In face of faith-based attacks, Obama campaign hires faith outreach director
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, it confirmed Tuesday.
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 coordinator, a campaign official said.
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.
A source close to the campaign said the decision to hire a faith-focused staffer was provoked largely by continuing criticism of the administration from America’s Roman Catholic bishops and conservative Catholic organizations.
“I don’t think the campaign originally had this position in its box,” said a source close to the campaign, who refused to speak on the record because the person was discussing sensitive issues.
“But persistent opposition from Catholic groups sent the message that this was something (the campaign) had to think about longer-term,” the source said.
Sources close to the campaign say the timing of Wear’s hiring was not dictated by the controversy over Obama’s support for legalized same-sex marriage. After Obama announced his support, he hosted a conference call with 13 pastors Wednesday to talk about his views. [More]