Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

phoneslamming.jpgGod-o-Meter is glad it’s not the only one who has trouble getting the McCain campaign to return its calls.
In response to readers asking why he lavishes so much more attention on Barack Obama, CBN political correspondent/blogger David Brody explains how unresponsive the McCain camp is to religious media:

The Brody File is writing the following post because we’ve had numerous emails and comments about why John McCain is not appearing as much as Barack Obama on The Brody File. Where do I begin?
First of all, The Brody File has made numerous (dozens) of requests for a one on one interview with John McCain. Those requests have been turned down due to various reasons. Usually I am told it is a scheduling issue. I have been trying for six months. The Brody File has bent over backwards to try and get John McCain to discuss issues of faith, social policy and other matters….
I share this information with you because you asked about it and it’s hard for the Brody File to respond to the hundreds of emails I get about this. On the other hand, the Obama campaign has made a decision to aggressively court people of all faiths and appearing with me is part of that strategy. I have NOT approached the Obama campaign with more interview requests than the McCain campaign. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite because I’ve come to realize that John McCain has been a harder “get”….
So when you see Barack Obama sitting down with me and appearing on CBN, don’t think for a minute that we aren’t affording the same opportunity to John McCain. We are.

God-o-Meter has sat down with John McCain, but that was nearly a year ago. It has encountered serious hurdles to setting up even background conversations with McCain aides.
The McCain camp’s unresponsiveness to religious is reminescent of the 2004 Kerry campaign, which GOM wrote about in its book The Jesus Machine:
After the Catholic League attack, [Kerry religious outreach director Mara] Vanderslice was barred by the Kerry campaign from speaking ot the press. She had been hired barely a month earlier. When the Catholic League later criticized the religious outreach director for the Democratic National Committee, she was silenced as well The result was that the Democrats’ ties to the religious press, including widely read publications like the Baptist Press and Christianity Today, were completely severed. “Reporters from the religious press would call and they didn’t get their phone calls returned for two or three months,” Vanderslice said. “The campaign made a decision not to work with Christianity Today, which is the in the mainstream part of the evangelical community. It’s not like Focus on the Family Magazine. They didn’t return CT’s calls.”
That helps explain why Christianity Today’s October 2004 profile of John Kerry read like a hatchet job…. With a readership in the hundreds of thousands, Christianity Today wasn’t the only evangelical concern that felt shunned by the Kerry campaign. “I was shocked when my office told me that the Kerry campaign will not return our phone calls,” said National Association of Evangelicals then-president Ted Haggard. Whenever Haggard was asked in the evangelical media about his views on the John Kerry during the presidential campaign, he would respond by saying simply his phone calls were going unreturned. “I said it on TBN [Trinity Broadcasting Network] probably ten times,” Haggard recalled. “I said it on Focus on the Family. I said it on [Christian broadcasting giant] Bott Radio. I was not trying to angle the campaign. I was trying to get Kerry to call me. It was because he didn’t have anybody on his team that listens to those things. All he needed was somebody that was an evangelical on his team. That would have swung Ohio.”
Now the tables are turned, and the Republican presidential campaign is the one brushing aside religious media. God-o-Meter has been wondering how much of this is calculated–it’s no secret that the McCain camp is courting moderates and doesn’t want to alienate them with lots of high-profile cuddling up the Religious Right–and how much is out of clumsiness or a lack of sophistication in dealing with religious outreach, which would be remarkable for a modern Republican presidential campaign.
Care to venture a guess?


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