake up, vote with their conscience and realize that their vote can make a difference.

    June 10, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Terry

    Hmm. Sounds like he's trying to slip them some of the money he got from the primaries to "express support" for him. Weasel..

    June 10, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. Peter E

    You know we've criticized Bush for the last 7 years for all its secrecy, for behind-doors meetings, and keeping their supporters and advisors anonymous. We've criticized the Clintons for the 8 years before that, and actually for the same 7 years since.
    But oh no! It's Obama. When HE continues having closed-door meetings it's all fair game...

    June 10, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Think!!

    The main ones that swear they will vote for McSame will be the same ones in here next year blogging and complaining about high GAS, losing their HOMES and their JOBS....


    VOTE- Democratic or VOTE poverty--

    we must STICK TOGETHER-


    Do not let the GOP use US!!

    June 10, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. JO

    You mean he didn't invite his Rev Wright? Hmmm ... why not?

    June 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. DP, Fullerton, CA

    Obama is pretending to be a saint in an effort to gain evangelical voters. Do you think they are stupid enough to vote for you, Barack? I don't think so. It's just simply because you are the most liberal of the liberals. How can the most leftist expect votes from the rights?

    You can fool people, but you won't be able to fool God. The evangelicals are just too faithful to God to be attracted by your deceptive cult like speech. Trust me, they will never vote for a liberal because the ideology is too much different, especially with the moral values. Of course you the Dems never care about moral values (and sacrifice) because most of you are immoral (don't expect you the Dems will ever care about sacrifice). Because of you, this country has become immoral. But thank God, there are still many moral people in this country and that are the evangelicals.

    You may try to persuade the religious leaders, Barak, but believe they will never be able to be persuaded. Even if they do, the evangelical citizens will not.

    June 10, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Democrats sure criticized republicans for invoking their faith over and over, and for connecting with religious leaders for the past 7 years. But now that it's Obama... "ooo, he's different! We can't state a single valid reason why we apply different standards to him, but if you criticize him for doing the same things republicans did in the past then... um... you're a racist!"

    June 10, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11