It has taken a man of God, perhaps, to do what nobody else has been able to do since the general election season began: Get Barack Obama and John McCain together on the same stage before their party conventions later this summer.
The Rev. Rick Warren has persuaded the candidates to attend a forum at his Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, Calif., on Aug. 16. In an interview, Mr. Warren said over the weekend that the presidential candidates would appear together for a moment but that he would interview them in succession at his megachurch.
Word of the forum came as a leading conservative Christian, James C. Dobson, signaled that he might reverse his position and endorse Mr. McCain, The Associated Press reported.
"I never thought I would hear myself saying this," Mr. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said for radio broadcast on Monday. "While I am not endorsing Senator John McCain, the possibility is there that I might."
The forum still falls short of the kind of face-to-face, town-hall-style debates that Mr. McCain, of Arizona, has called for this summer before formal debates scheduled for this fall.