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Obama, McCain aim for faith vote at forum

US: US presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain target religious voters on Saturday when as guests of one of America’s foremost evangelists they discuss faith in public life, AIDS, the environment and other issues.

Religion plays a big role in U.S. politics despite the traditional separation of church and state and the White House hopefuls are certain to be asked about how faith would fit in their potential presidencies.

The candidates won’t debate each other at the Civil Forum which will be moderated by mega-pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He will interview each in turn, although they are expected to share the stage together briefly.

“It’s quite an extraordinary thing, it’s the first time a preacher has convened the two presumptive candidates ... They are both fighting for that vote,” said Michael Lindsay, a political sociologist at Rice University in Houston.

Evangelicals account for one in four U.S. adults and have become a key conservative base for the Republican Party with a strong focus in the past on opposition to abortion and gay rights and the promotion of “traditional” family values.

 

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