Tonight the Reverend Rick Warren, author of the best-selling book "The Purpose-Driven Life," will conduct a "forum" with Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.
Each candidate will be interviewed separately by Warren for one hour. The interviews will focus on four areas: the role of the presidency in government, leadership, the candidates' world view and America's role internationally.
The Associated Press reports that the forum is the Perfect setting for Obama to counter the persistent rumors that Obama is Muslim:
The church forum also gives him a perfect setting to counter the misperception that he is Muslim. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 12 percent of respondents believe the Illinois senator is Muslim.I've been saying for weeks that Obama needs to confront his Muslim problem head on. Maybe Obama will do so tonight.
The forum will take place in Warren's Saddleback Church, located in Southern California. The so-called mega-church is the fourth-largest church in America.
The two-hour forum will be held in a non-debate format. Warren will have a separate long-form conversation with each candidate for 50 minutes. There will be commercial breaks every ten minutes.
The questions to both candidates will be identical to provide a fair comparison, although the follow-up questions may differ, based on their response.
Obama will be interviewed first, as determined by the flip of a coin. McCain will not hear the questions during the first hour. Between the two interviews, the candidates will appear together on stage for photographs.
The forum will be broadcast live on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, Daystar Television Network, and Southern California's KDOC-TV at 8:00-10:00 P.M. ET / 7:00-9:00 P.M. CT / 5:00-7:00 P.M. PT
In the following video, Time's Amy Sullivan and Beliefnet's Dan Gilgoff discuss the forum's possible impact on Hardball:
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