Federal Federal File

Articles of Faith

By Andrew Trotter — October 30, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A widely discussed new memoir that says the Bush administration used its faith-based initiative as a sop to win political support from the religious right, while making little attempt to provide promised funding, portrays Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings as part of that effort in her first-term role as the president’s chief domestic-policy adviser.

Author David Kuo, as a special assistant to President Bush from 2001 to 2003, helped craft plans to foster the participation of faith-based groups in federal efforts aimed at serving the needy. But, he says in Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, the White House lost interest in putting significant funding into such activities, even before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, shifted many federal budget priorities.

Mr. Kuo, who served as the deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, also says White House staff members, especially those in the office of political affairs, gave conservative Christian leaders “hugs and smiles” and then ridiculed them behind their backs. Karl Rove, who was Mr. Bush’s senior adviser at the time and head of the political-affairs office, has denied that characterization, and a White House spokesman said Mr. Kuo described the faith-based office as a success when he resigned in 2003.

Ms. Spellings participated in the political manipulation of the faith-based initiatives, Mr. Kuo contends.

“Everyone loved Margaret. It was hard not to,” he says in the book. “Her ‘aw-shucks’ demeanor belied her quick intelligence and a fiery political instinct.”

“Margaret listened cheerfully and said, ‘David, darlin’, you are doing a good job. Great job.’ Then lightly but seriously, ‘But David, please. Just get me a damn faith bill. Any bill. I don’t care what kind of bill. Just get me a damn faith bill.’ ”

Kathleen McLane, Ms. Spellings’ press secretary, said of that quotation, “Secretary Spellings doesn’t remember that specific conversation, but she frequently discussed her support for the president’s efforts to break down existing barriers and empower faith-based and community groups to help deliver assistance to Americans in need.”

Congress failed to pass the major faith-based bill the White House developed, but Mr. Bush adopted some of the same objectives by executive order.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 01, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal In Wake of Trump Assassination Attempt, Biden Calls for Unity and Investigation Gets Underway
President Biden condemns violence, the FBI searches for a motive, and Trump heads to RNC.
3 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa.
Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents after being struck by gunfire at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. The day after the attempted assasination of the Republican nominee for president, Trump arrived in Milwaukee ahead of the start of the Republican National Convention and President Joe Biden gave a prime-time address, saying "politics must never be a literal battlefied. God forbid, a killing field."
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal Project 2025 and the GOP Platform: What Each Says About K-12 in a 2nd Trump Term
A side-by-side look at what the two policy documents say on key education topics.
1 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Federal What the 2024 GOP Platform Says About K-12 and What It Would Mean If Trump Wins
We break down what the GOP's 2024 policy platform says about education.
7 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Federal Q&A Ed Research Isn't Always Relevant. This Official Is Trying to Change That
Matthew Soldner, the acting director of the Institute of Education Sciences, calls for new approaches to keep up with classroom tools.
5 min read
USmap ai states 535889663 02
Laura Baker/Education Week with iStock/Getty