When asked whether life begins at conception and whether it was compassionate to let someone suffering end their life, Clinton gave answers similar to those she has given before, NBC/NJ's Athena Jones reports. "I believe that the potential for life begins at conception," she said. And on the end-of-life question: "Again, this is one of those incredibly challenging issues. You know, the Terri Schiavo case in Florida posed that for many people... I don't know that any of us is in a position to make that choice for families or for individuals, but I don't want us also to condone government action that would legitimize or encourage end of life decisions."
Clinton also mentioned Esther as a favorite biblical story, as she has before, saying Esther represented a strong woman. Another moment was when she was asked why she believed a loving God allowed innocents to suffer, and Clinton responded that she'd like to ask God about that.
During his turn at the Compassion forum, Obama also found himself having to explain his recent comment that he didn't want his daughters "punished with a baby" and also the statements of his pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan reports. On the comment that he had made in Johnstown during his six-day bus tour, Obama said that "all I meant was we want to prevent teen pregnancies. And what we don't want to do is to be blind to the possibility that kids will screw up, just like, surprisingly enough, we as adults screw up sometimes," he said. He said that abstinence should be taught to children but that kids need "enough understanding about contraception that they don't end up having much more severe problems because of a dumb mistake."
On the issue of Rev. Wright, Obama acknowledged the inappropriateness of his former pastor's comments, but claimed that they mischaracterized the essence of the man by having cable news "playing his greatest hits" over and over again. Obama also said, "Now, I have to say that, you know, in reports subsequently, there's been this notion that he was, by various terms, my spiritual adviser or my spiritual mentor. You know, he's been my pastor," Obama said.
Adding: "And what that means is, is that, you know, the ministries that have been built in that church community have been very important to me. It also means that there are areas where we've disagreed on. And, obviously, the most recent loop that's been playing -- Reverend Wright's greatest hits, so to speak are, I think, both a distortion of who he is and what the church has been about," he said.