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Obama's inaugural pastor pick, Rick Warren, displeases the left

December 18, 2008 |  5:48 am

August 16, 2008 Democrat candidate Barack Obama and Dr. Rick Warren at the Saddleback Forum in Lake Forest California

(UPDATE added below.)

Well, it took long enough. Here much of the political nation has been sitting and standing around waiting for Democrats to get annoyed with their new standard-bearer for not standing way over there. And start howling.

But instead Barack Obama has consistently positioned himself since Nov. 5 in the center, where the new White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, learned the hard way in the Clinton era is the best place to be for a new administration. All these centrist Cabinet members. Nary a peep.

But yesterday's announcement of the program for his official Inauguration Jan. 20 was the last straw. Now the howling.

It seems Obama has OK'd Sen. Dianne Feinstein's idea of having Dr. Rick Warren actually give the inaugural invocation. As in the prayer. In front of the Capitol. On international television. Just before the Democrat takes his presidential oath as No. 44.

(UPDATE: Gil Duran of Feinstein's office has been in urgent touch to correct, change and expunge the impression that she had anything to do with picking a prayer-giver such as Warren with whom she disagrees on issues affecting the gay and lesbian community. He says she merely "respects the President-elect's prerogative to select the cleric to deliver the invocation."

(So it sounds like she is running for governor in 2010.)

Rick Warren. THE Rick Warren from the mega-church Saddleback with four-campuses and some 20,000 members in Lake Forest. The one who supported the successful Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

Gay rights activists are not supporting the inaugural program, to say the least. Some calling it a "genuine blow against LGBT rights."

The Huffington Post this morning has a hard-hitting, satirical, fictitious conversation on the choice between Obama and Feinstein.

People for the American Way called Warren's choice "a grave disappointment."

Warren, you'll recall, held the widely viewed Saddleback Forum last August, interviewing each candidate separately on a variety of moral questions. Here's The Ticket's live-blog that day.

The left has little choice now the election is over and its apparent angry reaction may actually help solidify support for Obama elsewhere as he appears to reach across the church aisle too.

Bill Clinton had his Sister Souljah moment. This could be an Obama Brother Rick moment.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times