The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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 Obama Video Clips > 2007-08-19 - Presidential  Debate - Des Moines IA

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on now. We've got a question -- we've got an e-mail question from Seth Ford of South Jordan, Utah. And he said, "My question is to understand each candidates' view of a personal God. Do they believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented or lessened?"

OBAMA: I believe in the power of prayer. And part of what I believe in is that, through prayer, not only can we strengthen ourselves in adversity, but that we can also find the empathy and the compassion and the will to deal with the problems that we do control.

Most of the issues that we're debating here today are ones that we have the power to change.

We don't have the power to prevent illness in all cases, but we do have the power to make sure that every child gets a regular checkup and isn't going to the emergency room for treatable illnesses like asthma.

We may not have the power to prevent a hurricane, but we do have the power to make sure that the levees are properly reinforced and we've got a sound emergency plan.

And so, part of what I pray for is the strength and the wisdom to be able to act on those things that I can control. And that's what I think has been lacking sometimes in our government.

We've got to express those values through our government, not just through our religious institutions.

(APPLAUSE)

 

August 19, 2007 Des Moines, Iowa

ABC News in conjunction with the Iowa Democratic Party held a debate streamed on This Week moderated by George Stephanopoulos.