John McCain is preparing to ramp up his efforts to reach out to Catholic voters with a “very, very aggressive” campaign, spearheaded by his newly created Catholic Outreach Coalition.
Frank Donatelli, the Deputy Chairman of the Republican National Committee, spoke to reporters and Catholic media on a conference call this morning about the efforts that the McCain campaign is planning to reach Catholic voters.
Donatelli described the Catholic Outreach Coalition, chaired by Sen. Sam Brownback and Frank Keating, as “first-rate” and said that it will be “very well-funded.”
Calling McCain’s Catholic campaign "very, very aggressive," Donatelli said it will involve literature, sending speakers to parishes and Catholic gatherings, a direct mail program and statements by Sen. McCain on issues of concern to Catholics.
The coalition plans to explain to Catholic voters how McCain is a stalwart opponent of abortion, has a strong appreciation for the social conscience of the world and that he is in favor of an immigration policy that defends the nation’s borders but also is humane in its treatment of illegal immigrants.
Donatelli also mentioned to CNA that the McCain campaign is also actively reaching out to Latinos, a group that historically votes for Democrats and is largely Catholic. Besides the cultural issues that presidential contender is emphasizing with non-Latino Catholics, McCain sees addressing the immigration issue in a humane manner as key to attracting the Hispanic vote.
As has been noted in the past, one issue that John McCain differs with Catholic teaching on is his position on embryonic stem cell research. CNA recently discovered a description on the McCain campaign’s website that says:
“As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.”
When Frank Donatelli was asked if Sen. McCain’s position had changed, he said he wasn’t quite familiar with the passage, but that it is “a change to the extent that we’ve had scientific breakthroughs there. So we may be able to avoid this terrible choice if this research continues to bear fruit.”