Washington, D.C. — Courting evangelicals and other religious voters, Barack Obama called Tuesday for an expansion of President Bush's initiative distributing federal aid to church-based groups that provide social services.
Obama promised the faith-based initiative would be "central" to his administration if he were elected.
"The challenges we face today - from saving our planet to ending poverty - are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach," Obama said at a news conference outside a community ministry in Zanesville, Ohio.
The Obama campaign has been targeting evangelical and religious voters, many of whom have shown waning enthusiasm for the Republican Party as they have become disenchanted with the Iraq war and a younger generation of evangelical leaders has expanded the movement's political agenda from divisive cultural issues to include such concerns as climate change, AIDS, genocide and poverty.