Obama's Prayer for Washington: 'Civility'

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President Obama headlined the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, but parts of his message did not sit well with some of those who came to pray.

In sharp contrast to what Americans have come to expect of Washington politics, the event started out with hearty handshakes and warm embraces between Republicans and Democrats.

They all joined together to acknowledge the power of prayer.

"Let us pray that we will all continue to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "Let us pray that amid our differences, we can continue to see the power of faith."

CBN News Reporter Chris Mitchell attended Thursday's prayer breakfast.  Click play for his comments, following John Jessup's report.

President Obama used his address to highlight how faith and prayer have played a part in doing good for earthquake victims in Haiti, but his political agenda was still front on center on issues, like health care.

"We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on earth," Obama said.

At the prayer breakfast, the President also highlighted issues like gay marriage.

"Surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are," Obama said.

Some who attended the breakfast felt the President missed an opportunity by taking on a partisan tone and not talking more about his faith.

"That's by and large what this breakfast is about, not to demonstrate policy convictions, it's to demonstrate how God works in your life irrespective of political convictions," Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said.

But others, like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, support Obama's theme of civility and serving others.

"Frankly, it's through faith. We're going to accomplish this goal of civility, it's a good message," McDonnell said.

Still, Santorum believes the president could have made a bigger impact if had he spelled out where his faith and politics intersect.

"He might actually be more effective in getting policy proposals through if people understand more what motivated him to do those things," Santorum said.

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John Jessup

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.