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CatholicDemocrats in WSJ: Candidates Court Catholics


Bloc's Support May Be
Key in Pennsylvania;
'Nun Theory' at Work?
By AMY CHOZICK
March 17, 2008; Page A8

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Sen. Hillary Clinton often evokes her Methodist faith on the campaign trail. But it is Catholics who make up one of her most reliable groups of supporters and could help her defeat Sen. Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary.

On Saturday, Sen. Clinton joined the annual St. Patrick's Day parades in Pittsburgh and Scranton, an effort to reach out to some of the more than four million Catholics in Pennsylvania -- or one-third of all voters in the state.

This also included a quote from two members of the Catholic Democrats team:

"We've got a history of not only having the faith but acting on it," says Bill Roth, director of the Catholic Democrats of California and a national spokesman for the group. "Maybe the action [Sen.] Clinton has shown in terms of putting forward proposals, whether they work or not, is motivating."

Another argument is the "nun theory," which holds that Catholics are more accustomed to strong-minded female leadership because of the prominent role of nuns. "I think Catholic Democrats...are accustomed to having female authority figures in the form of the sisters in our schools and Sen. Clinton, I think, benefits from that," says Christopher McNally, the Pennsylvania chair for the Catholic Democrats and an active Obama supporter.

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"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

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"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

First Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama



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