The Wall Street Journal leads its world-wide newsbox with Barack Obama vowing to expand the Bush administration program that gives federal money to religious charities. Everyone sees it as Obama’s latest effort to move to the center on certain issues to gain Republican-leaning voters.
Obama’s pledge to expand the faith-based initiatives program drew criticism from liberal groups that favor a strict separation of church and state and provided yet another instance in which the presumptive nominee’s base expressed its displeasure with the candidate. But Obama also made it clear that he would get away from some of Bush’s more controversial policies. Mainly, Obama emphasized that religious groups who receive federal money can’t hire people based on their faith. “Federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs,” Obama said. The announcement came at a time when the presumptive nominee is launching “what many Democrats say is the most aggressive outreach to religious voters ever by the party’s presidential nominee,” notes the LAT.
The NYT and WSJ point out that if Obama wants proof that his moves toward the center are angering his supporters, he needs only to take a look at his own Web site. Obama’s site gives supporters the ability to organize into groups, and in the last few days thousands have joined one that calls on Obama to reverse his decision to support the new domestic-spying bill.
As the controversy over Gen. Wesley Clark’s comments on Sunday continues, the WP‘s editorial board cries out for a bit of sanity: “Enough already!” Clark’s comments may have been stupid but didn’t reveal anything important about the candidate that warranted this kind of attention when there are so many pressing issues to discuss. “Casting guilt by surrogate association is a bipartisan affliction,” writes the editorial board. “So ours is a nonpartisan lament: Cut it out!