ABC News’ David Wright and Sunlen Miller report: Fresh off a win in South Carolina, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., hit two Feb. 5 states — Georgia, and Alabama –- hoping to hit the trail with new momentum.
Obama chose a nondenominational church in Macon, Ga., for his first appearance on Sunday morning.
Obama told the Harvest Cathedral congregation that he relies on his faith, more so now, than ever, after his presidential run and a fierce battle last week in the South Carolina primary.
“You gotta have Christ in your life when you’re running for office all the time,” Obama said. “I know that the den of lions is tough.”
The church’s pastor read from Ephesians — which carried the message that a person’s destiny was determined long before they were born, and related that to Obama’s success and run for president. “You know, the person who does take that Oval Office, I’m telling you, before they were born, it was ordained to be a senator from Illinois, you were ordained before you were born."
Obama also appeared at a 9,000-person rally in Birmingham, Ala., where the crowd sang the gospel and danced as if in a lively church. “I know most folks were already in church today, so, I wont give a whole other sermon, and I won’t pass the collection plate, “Obama joked. Yet, he launched into an hour and four-minute stump speech.
Within the speech, Obama debunked the notion that had plagued him on the campaign trail in South Carolina — that the state was still divided over racial lines. Obama explained his big win there was proof that this election is more than just a drawing of lines. “It’s not between black and white -– people got confused,” Obama said. “It is a past issue versus a future issue.”
With a two-state win under his belt –- and as the race turns toward a delegate count -– the Obama campaign will aggressively look ahead to multi-state campaign days. When asked how this phase in the campaign would play for him — after benefiting from classic grass roots efforts in Iowa and South Carolina — Obama admitted that he had an uphill battle.
“It presents more of a challenge for us,” Obama responded, saying that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., name was more widely known to Americans. “We always knew at the outset that we were going to be underdogs in this campaign … So, it’s clear that Sen. Clinton has the advantage in a lot of these states. We expect them to do very well. But we’re gonna campaign and compete across the country.”
Obama heads to Washington, D.C. on Monday for the Sate of the Union Address, then hits the trail to Kansas and Missouri.