POLITICS -- August 26, 2010 at 7:28 AM ET
The Morning Line: You Gotta Have Faith
A group of prominent pastors and Christian leaders have signed onto a letter urging "public officials, faith leaders, and the media to offer no further support or airtime to those who misrepresent and call into question the President's Christian faith."
The faith-based Eleison Group organized the letter, which includes signers such as T.D. Jakes and Joel Hunter.
The letter goes on to say:
"President Obama has been unwavering in confessing Christ as Lord and has spoken often about the importance of his Christian faith. Many of the signees on this letter have prayed and worshipped with this President. We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far."
Their effort comes after a recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 18% of Americans believe that the president is Muslim, with 60% of those respondents citing the media as the source for their information.
On his Fox News program Wednesday night, host Glenn Beck targeted President Obama's faith, saying he didn't believe the president was a Muslim. Instead, he called the president's views "a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it."
Earlier this week the Republican National Committee distanced itself from new media director Todd Herman, who wrote on his personal Twitter feed last Thursday, "Watch - Is @BarackObama amongst the 20% who think he's a Muslim?"
In a statement to the Huffington Post, RNC spokesman Doug Heye said: "An errant, or sarcastically-intended tweet aside, the RNC has never spoken about the President's Christianity because it is both crystal clear and a non-issue."
BIDEN'S 'RECOVERY SUMMER' ROAD SHOW
Vice President Joe Biden heads to New Hampshire on Thursday to trumpet the economic stimulus for a third consecutive day, capping the end of what the White House has dubbed "Recovery Summer." Clearly, events in the Gulf, Iraq and lower Manhattan overshadowed much of what the administration had hoped to highlight on the economy, but the Obama team did receive welcome news this week.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report showing as many as 3 million jobs were saved because of the stimulus bill and that the unemployment rate, currently at 9.5 percent, was kept nearly two percentage points below what it would have been without it.
Vice President Biden "will travel to the Manchester, New Hampshire, area to mark a Recovery Act milestone. The Vice President will deliver remarks at 11:15 AM EDT at a private home. The Vice President will be joined by Representative Paul Hodes and Representative Carol Shea-Porter," according to the White House.
Earlier this week, the White House issued its own report touting the success of the Recovery Act, but the Associated Press is questioning some of those "rosy projections." It's worth the click.
BUSH CAMPAIGN CHIEF SAYS HE IS GAY
Former Republican National Committee chairman and campaign manager for the 2004 Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has told the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder that he's gay. Ken Mehlman is revealing this now because he's just recently come to terms with it and he's actively raising money in support of same-sex marriage efforts such as the one aimed at defeating California's Proposition 8.
"Mehlman acknowledges that if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda," writes Ambinder.
"'It's a legitimate question and one I understand,' Mehlman said. 'I can't change the fact that I wasn't in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally.'"
"'What I do regret, and think a lot about, is that one of the things I talked a lot about in politics was how I tried to expand the party into neighborhoods where the message wasn't always heard. I didn't do this in the gay community at all.'"
Mehlman now joins other high profile Republicans in support of same-sex marriage, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, McCain-Palin campaign manager Steve Schmidt, Meghan McCain, Mary Matalin and former solicitor general Ted Olsen. They all find themselves on the opposite side of the gay marriage debate from President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who both declared their belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman during their 2008 presidential campaigns.
Ed Gillespie, a former RNC chairman and friend of Mehlman's, appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday morning to say that while he accepts Mehlman's decision and is glad to continue to have his friendship, the Republican Party is likely to remain opposed to same-sex marriage.
"I don't believe at that time or this time the Republican Party platform would change on that issue," said Gillespie.