And he suggests he was spared for a greater purpose: :I can't help but feel like that to some extent, and I'm not a fatalist," said McCain. "I think it's remarkable that I've been able to survive so much and to have the opportunity to do the right thing. I do think we make our own choices, but certainly I think I was meant to serve a cause greater than my self-interest."
Among McCain's big trouble spots: young evangelicals. The Washington Post's Krissah Williams Thompson: "[Jonathan Merritt] is part of a growing group of young born-again Christians standing on one of the many generational breaks surfacing in this election cycle. Merritt still shares his parents' conservative convictions on abortion, a core issue that forged Falwell's Moral Majority and brought evangelicals firmly into the Republican camp, but he says they are no longer enough for him to claim the Republican Party."
From the other direction: "Mr. Obama, who is pro-choice, is trying to give such voters a home," Jon Ward and Ralph Z. Hallow report in the Washington Times. "In the months after the  election, Democrats vowed to try to peel those voters away from Republicans by talking about values and by trying to convince evangelicals that they should judge Democrats on issues such as fighting poverty and AIDS and protecting the environment and human rights."
What McCain wants to move: "Republican McCain tops Democratic rival Obama 68% to 24% among self-described white evangelical voters, according to a Pew Research poll released Wednesday," USA Today's David Jackson and Martha T. Moore report. "In 2004, President Bush got 78% of the evangelical vote, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls."
Obama gets a boost during the broadcast: "Arguing it's time for 'a better Christian witness in politics,' the Evangelical group, Matthew 25 Network, is preparing to make a $20,000 television ad purchase touting its support for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during Saturday's compassion and leadership forum at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church," ABC's Tahman Bradley reports. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/08/christian-group.html
It's going to get personal: "I'm going to ask them questions about character, competence, about values, vision, virtue, about their convictions in leadership, about their experience. And I'm going to deal with their personal life -- because character matters. Their personal life does matter as a leader. God says so," Warren tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.
Should Obama be pleased with the event regardless? "The joint appearance of McCain and Obama at Saddleback is only one event in a long political campaign. But it is also a significant antidote to the poison that the religious right injected into American politics," Alan Wolfe writes for The New Republic.
(It will be hard to get inside: "For the past couple of weeks, the general public had been told via the church's Web site that ticket information would be forthcoming," write Alejandra Molina and Greg Hardesty of the Orange County Register. "Then last week, the message changed and said a limited number of tickets would be available this Wednesday. Monday night, the message was revised again, saying all tickets had been distributed.")