|President Barack Obama: UK Telegraph|
ALBUQUERQUE-President Obama, speaking to middle-class Americans on Tuesday in his latest round of "backyard chats," opened up to a questioner about his Christian faith, as he touted his administration's record on education and the economy while warning that a Republican victory in upcoming elections would jeopardize progress in both areas.
Speaking to neighborhood residents in the yard of an Albuquerque family, Obama said the Nov. 2 elections "offer a choice on a whole range of different issues." But he said the Republicans' top priority is retaining $700 billion worth of tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, money that "we'd have to borrow . . . because we don't have it" - likely from countries such as China and Saudi Arabia.
He charged that Republicans "don't really have good answers" on how to pay for their economic plans. One of their proposals, he said, is to cut education spending by 20 percent, eliminating about 200,000 Head Start programs and reducing student aid for college for about 8 million students. He urged his listeners to think about "who's going to prioritize our young people" when they go to the polls in November.
In response to a woman who asked him why he is a Christian, Obama also offered some rare personal comments about his faith.
"I'm a Christian by choice," he said, noting that his mother "didn't raise me in the church" and that his family did not attend church every week.
"So I came to my Christian faith later in life," Obama said. "And it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead - being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me."
He said he also reached an "understanding that . . . Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that, you know, we achieve salvation through the grace of God."
(Click here to read the full story on the Washington Post website.)