This came yesterday from mega-pastor Rick Warren:
Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, respective presumed Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, will end the primary season by making their first joint appearance of the 2008 campaign at Saddleback Church on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion. Dr. Rick Warren, founding pastor of the 22,000-member Orange County, Calif. mega church and moderator for the event, made the announcement today upon confirmation by both campaigns.
“We’re honored that the candidates chose The Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion for their first joint appearance, an unprecedented opportunity for America to hear both men back-to-back on the same platform,” Warren said. “This is a critical time for our nation and the American people deserve to hear both candidates speak from the heart — without interruption — in a civil and thoughtful format absent the partisan ‘gotcha’ questions that typically produce heat instead of light.
“The primaries proved that Americans care deeply about the faith, values, character and leadership convictions of candidates as much as they do about the issues. While I know both men as friends and they recognize I will be frank, but fair, they also know I will be raising questions in these four areas beyond what political reporters typically ask. This includes pressing issues that are bridging divides in our nation, such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate and human rights.”
Warren confirmed that, at the candidates’ request, this two-hour event from 5-7 p.m. (PDT) will be held in a non-debate format and open to all media. Both candidates also requested that questions be posed exclusively by Warren, instead of a panel or members of the audience. Each will converse separately with Warren for approximately one-hour, beginning with Sen. Obama as determined by a coin toss. This historic forum will be the only joint campaign event prior to each party’s national convention…
My impression of Rick Warren is that he is a great businessman. I was once at a small event with him where he described his tremendous admiration for Peter Drucker and how Drucker’s principles guided Warren in the creation of what became Saddleback Church. My guess is that if this event were about Warren’s views on business, it would be fine for John McCain. But that’s not going to happen — it will instead be all about compassion, and AIDS, and third-world issues, and McCain will be in a perpetual me-too mode with Obama. Just my guess.