.- The Democratic Party is intensifying efforts to reach out to Catholic voters, according to the Boston Globe. There was evidence yesterday when Virginia's newly installed governor delivered the response to President Bush's State of the Union address.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine, a Catholic who spoke openly about his faith during his election campaign last year. Yesterday, He first mentioned his experience of Service working as a missionary in Honduras, and underlining the value of Service and the responsibility of the Governement in fiscal matters.
''Faith is a good guidepost for how you evaluate the world, but it also should be a good guidepost for how you act," Skinner said. ''That's really what his faith teaches -- that the real focus should be doing the work of faith that helps others."
Kaine's address from the governor's mansion in Richmond, was a departure from the usual practice of Democratic congressional leaders responding to the president's speech from Capitol Hill, is part of the party's strategy to bring a once-reliable constituency back to their side.
There is a better way,â he said for the management of issues such as health care or national security
After Democratic Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts -- the party's first Catholic nominee since John F. Kennedy in 1960 -- lost the Catholic vote to Bush, a Methodist, in the last presidential election, national Democrats want to recast the party's image.
Until recently, most Catholic voters were loyal Democrats, dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt. Many defected to vote for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, but Bill Clinton won them back in 1992 and 1996.
But Republicans aggressively courted the largely Catholic Hispanic vote, and stood against abortion and gay marriage, which the Vatican also opposes. The move paid dividends: Bush's 2004 reelection campaign won 52 percent of all Catholic voters, according to exit polls.
While it is obvious the Democrats' deep commitment to abortion rights has eroded its support among Catholics, and the party still maintains its firm support of a right ot abortion.
The Democratic National Committee is working with newly formed Catholic political groups in 10 states. On Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, has formed a group to identify ways Democrats can speak about social issues and faith.