I've suggested that one way for Obama to get a big boost out of South Carolina would be to exceed expectations among white voters. One way for Obama to do that might be to aggressively court white evangelicals, of which I'm guessing there are many in South Carolina. (How many will vote in Saturday's Democratic primary is another question, but they certainly exist...)
Obama himself is longtime churchgoer who talks a lot about the role of faith in politics. And, if you've followed some of his recent moves, it looks like he might be thinking the same thing. At Monday's debate in Myrtle Beach, for example, he offered the following reflection*:
I think there have been times -- there have been times where our Democratic Party did not reach out as aggressively as we could to evangelicals, for example, because the assumption was, well, they don't agree with us on choice, or they don't agree with us on gay rights, and so we just shouldn't show up. And when you don't show up, if you're not going to church, then you're not talking to church folk. And that means that people have a very right-wing perspective in terms of what faith means and of defining our faith.
And as somebody who believes deeply in the precepts of Jesus Christ, particularly treating the least of these in a way that he would, that it is important for us to not concede that ground. Because I think we can go after those folks and get them.
Now, it's possible that Obama's just rebutting the scurrilous Muslim slur as efficiently as possible. But if, in the process, he can pick off some of the voters who believe Hillary's a godless liberal (despite her personal religiosity), I'm sure he'd take it.
If any of our readers actually lives in South Carolina and is aware of Obama campaign efforts to mobilize white evangelicals, by all means let me know and I'll post your comments.
*For what it's worth, this is the central argument of The Party Faithful, the forthcoming book by my fiancee, Amy Sullivan. If you have any interest in this topic, by all means click here.