Obama Calls for Faith-Based Aid Expansion

Patriotism tour continues with outreach to religious voters
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2008 1:43 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., center, talks to Rev. Bill Briggs, foreground, as he tours the East Community Ministry in Zanesville , Ohio, Tuesday, July 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama today called for even more federal dollars for President Bush’s initiative funding faith-based social service groups, the AP reports. His plan will let the groups hire and fire based on religion, a controversial move that's part of an organized effort to court evangelical voters. The candidate says he wants to make the program a “moral center” of his presidency.

“The challenges we face today ... are simply too big for government to solve alone,” the candidate said at a community center in Ohio. Discussing the plan, the ex-director of Bush’s faith-based initiative program invoked "much that was best in both then Vice President Al Gore's and then Texas Governor George W. Bush's respective first speeches on the subject in 1999."