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December 2, 2002

DiIulio Backers: Bush’s Faith-Based Plan “Too Extreme”

Listed in: Separation of Church and State, NJDC News, Press Releases

Washington, DC: According to today's Washington Post, John J. DiIulio Jr. - the former head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives who resigned in 2001 - leveled strong criticism at his former White House colleagues in an Esquire article released yesterday. The Post reports that DiIulio commented, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything - and I mean everything - being run by the political arm." The article also notes that while some have blamed DiIulio for the fact that no faith-based legislation has yet been passed by Congress, "Sources close to DiIulio respond that Bush proposed a version that was too extreme in order to please House Republicans."

"Finally, we have supporters of the former director of President Bush's faith-based office saying what we all know to be true: President Bush pushed forward the most extreme version of faith-based legislation possible. In fact it was so extreme and went so far to appease the right-wing of the House Republican caucus that it could not be passed into law," said National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Ira N. Forman. "It says a great deal about President Bush that he would risk what the Post called 'one of Bush's six core campaign promises' in an effort to placate the most conservative, extreme elements of the Republican Party.

"In the wake of the 2002 elections, there has been a stampede among the press and pundits to canonize this President. DiIulio's statements make clear that this White House is driven almost exclusively by politics, to the detriment of good public policy," Forman added.