McCain Puckers Up to Religious Right

While Obama is able to speak to the independents, McCain is still having a hard time speaking to his base. MSNBC is reporting McCain’s courtship of the religious right.

McCain told conservative leaders that he would speak out more to highlight his pro-life record and views on other social issues to garner more Christian conservative support, leaders in the room said Thursday.

“He needs to find his voice a little better in Ohio,” said Mike Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, one of several leaders who met with McCain for more than an hour. “He pledged to us we’d hear a lot more from him and that he’d be speaking his voice on these issues.”

The officials said they walked away impressed with McCain’s positions, and said they believed the “ship is turning” in conservative support for the Republican presidential candidate.

The group spoke about McCain’s pro-life voting record, as well as his support for state amendments banning gay marriage (though he did not support a federal one). They urged him to highlight these stances, especially in events in their swing state.

The leaders said McCain also acknowledged where they disagree, specifically on embryonic stem-cell research, which McCain has supported. The candidate received literature on new research developments which they said made use of the cells from embryos unnecessary.

When McCain asked for advice on how to win more conservative support, the leaders said they told him to speak louder and longer.

“We made it very clear to him that if he doesn’t start speaking on family issues, he’s going to lose Ohio,” said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values. “He needs to make the issues he agrees with us on very clear.”

Chris Long, president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, said he stressed the importance of a pro-life running mate.

“That will go a long way to welcome conservative voters,” Long said. “If it’s a pro-choice candidate, there is a segment that would be disheartened.”

McCain was joined in the meeting by Rob Portman, a former congressman and director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, who has been considered a potential vice presidential candidate for McCain.

Many of the Christian leaders said there was growing support for McCain in their community, but acknowledged it was not at the level President Bush received in 2000 and 2004.

Not to worry, McCain is puckering his lips to hold another closed door meeting with televangelist Franklin Graham.

John McCain will meet with Franklin Graham, the son of evangelical leader Billy Graham, on Sunday, the campaign announced Thursday.

McCain will fly to Asheville, N.C. on Sunday from Louisville, Ky., where he is speaking at a fundraiser. The private meeting will be closed to press.

The younger Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

That’s exactly what needs to happen. McCain needs to speak out longer and louder on social conservative issues so all Americans know exactly where he stands on the most important issues of the day like gay marriage. Please speak up Senator and take your new friends from the “Axis of Intelorance” out on the campaign trail with you.

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