It has taken a man of God, perhaps, to do what nobody else has been able to do since the general election season began: Get Barack Obama and John McCain to together on the same stage before their party conventions.
The Rev. Rick Warren has gotten the candidates to agree to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. In an interview, Warren said over the weekend that the presidential candidates would appear together for a moment, but that he would interview them in succession at his megachurch.
Warren, the author of the best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life, said his event will focus on how the candidates make decisions and on some of Warren's main areas of focus, such as AIDS, poverty and the environment.
Warren said he would devise his questions with input from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders associated with the group.
"Since I'm their friend, I'm not going to give them any 'gotcha' questions," Warren said.
Condoleezza Rice said it's a remarkable accomplishment that a black politician is on track for his party's presidential nomination. The secretary of state said Obama's likely nomination shows the nation's progress in race relations. "I think it's great, and I think it's great for our country," she said. Rice also said she has decided which candidate she will vote for but wouldn't tell.
Obama's campaign said he will give a speech on the future of trans-Atlantic relations in front of a Prussian war monument in downtown Berlin — in view of but not at the historic Brandenburg Gate.
McCain spent more money in June than he took in, according to his monthly campaign finance report. He raised $22.2-million in June, his best fundraising month of the campaign. He also spent more than he had in a single month, doling out $27-million for such expenses as television ads, campaign consultants, direct-mail fundraising and travel costs.