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Left Turn At Saddleback Church

Salon.com (watch short ad for site pass) As he opened his remarks Friday at a World AIDS Day summit at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, Republica

Salon.com (watch short ad for site pass)

As he opened his remarks Friday at a World AIDS Day summit at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said he was feeling a little more "comfortable" than he did the last time he shared a stage with Barack Obama. "We were both addressing the NAACP," Brownback explained. "They were very polite to me ... [but] I think they kind of wondered, 'Who's this guy from Kansas?' And then Barack Obama follows, and they're going, 'OK, now we've got Elvis.'"

Figuring their joint appearance at an Orange County evangelical church finally put the shoe on the other foot, Brownback turned to Obama and said, "Welcome to my house." The audience of evangelicals howled with laughter. But when Obama had the chance to speak a few minutes later, he returned to what Brownback had said: "There is one thing I've got to say, Sam: This is my house, too. This is God's house."

Everyone laughed again -- neither Brownback's opening nor Obama's comeback were offered with the rancor that a cold retelling of them probably suggests -- but the point had been made anyway. In Obama's eyes, at least, the Republican Party can no longer claim ownership of all things evangelical. Read on...

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