God-o-Meter is surprised that this story hasn’t gotten more pick-up: A group of 60 pastors, almost all of them African American, shared a stage with Hillary Clinton in Spartanburg, South Carolina yesterday, apparently offering their endorsements (video of the event here.) The Spartanburg Herald-Journal has the story:
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s campaign launched an aggressive effort to mobilize black voters through the faith community — crisscrossing two segments vital to winning her party’s nomination in this state — during her first visit to Spartanburg as a candidate Tuesday.
About 60 pastors from around the Upstate joined her on stage at the Marriott at Renaissance Park — all but two of them were black — and her campaign said another 20 or so were in the audience. The crowd, more than 400 strong, was about two-thirds white….
By 7 p.m., the Clinton campaign was only able to provide 44 names of pastors who had endorsed her. Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Cherokee and Union counties were said to be represented. A spokesman for the Obama campaign said it was not yet releasing the names of its supporters in the religious community. He did point out that Sen. Obama has conducted “faith forums” in 20 counties across South Carolina and signed up 180 volunteers through those. Teresa Wells, an Edwards spokeswoman, added, “We all have black ministers. This is not a two-person contest. I don’t know if we have 80. I’ll be honest with you: If we did, I don’t think we’d put them out there like that.”
Sure, the “Hillary peeling off black support from Barack Obama” is the obvious angle for the news media to sink their teeth into, as the Associated Press does. But God-o-Meter wonders about the propriety of all these pastors making endorsements, given IRS rules against church-based politicking. Forgive GOM if it’s just being thick here, but isn’t that why, amid the blizzard of Republican endorsements from Christian Right/evangelical figures, there have been relatively few from congregation-based pastors?