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Catholic group launches $9.7M campaign against Biden targeting swing-state voters

The Hill logo The Hill 9/15/2020 Justine Coleman
a man wearing a suit and tie: Catholic group launches $9.7M campaign against Biden targeting swing-state voters © Getty Images Catholic group launches $9.7M campaign against Biden targeting swing-state voters

A Catholic voters group launched a $9.7 million campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, targeting Catholic voters in swing states.

Biden, if he is elected, would be the country's second Catholic president and the first since John F. Kennedy.

The group attacking Biden, CatholicVote, is a conservative faith-based advocacy group that takes issue with Biden's position on abortion, among other issues.

"Joe Biden's record makes clear he will not protect our Catholic values or defend our way of life," CatholicVote President Brian Burch said in a statement. "For Catholics who cherish the Faith and their freedom to live it, a Biden presidency represents an existential threat."

The group is launching a $350,000 digital ad campaign in Pennsylvania and Michigan and a video ad.

The video ad focuses on Biden's "radical stance on abortion," with the narrator saying "Joe Biden would force American Catholics to pay for abortions, sacrificing his Catholic values to kneel before the leftist mob."

After criticism last year, Biden backtracked from his previous support of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion under government programs like Medicaid.

The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

The organization also released "The Biden Report for Catholic Voters," which covers Biden's career "from a Catholic perspective" and highlights where he stands on issues like "sanctity of life," religious liberty, judges, education and the dignity of work. It plans to send a condensed version of the report to 5 million "active Catholic voters" in swing states.

CatholicVote's ad campaign was released the same day that the Biden campaign announced its 36 national co-chairs of Catholics for Biden, including Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

The Biden campaign launched Catholics for Biden earlier this month, with more than 1,000 people attending as the campaign described how the former vice president's plans align with "common good Catholic values"

"That vision is rooted in the ideals of loving our neighbor as ourselves, being our brother's and sister's keeper, caring for the poor and vulnerable, repairing the world around us, sweeping down walls of oppression and injustice, and ensuring everyone has the chance to reach their God-given potential," John McCarthy, the campaign's deputy political director, said in a statement.

Patrick Carolan, the Catholic outreach director for Vote Common Good - an advocacy group aiming to stop a Trump reelection - told The Hill that CatholicVote "is trying to promote the false narrative that there is anti-Catholic bias in the U.S."

"Perhaps when Catholic Vote issues a similar statement condemning Trump's anti-Catholic actions they will have more credibility," he said.

CatholicVote previously called on the Democratic candidate to condemn the "rising climate of anti-Catholicism" in the country.

Biden's religion has come under attack from the Trump campaign as the president seeks to maintain support among evangelical Christians. Several speakers during the Republican National Convention last month criticized how Biden practices Catholicism, prompting the former vice president to call the jabs "preposterous."

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