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Faith Used for Political Gains


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A former member of President Bush's faith-based initiative claims the program was used for political purposes.

David Kuo says the president didn't fulfill his promises to put enough money into the initiative.

In a CBS 60 Minutes interview, the former Bush staffer talked about the explosive charges in his new book Tempting Faith.

For more than two years, Kuo was deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. An office, he says, was used as political tool to court religious voters.

Even as the president's aides ridiculed evangelical leaders calling them "nuts, goofey and out of control."

"Absolutely, you name the Christian leader, and I've heard them mocked by serious people in serious places," said Kuo.

Kuo did not name names, but the white house is disputing reports that Bush advisor Karl Rove ever made such remarks.

"The nuts quote he was asked about, if there are additional ones. I'd be happy to run it by him," said Tony Snow White House Press Secretary. "But Karl made the same point I did. No, these are my friends. I don't talk about them like that. No."

In the interview, David Kuo says President Bush failed to follow through on his campaign proposal to spend $8 billion on the poor and has provided just a fraction of the funding.

"In the first two years, I think, it was $60 million…. when you hold it up to a promise of $8 billion. I don't know how good I am at math, but that's less than one percent of a promise," said Kuo.

"It all comes down to the fact that if the president wanted it, he would have gotten it."

The White House says what Kuo is saying seems at odds with what he wrote in a letter to the president on leaving the White House that praised his faith based accomplishments.

"He said, 'ultimately, however, it's your staff's keen awareness of your unwavering support for this initiative that's made the difference,'" said Snow.

Kuo told 60 Minutes it was he who suggested to Former Bush political director Ken Mehlman to hold 20 faith based events to help elect key republicans.

The former conservative speechwriters who has worked for conservatives like John Ashcroft, and William Bennett and liberals like Ted Kennedy is questioning what role Christians should have in politics.

"I think particularly evangelical Christians need to take a step back from politics. People are being manipulated. Good people saying send to this Christian advocacy group and that's the answer. It's not the answer."

It's hard to say what the political fallout will be from Kuo's book. But it's sparking controversy over one of the programs that president bush hopes will be a key part of his legacy.

CBN News talked with former Faith-Based Director, Jim Towey who worked with David Kuo about his book. Watch the interview now.