Transcript: Targeting the Faithful

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

Speaker: Mark DeMoss and Burns Strider

Venue: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

08/08/2008 - In the 2008 presidential campaign, both Democrats and Republicans have frequently spoken about the concept of faith and, in many cases, their own religious beliefs. To discuss the role of religious voters in the primaries and the potential impact of religion on the general election, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life turned to two former advisors to the Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney presidential campaigns.

Burns Strider, formerly of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, spoke of how the focus on faith by leading Democratic candidates in the primaries could help the party’s November presidential election bid. Strider asserted that discussions of religion have allowed the Democratic Party to reconnect with the nation’s faith community. He suggested that Democratic candidate Barack Obama's efforts to target younger evangelical Protestants could yield results in swing areas.

Mark DeMoss, former campaign advisor to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, said he believed that values should take a primary role in an election while individual religious faith should play a secondary role. DeMoss went on to describe how Romney’s presidential campaign tried to focus on the importance of common values, not common religion. DeMoss advised the current candidates to be genuine, adding that if a candidate is not comfortable talking about his faith, he shouldn’t.

Mark DeMoss, former Faith and Values Advisor, Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign

Burns Strider, former Senior Advisor and Director of Faith Outreach, Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign

John Green, Senior Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Read the complete transcript and watch a video of the event Targeting the Faithful on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.

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