Draft Obama or silence him?

Dick Durbin urges his Senate colleague to run.

Published November 28, 2006 3:35PM (EST)

Barack Obama seems to be moving ever closer to a White House run, and he's getting a push now from fellow Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. As the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports, Durbin has just sent an e-mail message to his friends and supporters asking them to join him in urging Obama to run in 2008.

"With a unifying leader like Barack Obama in the White House, I know that we can overcome the deep divisions that cause such unnecessary friction to arise between red and blue, both in Washington and in our nation as a whole," Durbin writes. "That is why I hope you will join me in urging Barack to run for president."

Obama will get a test of his unifying abilities Friday, when both he and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback are scheduled to speak to the conservative Christian flock at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California. The peg is a global AIDS conference, and Obama's people surely see the event as a way for their man to prove his crossover appeal. What he's up against: Antiabortion groups like the National Clergy Council and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, which are demanding that Warren rescind his invitation to Obama on the ground that Christians should "never work with" those who "support the murder of babies in the womb."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Richard J. Durbin D-ill.