All three networks mentioned Barack Obama's proposal to expand federal funding for faith-based social services, an idea that was the keystone of President George Bush's compassionate conservatism. Only ABC assigned a reporter to his speech. John Berman (embargoed link) saw Obama as positioning himself to take advantage of John McCain's relative weakness among white evangelical voters. According to ABC's poll McCain is "no evangelical hero," attracting 68% of their support compared with 78% for Bush in 2004. Yet despite growing evangelical interest in Democratic-friendly issues such as poverty, AIDS and global warming, "some traditional values will not look past Obama's liberal positions on social issues--like abortion."
The day's only other political coverage was an extended human interest Katie Couric Reports feature on David Paterson, the blind Governor of New York. CBS anchor Couric devoted six minutes to profiling Paterson's disability, his childhood and his ascension to office in the wake of Eliot Spitzer's sex scandal. Because he cannot read with his eyes and never learned Braille, all of Paterson's briefings are read aloud to him, many of them left as elaborate voice-mail messages. "Paterson's ability to memorize what he hears is almost superhuman," Couric gushed. His inbox includes a daily Bible passage read by a friend each daybreak.
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