Obama's 'Rock Star' Status Not Enough for Conservative Voters

A Christian pro-family group readily acknowledged Sen. Barack Obama's star status, but pointed out that the Democratic presidential candidate is still not that far ahead of Republican John McCain in election polls.

"Let's face it. Barack Obama has the election to win or lose. He is the rock star of presidential candidates, by all rights he should be way ahead of John McCain," said Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family Action's senior vice president of government and public policy, in a special webcast on Wednesday.

"You would think Obama would be farther ahead but he's not. He's barely tied with John McCain and I think that is something for the Democrats to sweat," he noted.

The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows Obama at 46 percent and McCain 44 percent for the general election, giving him only a lean two percent lead on his Republican rival. The poll was taken based on a three-day average of national registered voters between Aug. 3 and 5.

The conservative public policy expert suggested that the energy issue, particularly off-shore drilling, is a key factor in getting voters on McCain's side.

Republicans and Democrats are currently in a bitter conflict over the issue of off-shore drilling. Republican representatives are refusing to leave the Capitol and demanding a vote on allowing off-shore drilling to offset high oil prices despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)'s adjournment of the House.

McCain, like fellow Republicans, supports off-shore drilling, but only if the state governor also approves. Obama, meanwhile, has switched from being against the activity to recently saying he is open to some offshore drilling.

During Wednesday's webcast, guest Bishop Harry Jackson, an African-American church leader and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, urged voters to look carefully at each candidate's stance on energy, state marriage amendment, hate crimes legislation, fairness doctrine, and abortion before making their presidential pick.

The pro-life leader advised values voters to look beyond appealing rhetoric and at candidates' stance on issues.

Jackson, who is a registered Democrat, says he hopes to present to his Obama-leaning black congregation in the Washington, D.C.-area the issue of life in an upcoming event and urge them to carefully consider where the candidates stand on this moral matter.

"[T]here are certain policies that will attract the blessing of God on the nation and you don't have to be a genius to understand that the nation is not blessed now and we're under pressure," Jackson said to the FOTF Action host.

"[W]hat has to happen is we have to align ourselves with the Word of God," he prescribed.

During the Q&A segment of the program, a viewer brought up FOTF founder Dr. James Dobson's recent comments stating that he might endorse McCain despite claiming earlier that he would rather stay home than vote for the Arizona senator. The viewer requested an explanation on Dobson's "flip-flop."

"Any election is not a choice about one person, for example, is John McCain good enough or not good enough to merit a person's vote," top FOTF policy official Tom Minnery responded. "The question is a choice between two – who is a better choice."

Over time, Dobson and FOTF staff have "gradually understood" Obama to be a "fundamental left-wing" and McCain, as a result, "comes off the better in that equation," he explained.

"Dr. Dobson gave the surprising statement that he isn't endorsing John McCain but he might, given that where he (McCain) stands on certain very important issue such as judicial selection, selection of judges, is a whole lot better than where Sen. Obama would take the country by his appointment to federal courts. So that is what led Dr. Dobson to the point where he now is," Minnery said.

The FOTF webcast took place just weeks ahead of the political parties' national convention. The Democratic National Convention will be held Aug. 25-28 in Denver, while the Republican National Convention will be held Sept. 1-4 in Minneapolis.