Source: Obama campaign hires faith outreach director
May 14th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Source: Obama campaign hires faith outreach director

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Just as it confronts fallout with some religious communities over President Barack Obama’s newly expressed support for same-sex marriage, the Obama re-election campaign is hiring a religious outreach director, an activist close to the campaign said Monday.

Michael Wear, who currently serves as executive assistant to the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will join the Obama campaign in Chicago as Faith Vote Director, according to James Salt, a Catholic activist who is close to the Obama campaign and White House.

A White House source confirmed Wear’s departure on Monday but could not say whether he is joining the Obama campaign. The campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. Wear’s hiring was first reported Monday by the Religion News Service.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"Michael has served the president extremely well and he will be a great asset to the campaign," said Salt, the organizing director for Catholics United, a progressive group.

Sources close the White House say the timing was not dictated by the controversy over Obama’s support for same-sex marriage. After Obama announced his support for legalized same-sex marriage, he hosted a conference call with 13 pastors on Wednesday to talk about his views.

Wear, who was raised a Catholic but now attends a nondenominational, evangelical-style church in Washington, has spearheaded White House outreach to evangelicals and has focused on policy issues like adoption throughout Obama’s first term

Joshua DuBois, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, directed religious outreach for the Obama campaign in 2008. Before that, it was unusual for Democratic presidential campaigns to hire faith outreach staffers.

In the aftermath of the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won re-election with the help of many so-called values voters and when religion-related issues like same-sex marriage figured into race, Democrats began stepping up outreach to religious voters.

Last year, the Democratic National Committee hired a minister, the Rev. Derrick Harkins, to lead its faith outreach efforts.

–CNN’s Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Politics

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Jackson

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    May 20, 2012 at 4:35 am |
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    May 20, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  3. Rom Sansegoto

    Most Catholics will go to Obama. The campaign should be careful, however, not to drive a wedge between the faithfuls and the hierarchy. Indeed Obama should continue to reach out to the hierarchy. Events like the growing of food in Africa should solicit input of the hierarchy.Get them involved in any program that promotes social justice.

    May 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Travis Stone


    May 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Rhoda Williams

      President Obama is not the first democratic to hire a National Faith Base Director. Former President Albert Gore hire Acqunetta Anderson, National Faith Base Director.

      May 17, 2012 at 9:29 am |

    Obama's sending out his false prophets to try and sell the lie that he is a Christian and he came to his decision because of the "golden rule." To bad he did not read the verse before that and realize that he(Obama) is not God.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  6. yeahalright

    So sad he's got to do this. It's like hiring a director of outreach to people who believe in the easter bunny.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I know, seeing how this is the 21st century, and all.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  7. josephine mccart

    I think what should be done in the senate and congress is that they should not get a paycheck until they raise tax's on the wealth and then start balanceing the budget. I would bet you they would raises tax's real quicken.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  8. Reality

    Is this latest Whitehouse move some kind of joke?

    Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than 500 words:


    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "


    May 16, 2012 at 8:05 am |
  9. jzahner

    Obama is an awesome president. He actually believes that all people should have the same rights, actually tries diplomacy but will take action if it is required, clearly stopped the downward spin of our economy that the previous 4 administrations set up, he has directed the conversation on policy (but let Congress do its job). Has only talked about compromise and has only compromised on every fundamental issue and policy with the other side (unfortunately the other side is not interested in getting anything done), and on top of all of that he isn't a republican.

    If republican's would just try to help fix something without protecting the richest people in the country for one second, this economic disaster would have been corrected way faster. They would not have let the economic policies in this country be swayed all to one side, the rich side. Deregulated to the point where you could leverage 1 dollar 30 times. Come on. No matter what happens Obama has my vote, and then the next election I will still vote anti-republican.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Joe

      Ah, so it's all the Republican party's fault. While your words echoe the whinings of a "I inherited this" syndrome, one of which Obama as a Senator himself helped to create in Democratic a controlled Congress, I suggest to you Sir that you take it upon yourself to study history, economics, civics and math. Pay less attention to the MSM news programs for useful idiots and expand your own mind by researching facts before you vote. One way or the other it will be for the good of our nation.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

      You idiot butt-kissing liberal troll. He doesn't want equality. Biden's remarks FORCED him to say he supports gay marriage. He's already stated before he's against it. Jesus Moron Liberal Christ, you are an IDIOT.

      May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  10. Gag

    "At this 11th hour before the presidential election...let us pray....and vote. Remember to vote...and pray. God bless you and your family as you vote...I mean pray. Pray. Sorry. Meant pray."

    May 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  11. KarinCP

    I have FAITH – – it is a regular thing – – not just when CONVENIENT for VOTES – – I think that a President should try to be stable in their religion and not CATER to VOTES like Oblame-Man has – – Bushy was poor because he was TOOO religious – -and Clinton had a good balance – – and Bush-1 was also very good – – so the message is STOP supporting the Muslim extremists and STAY HOME – MAKE US JOBS THAT ARE IN THE USA - then we would have a better USA !

    May 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  12. ugot2bkidden

    Here's a President that continually preaches fairness. What he's actually talking about is equality in outcome. America was not built on this. America was built on equality of oportunity. There's a difference. Equality of outcome in not fair, it robs from the efforts of others. Equality of oportunity is....it gives everyone an equal chance if they're willing to work hard and apply themselvs. The outcome will not be the same for all; such is life. If you don't think this is where America is heading just look at team sports. No more scores, everyone gets a trophie...on and on: equality of outcome. Ane we stand here and wonder why we have so many who expect so much for doing nothing....

    May 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  13. Jim Brody

    Catholics for Obama!

    May 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Gag


      Didn't mean to get that snot all over your lapel.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  14. MaryA

    I wondered what the next special-interest group would be for Oblamer to pander to!! He's pandered to: women, gays, blacks, Hispanics, young people, college students and probably more I can't recall right now. He is SO divisive and rather than work for all Americans he selectively targets certain special interest groups to try to win over. You see how that's going with women? We see through him (he's transparent) and are insulted that he thinks he can pull one over on us. I'm tired of his phony war on women and all his other phony lies. Now he's going use religion and 'faith' to try to convince some people that he's doing a good job. I hope people aren't fooled yet again. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

    May 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Gary

      Name a politician that doesn't pander. Running for office is just one pandering episode after another.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  15. loop

    In Obama's mind he is God. He truly believes that he is the highest power. Can't wait to vote that Socialist out of office. Terrible for this country is he. He is calculating in every decision he makes in an effort to get more money for himself. you and I don't matter. Is this what you want from our POTUS?

    May 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      Frankly, yes. Get elected first; THEN change the world. Romney's doing no less. Do you have any idea how many times he must have said "garbage-can issue" in the past week????

      I suggest reading "Profiles in Courage" if you haven't already. Very well-done discussion about how to survive in the Art of Politics so that you can actually get something done.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • CULT

      Really? Why do you say this?

      May 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • momoya

      loop, is there any way I could convince you to spend now till election time running around just being you?? Your opinions are so stupid that they can only hurt your side and help mine.. Go forth and spew your ignorance far and wide.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • WASP

      @loop: let me get this correct; obama attempts to get fair taxes across the board, the republicans block him and he is the bad guy?
      obama attempts to keep america from defaulting on our debt, the republicans block him to the point we almost go belly up and obama is the bad guy?
      obama keeps his word and ends the war in iraq and is downsizing the military in afganistan, mind you a war a republican built on lies, and obama is the bad guy?
      obama speeks with his daughters on a topic most christians are terrified to even mention and makes a public stand on said topic and obama is the bad guy?
      obama attempts to ensure everyone can get medical attention when they need it, the republicans block him and badger him over it and obama is the bad guy?

      sooooo how many times did your parents drop you on your head? seriously do some true research on the effects of policies put into place by democrates and those set up by republicans, link those to how the working cla.ss benefited and how the rich benefited to see a correlation between repub and dem policies during their terms.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      momoya, they're doing exactly that, far and wide, as Obama new they would. I really don't think there's any way at all that Romney can win from here. This was a master-stroke.

      Ohio. Florida. North Carolina. Virginia.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  16. SouthernCelt

    Maybe he finally figured out attacking people of faith is going to lose him some votes. Too late! I'm not voting for Romney as much as I am voting against Obama.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Romney is terrible too, vote independent.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Primewonk

      How in the world is he attacking people of faith?

      Has he demanded that you give up your bigotted hômophobic views? Has he forced your churches to marry gay folks? Has he forced your churches to hand out côndoms.

      No. You fundiots don't like him because he understands he is President of the US, a secular nation; and not the Preacher in chief of Jesusland.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      It doesn't matter, the popular vote in this election means nothing. Ohio. Florida. North Carolina. Virginia.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Modvoice

      When you change you position on gay marriage in the middle of a heated debate when emotional charged LGBT folks are calling people of faiith bigots, haters, ignorant, backwards...etc... that is kinda seen as an attack.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Bob58

      Please give an example of President Obama "attacking people of faith"

      May 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • abtxoo

      A vote for independent is a vote for Obama because it takes away from Romney. If you really want Obama out more than anything, vote for Romney. He's not my ideal candidate by far but he's a helluva lot better alternative than what we have now.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  17. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    I'm still trying to figure out how allowing gay people to marry is going to destroy American families and ruin marriage. All I seem to get from Christians who say this is "it is icky and I don't like it".

    I'm still amazed people think he is going to lose come November. Yeah, you may not like him but you have to look at independents. What is the other choice? Romney? I hardly doubt independents are going to go for Romney.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Tired of his lies....

      Are you serious? Why don't you ask how Obama evolved. As a Christian he shouldn't believe in evolution but to him nothing at all is sacred except getting more votes. He is by far the worst president we have ever had and has turned this country into a circus with the rest of the world laughing at us.



      May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " As a Christian he shouldn't believe in evolution "

      This shows how incredibly ignorant you choose to be.

      There are 2 billion Christians on earth. Of those 2 billion, 1.8 billion (90%) belong to sects whose positionis that there is no problem with a faith in your god, and an understanding that evolution is a fact. It is only amongst the fundiots – who purposefully choose to be ignorant – that we see this disconnect.

      Unfortunately, a majority of those remaining 10% live in the US.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Romney is going to lie just as much. I'm an independent voter, and I'm not voting for either of them.
      Vote independent, they're the only ones who aren't there just to be rich and famous, they'd pick a party if they were doing that.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      These extremist over-the top statements are exactly why Obama just won this election. Romney *can't* win from here. When you're looking back and wondering what the heck just happened, remember that.

      Ohio. Florida. North Carolina. Virginia.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Jackson

      To: tired of his lies

      You want to talk about what a christian would do? The bible says adulterers should be stoned to death. Do you follow that? I can guarantee you that there are a fair number of people trying to convince us we should legislate according to the bible, but have had affairs and have consented to be stoned to death.

      So, why exactly are conservatives allowed to cherry pick which sections of the bible are and are not relevant to today's society?

      May 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • MaryA

      Recent polls show he is going to lose in November and his numbers keep getting worse! Many of us aren't so much voting FOR Romney as we are voting AGAINST Obama. This country can't afford 4 more years of his ineptness, out-of-control spending and his lack of focus on his 'job' while he campaigns, appears on TV shows, vacations and parties. We need a POTUS not an arrogant narcissist who thinks he's a rockstar.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      MaryA, the popular vote means *nothing* in this election. Squat. 0.00000000000000000.

      North Carolina.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  18. just sayin

    Without Jesus at the head of our government, we are doomed. God Bless.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Jesus refused to even attempt to take up the throne in Jerusalem. Why would he try to take up the "throne" in America? I forgot, you Christians don't read the Bible.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      You are clearly going to hell. God Bless

      May 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      Buddy, we were doomed the moment we stole this land from the Indians and then claimed it was "God's will."

      May 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  19. lardoggy

    This one is for you Obama, psalm109:8!

    May 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Doggy – since you're quoting the OT, your god commands that you go and kill gay folks. Are you doing this?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Primewonk: Lets not forget stoning your children. Wonder if doggy is wearing clothing made of two fabrics?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  20. JCMars

    Why is he wasting his time and money on this? Obama doesn't believe in God and neither do most Democrats. Sounds like another Obama campaign smokescreen to take attention off his miserable performance in office the past 3 1/2 years.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • momoya

      Because 90% of his const.itutancy is religious.. He'd be a fool to do otherwise since so many Americans think of themselves as "faithful" to god.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      Because 90% of his const.itutancy is religious.
      How sad and depressing.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Dan

      Sad and depressing? Are you new around here? What do you think politics is all about?

      May 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Richard

      Yes, you vote for that cultist. Hopefully, he will not only convert you to Moronism but have all your dead relatives converted also. Hopefully, when the President gets reelected, you will not except any of the good things he does for us patriotic Americans. Vote for a chicken hawk who never had the balls to serve his country. He served his phony God in Paris. What religion sends its people to Paris for missionary work. Keep drinking the kool-aid. You need to sleep for awhile. Dunces need all the rest they can get!

      May 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • MaryA

      Richard: did I miss something? Did Obama serve his country (any of them?) He may have as his records are sealed but I wasn't aware of it.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Tim Rigney

      MaryA, yes, you DID miss something, but it's not what you think. But it's the reason Obama won this election. Ohio. Florida. Virginia. North Carolina.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.