Franklin Graham and Barack Obama in the same room.Yes, it's true. When they both met the other day in a roomful of religious leaders in Chicago, The Brody File was told that Franklin Graham and Sen. Barack Obama shook hands afterwards. Earlier we had reported that they hugged. A Franklin Graham spokesman called and said actually it was a handshake, not a hug. My source called it a "man-hug" but whatever. The bottom line is he was in the room.
A person who attended the meeting tells me that Obama and Graham discussed the situation in Darfur, Scripture, and Obama's Christian walk.
Folks, I've been telling you for awhile now, the rules of the game have definitely changed during this election. Obama has made religion a very important part of the presidential race. He is reaching out to conservative and liberal religious leaders alike.
The fact that Billy Graham's son, his successor, met with Obama before he met with McCain says a lot about Obama's religious outreach efforts. They are being VERY pro-active.
Look, it's not as if McCain's religious outreach team isn't present. They are working behind the scenes too but Obama has been clear from day one that reaching out to faith voters was going to be a top priority. Obama's team made an important statement when they invited conservative religious leaders who WOULD NOT see eye to eye with Obama.
One of those conservative leaders at the meeting was Christian Publisher Stephen Strang. Read excerpts below from his blog about his impression of the meeting:
"Sen. Obama personally took time to meet each person and shake their hand. He's not as large a man as I envisioned from seeing him on television. But, he's warm and personable --- obviously one of the reasons why people like him. He seemed to remember names well. He hugged a couple of the participants-mostly the black preachers who attended. He also seemed to be on top of the issues; and he's obviously very intelligent.
The questions were mostly "softball" questions in my opinion. I was concerned after three or four general questions that we wouldn't ask the most important questions. So I raised my hand and he called on me. I said, "Senator, I want to ask a question. I'm sure you are respected regarding your position on abortion. I represent a segment of the church where nearly everyone considers the issue of supporting life to be the most important issue and where nearly everyone would be opposed to abortion. I want to ask what your stand on abortion is and if you believe what I think you believe, how you justify that with your Christian faith and why you think we should vote for you."
Since his response was "off the record," I can say that the time he took to answer was probably 15 minutes. He came across as thoughtful and much more of a "centrist" than what I would have expected. He did not appear to be the crazy leftist that is being supported by George Soros and his radical leftist friends. Sen. Obama looked me in the eye as he answered my question, almost as if it were a one-on-one interview. I had already read the chapter on "faith" in his book the "Audacity of Hope." If you want to know how he answered the question, read that chapter. In other words, other than his demeanor and obvious attempt to win over the Christian leaders in the room, he didn't say anything new.
There's probably a lot more that I could say about the meeting. But the most significant thing is just the fact that the meeting was held and that several dozen prominent leaders took time to meet with Sen. Obama who I believe won over the loyalties of many.
I urge Sen. John McCain to have a similar meeting-or several such meetings. There is a lot of latent support for him in the Christian community. But after being "still armed" by the McCain camp, while being wooed by the Obama camp, this may be the first time a majority of evangelicals will vote for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter, who talked of being "born again" and got many evangelical votes in 1976."