Senator Obama Accepts Invitation to Bipartisan Presidential Compassion Forum; Will Join Senator Clinton at Messiah College in Harrisburg on April 13

Organizers Hold Out Hope for McCain


CONTACT: Katie Barge, Faith in Public Life, 202.243.8289 or Dan Nejfelt, Faith in Public Life, 202.290.8795

April 4, 2008


Religious leaders from across the ideological spectrum are pleased to announce today that Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have both confirmed that they will participate in an unprecedented bipartisan presidential candidate forum at Messiah College near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on the evening of Sunday, April 13 - just nine days before the Pennsylvania primary. Senator McCain has thus far declined the invitation, which is still open.

Credentialing information for media wishing to cover The Compassion Forum can be found at the bottom of this release and online.

Now more than ever, Americans motivated by faith are bridging ideological divides to address domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, abortion, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. The Compassion Forum will provide the opportunity for candidates to discuss how their faith and moral convictions bear on their positions on these important issues.

The Compassion Forum is not a debate. Each candidate will participate in a separate substantive conversation. "This is an occasion to talk about the substance and not the sensationalism of religion and politics," said moderator Jon Meacham, editor of Newsweek, author of American Gospel, and respected scholar on faith and American politics.

The Compassion Forum will offer candidates an unprecedented opportunity to reach religious voters. The Forum will be broadcast on the Church Communication Network (CCN) to more than 100,000 people of faith in at least 1,000 churches across the country on April 20, the Sunday evening before the Pennsylvania primary. It will also air live on a national cable news network.

The Compassion Forum is a testament to the power of faith to bring people together. The event has attracted the support of diverse religious leaders and Democrats and Republicans alike, including Governor Mike Huckabee and U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.


Faith in Public Life is the organizer and a co-sponsor of The Compassion Forum, along with the faith community, represented by The Compassion Forum Board, which includes nationally prominent religious leaders from across the faith and ideological spectrum including Dr. Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention; Dr. William J. Shaw, President of the National Baptist Convention; Paul Corts, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Dr. Joel Hunter, Northland A Church Distributed; Rev. Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals; Dr. Oran P. Smith, Palmetto Family Council; Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA; Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission; Dr. Syeed Sayeed, Islamic Society of North America; David Neff, Christianity Today; Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners; Rev. Dr. Tyrone S. Pitts, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World; Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Sammy Mah, World Relief.

Organizational co-sponsors of the Forum are The ONE Campaign, an effort to rally Americans to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty, and Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Messiah College is a nationally-ranked Christian college of the liberal and applied arts and sciences with approximately 3,000 undergraduate students in 55 courses of study. Founded in 1909, Messiah College is located in Grantham, Pennsylvania, twelve miles from Harrisburg.


CREDENTIALING - Working members of the media wishing to cover The Compassion Forum must be credentialed. Credentialing is available online.  The deadline for credentials application has been extended to 6 P.M. EDT Friday, April 11, 2008.

HOTELS - The Courtyard Marriot - Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg (717-766-9006) and Holiday Inn Harrisburg West (717-697-0321) have rooms held under The Compassion Forum block. Please contact these hotels directly to make your reservations. A comprehensive listing of other area hotels is available online.
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