The following is from the May 28, 2008, edition of Reuters. SMU Political Scientist Matthew Wilson provided expertise for this story.

Obama and McCain both need abortion issue

By Ed Stoddard

DALLAS — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has one ace up his sleeve in his bid to woo disgruntled conservative Christians: his unflinching opposition to abortion rights.

His likely Democratic opponent in the November White House election, Barack Obama, firmly supports abortion rights.

Few other big issues cut so clearly across partisan lines in the United States, a point underscored by McCain and Obama's positions on it. And analysts say while both candidates must be careful, they may need the issue to stir their party's bases.

In McCain's case that would be the evangelical Christians who account for one in four U.S. adults and comprise a key base of support for the Republican Party – to such an extent that few analysts think he can win the presidency without them.

"Religious conservatives may not be wildly enthusiastic about McCain but they can point to his pro-life stance as reason to stay on board," said Matthew Wilson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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