Winning Missouri worked twice for President Bush's White House ambitions. Barack Obama seems to have taken notice. For the past three months, the Democratic presidential nominee has been spending significant time in Missouri. In all but one election during the past century, Show-Me State voters have sided with the winner in presidential elections.

Just before Independence Day in Independence, Missouri, Obama delivered a speech on patriotism to counter perceptions that he is less loyal than Republican nominee John McCain, who has 17 military awards and decorations and was a Vietnam-era prisoner of war for five years.

"I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign," said Obama, who had an Iraq war veteran introduce him. "And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine." Obama stressed that no party has a monopoly on devotion to the nation. "Patriotism can never be defined as loyalty to any particular leader or government or policy," he said inside the cramped gym at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Building, where four American flags served as a backdrop.

Obama's general election campaign with running mate Joe Biden, Delaware's senior senator, is built on the rhetoric of "change you can believe in," mixed with passionate words about God and country. As the junior U.S. senator from Chicago, Obama has for years been beholden to working-class voters, African Americans, feminists, gay-rights groups, and pro-choice advocates. But for the first time since Jimmy Carter ran in 1976, a presidential candidate from the Democratic Party is enthusiastically courting evangelicals and Catholics.

This effort is showing results: An August poll by the Barna Group shows McCain with greater support among self-identified ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
Defending the Faith Subscriber Access Only
Conservatives face huge obstacles in putting Anglicanism back together.
Current IssueWhy Christians Are Abandoning the Orphanage
Why Christians Are Abandoning the Orphanage Subscriber Access Only
A new focus on the family is changing how Christians care for abandoned and neglected children.
RecommendedBernie Sanders Attacks Wheaton Grad’s Stance on Salvation
In Christ Alone: Bernie Sanders Attacks Wheaton Grad’s Stance on Salvation
Trump appointee hearing turns into a religious test for office.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Preach and Reach
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.