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Obama to name pastor to faith-based post

Jan. 29, 2009 at 10:13 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama plans to name pastor and political strategist Joshua DuBois to head the office of faith-based initiatives, religious leaders said.

The office, created by President George Bush by executive order during his first term, likely will have a broader mandate in the Obama administration, the leaders told The New York Times.

The White House declined to comment.

If appointed, the 26-year-old Pentecostal minister will lead the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which not only oversees distribution of grants to religious and community groups, but also seeks ways to involve the groups in addressing social issues, the Times reported Thursday.

DuBois handled religious outreach for the Obama campaign. He also was part of a Democratic group in the U.S. Capitol that focused on relationship-building among religious leaders, particularly evangelical Christians turned off by the Republican record on economic inequality, foreign policy and environmental matters.

DuBois received a master's degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He left Georgetown University Law School to work for Obama when the president was a U.S. senator from Illinois.

"I've been very impressed with this young man," said John Dilulio Jr., a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who was the first person appointed to the post. "He is smart. He is calm. He is steady, and I think he's very close to the new president. He'd be a good guy to do it."

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