Barack Obama’s plan to cut the Democrats' evangelical deficit (68%-30% in 2000, 78-21% in '04)? Convince the religious right he’s not the devil. That’s a “radically different” course from the one taken by John Kerry and Al Gore, what Jeff Greenfield, on Slate, calls a “reassurance strategy”—“in effect, ‘OK, don’t vote for me; but you have nothing to fear from me.’”
Indeed, religious leaders come out of meetings with Obama surprised the candidate’s not a “crazy leftist” and no longer ready to work to beat him. A strategy used by JFK and Reagan, among others, "takes the opposition as a given and then tries to lower its intensity," Greenfield writes—and could give him a boost with voters more likely to be swayed by reassuring tones.