WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama sought to emphasize his Christian faith on Thursday, telling a key election-year voting bloc that he prays every morning and has crafted elements of his economic policies in line with Jesus' teachings.
Obama, who rarely goes to church and speaks far less about his religion than his White House predecessors, told about 3,000 people at a National Prayer Breakfast that the challenges facing the United States required him to listen to God, avoid "phony religiosity," and pursue "bold action" in the face of resistance or indifference.
"I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion," Obama told the annual gathering at a Washington hotel, also saying that pastors periodically stop by the Oval Office, phone him and send emails so they can pray together.
"I don't stop there. I'd be remiss if I stopped there, if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends," he said. "I must try to make sure that those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation."