Obama and McCain head for Saddleback
According to this article from the Kaiser Network, John McCain and Barack Obama “have agreed to attend a forum at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16.” (For those not familiar with the name, Saddleback is an influential megachurch.) Pastor Rick Warren invited the two US presidential candidates — both of whom he said he knows “as friends” — to make this their first joint appearance since the beginning of their presidential campaigns.
Warren “said that the event will focus on how they make decisions and on some of Warren’s main focus areas, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and the environment.” Here are a few more details from the Kaiser article:
Warren said that at the request of McCain and Obama, the forum will be held in a nondebate format and open to all media, although only Warren will ask questions. The candidates will appear briefly together before each one takes questions from Warren for an hour, according to the AP/Contra Costa Times. “While I know both men as friends, and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in … four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask,” Warren said, adding, “This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights” (AP/Contra Costa Times, 7/21). According to Warren, he will develop his questions with feedback from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders associated with the group (New York Times, 7/21).
For more on this story, just check the search engine of your preference: there’s plenty out there.
This isn’t the first time Warren has engaged political leaders on issues like this. He invited Obama and Sen. Sam Brownback to speak at a Saddleback AIDS conference in December 2006. * Time magazine ran an insightful article about the controversy Obama’s presence stirred up at the time. Warren mentioned his relationship with McCain in this interview, which is well worth reading.
It will be interesting to see what happens before, during, and after this forum.
* Obama’s speech, titled “Race Against Time,” is available on his Senate website.