Obama: On Finding a Balanced Church

Article excerpt

WITH THE added backing of delegates and superdelegates on the final day of primary elections, Barack Obama declared himself the winner June 3 of the hard-fought Democratic presidential campaign, becoming the Democrats' presumptive nominee and the first African American to be a major party's choice for the White House.

Although rival senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said that night that she had won the popular vote in party races--a claim disputed by the Obama camp--and would be the strongest opponent against Republican senator John McCain, she ended her bid to become the nation's first woman president days later.

The primary season struggled to a finish. In the later primaries Clinton scored well among white blue-collar workers and Obama lost ground among independent voters. In February, 63 percent of independents said they had a favorable impression of the Illinois senator, but in May that number dropped to 49 percent, the Pew Research Center said. Many political analysts put the blame on the provocative declarations of Obama's longtime pastor in Chicago, as well as on the 46-year-old candidate's reluctance to cut ties with his large congregation, which at times has featured divisive preaching.

After Obama held a news conference May 31 to talk about his decision to resign his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ, Mark Silk, editor of the journal Religion in the News, wrote on his blog at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, that Obama "knew enough to put a little distance between himself and Jeremiah Wright" when first announcing his candidacy. …

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