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WHITE HOUSE

Obamas attend church across from White House

President Obama and his family attended a worship service Sunday morning at an Episcopal church just across the Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House where presidents frequently have visited.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia made the short walk across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church.

The sermon by the Rev. Luis Leon was based on the story of John the Baptist, who told the religious leaders he was neither the messiah nor the prophet, but a voice calling in the wilderness. Mr. Leon likened the story to the president and voters having mistaken expectations of what Mr. Obama realistically could accomplish. He urged the congregation to open its eyes not to what they want him to be or how they wanted him to change life in America but “to who he really is.”

The congregation laughed in amusement before the announcements as a young boy ran to the front of the church to get a good look at the Obamas.

The first family participated in Holy Communion before strolling back through the park to the executive mansion.

Mr. Obama has worshipped at St. John’s previously, including Easter services in 2009. He also has attended other churches in the city.

One of the church pews has a small brass plaque designating it as “The President’s Pew.” Church history claims that every president since the nation’s fourth chief executive, James Madison, has visited.

IOWA

Santorum, Perry say marital record matters

DES MOINES — Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Rick Santorum say a candidate’s fidelity to their spouse is a factor voters should consider, subtly distinguishing themselves from national poll leader Newt Gingrich.

Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, said: “If you cheat on your wife, you’ll cheat on your business partner. It’s a characteristic people look at.”

Mr. Perry and Mr. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, are both aggressively courting social conservatives and touting their family lives. “Certainly, it’s a factor, and it should be a factor when you’re electing a leader,” Mr. Santorum said.

Mr. Gingrich, who has been divorced twice and admitted past infidelity, was asked the question last and confronted it as he has throughout the campaign.

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