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(Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke about issues of faith on Sunday as they tried to woo religious voters at a nationally televised "compassion forum."
Following are some of their quotes and comments.
* On abortion and life at conception - "I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. But for me, it is also not only about a potential life, it is about the other lives involved.
"And, therefore, I have concluded, after great ... concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, that our task should be in this pluralistic, diverse life of ours in this nation that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision. Because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society."
* On her personal faith - "You know, I have, ever since I've been a little girl, felt the presence of God in my life. And it has been a gift of grace that has, for me, been incredibly sustaining."
* On the environment - "When I think about the simple steps any one of us can take -- you know, turning off lights when one leaves a room, unplugging appliances, changing to compact florescent bulbs -- you know, my husband and I have done that
... we feel like we're making a small contribution to limiting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions."
* On poverty - "In my Judeo-Christian faith tradition, in both the Old and the New Testament, the incredible demands that God places on us and that the prophets ask of us, and that Christ called us to respond to on behalf of the poor are unavoidable."
* On abortion and life at conception - "This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it's very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? So I don't presume to know the answer to that question."
* On his personal faith - "You know, if I'm acting in an ethical way, if I am working to make sure that I am applying what I consider to be a core value of Christianity, but also a core value of all great religions, and that is that I am my brother's keeper and I am my sister's keeper, then I will be doing my part to move his agenda forward."
* On the environment - "We are going to put in place a cap-and-trade system that controls the amount of greenhouse gases that are going into the atmosphere. ... We've got to be less wasteful, both as a society and in our own individual lives."
"And having faith, believing that this planet and this world extends beyond us, it's not just here for us, but it's here for, you know, more generations to come. I think religion can actually bolster our desire to make those sacrifices now."
* On poverty - "We've got to shore up the mortgage market to make sure that we don't have millions of people who are losing their homes. We're going to have to, I think, change our tax code."
(Compiled by Ed Stoddard, editing by Jackie Frank))
To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http:blogs.reuters.com/trail08/