Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson scolded the White House for neglecting to send a representative to yesterday's National Day of Prayer event at the Capitol, but a source familiar with the situation said the Obama team didn't have much of a chance. That's because the event organizers stipulated that the White House representative had to be opposed to abortion rights, according to this source.
"The administration's representative had to be pro-life," says the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Nobody else was allowed to go."
National Day of Prayer Task Force Marketing and Media Manager Becky Armstrong declined to comment on the report. An E-mail message sent yesterday to Focus on the Family's vice president for media relations, Gary Schneeberger, went unreturned. The prayer day task force operates out of Focus's Colorado Springs headquarters and is chaired by Shirley Dobson, the wife of the Focus founder.
"There are tens of millions of people praying across this country—40,000 prayer events taking place today," James Dobson told reporters yesterday on Capitol Hill. "And yet for the first time since 1993, the White House did not even send a representative of the Cabinet to the National Day of Prayer."
According to a statement released last week by the prayer day task force, it specifically asked the administration to send a representative to the Capitol event.
But the well-placed source said the only Obama cabinet secretary to receive an invite to yesterday's event was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, an anti-abortion rights Republican. LaHood did not attend the event.