Democratic Platform Problems Persist

Gone are references to Founders, God; Obama's name mentioned more than 140 times


CHARLOTTE — Democrats have scrubbed the Founding Fathers from their platform.

The platform released Monday night got rid of three references to the "Founders" that were included in the 2008 platform. The position statements from the former platform cited the spirit of the Founders in its preamble, as well as sections on "economic stewardship" and respect for religion.

"Like our Founders, we believe that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires," the 2008 platform stated.

Convention attendees supported the platform despite the omissions.

A reference to God in the 2008 platform has also been removed.

Oklahoma Delegate Thomas Mauldin said Democrats have not abandoned faith by ditching the word God.

"Being a member of Christian faith community, like Barack Obama, I’m pleased with the platform," he said outside of the convention’s Interfaith Council, a daily meeting of liberal religious leaders. "There have been lots of references to God (at the DNC). We’ve had opening and closing prayers. … We started the convention by pledging allegiance ‘under God.’"

Mauldin said he monitored the platform committee from "gavel-to-gavel" and was unaware of any division about the reference to God.

"There were no challenges to [the platform]," he said.

The move pleased atheist supporters of the president, but some worried that Obama may inspire pushback from religious voters.

"I’m a humanist, so I’d be for that," said Chapel Hill native Janet S., who did not want her full name published. "I think I’m in the minority though, most of this nation is still pretty religious."

The president’s name appears more than 140 times in the platform, up from 8 mentions in 2008.

Republicans jumped on the platform’s omissions at a press conference held just outside of the DNC at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

"It was fairly shocking to me to see the Democrats make a very concerted effort to exclude God from their platform," Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz said.

The platform also failed to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Obama administration has avoided the issue over the last several months to help court Jewish votes. In July, White House spokesman Jay Carney refused to answer a reporter’s question on the subject.

"Our position has not changed," Carney said without elaborating on what that position was.

Chaffetz said the platform gives Israel and Jewish voters in America a clear answer on the matter.

"When the Democrats decided to pull out their support of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel we are sending out the wrong message to the world," he said.

The omission bothered Democrats outside the convention, including Bob Kunst, a self-described "gay, Jewish Democrat" who will now be voting for Republican Mitt Romney. Kunst said Obama’s treatment of Israel demonstrated more hostility to religion than the omission of God from the platform.

"We feel that he has abandoned Israel," he said. "When you attack my faith you lose my vote."

Obama’s campaign surrogates went on the defensive when confronted with the God omission on Tuesday. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin became visibly angry at Fox News’ Bret Baier for broaching the subject before refusing to answer his questions.

"I’m just telling you, you are harping on a trifle," he said.

The Obama campaign pledged to take full ownership of the platform last week.

"The platform that we’ll put forward next week will represent where the president is and where he wants to take the country," Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said.

Obama will accept the Democratic nomination on Thursday.

Bill McMorris   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill McMorris is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He joins the Beacon from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he was managing editor of Old Dominion Watchdog. He was a 2010 Robert Novak Fellow with the Phillips Foundation, where he studied state pension shortfalls. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Economist, Colbert Report, and numerous print publications and radio stations. He lives in Alexandria, Va, with his wife and three daughters. His Twitter handle is @FBillMcMorris. His email address is

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