Democrats bolster religious outreach

WASHINGTON: Democrats are developing a new communications strategy to reach out to people of faith through media outlets that cater to them.

WASHINGTON: Democrats are developing a new communications strategy to reach out to people of faith through media outlets that cater to them.

The plan, said to be in its very early stages, is spearheaded out of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) office. The strategy likely will involve an aggressive increase in outreach to Christian radio stations and TV networks.

Tessa Hafen, Reid's press secretary, said that the formal communications plan won't be ready before the next Senate recess, which begins May 28.

She added that Reid has been meeting consistently with members of religious communities.

Darrel Thompson, a senior Reid aide, said that Democrats are currently looking at the

best venues to reach people of all religions. Reid made a second appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network last month.

He added that the plan will demonstrate how Democrats epitomize the values of people of faith better than Republicans, whom he said could be seen as "exploiting" religion rather than adhering to its morals.

Ginny Wolfe, SVP for public affairs at MS&L and a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), said Democrats have a long way to go to win credibility with a religious message.

"For so long, Democrats have dissed God to such a degree and separated faith" from policy decisions, she said.

Edelman vice chairman Leslie Dach, a former Democratic National Committee senior adviser, noted that the plan is "long overdue."

"The Democratic Party's values are values of people of deep faith," he said. "No party should be perceived as having ownership of those key values."

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