Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

WASHINGTON – With Sen. Barack Obama being treated like a political rock star, in part because of the ease with which he talks about his Christian faith, Sen. Hillary Clinton, another likely candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has hired her own “faith guru.”

Her pick is Burns Strider, the head of religious outreach for the House Democratic Caucus since 2005, according to the Hotline, the online daily political arm of the National Journal.

Strider, originally from Mississippi, was raised a Southern Baptist. He and his family now attend Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Washington, according to the report.

Clinton, a lifelong Methodist, has been talking more about her faith. She is part of an exclusive women’s prayer group. She joined while she was first lady. She is also a member of the Senate prayer group.

Polls list Clinton as the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. But Obama, another Democrat from Illinois, has been getting rave reviews over his appearances – many of which have allowed him to discuss his faith easily and openly. He was recently a featured speaker at an AIDS conference convened by Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Rick Warren.

Obama has also assigned a staffer to faith outreach, according to the report. In addition, other Democratic and progressive groups have begun to focus staff members on outreach to religious voters — many of whom had abandoned the party in the past 20 years.

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