Bush Prays, and Is Prayed for, Say Republicans

President Bush (search) prays, he consults scripture; he even plans services on Air Force One when he isn't able to attend church on the ground.

So says a new documentary that points out that yes, Bush is a religious man, and many of his core supporters find that one of his most endearing traits.

"I think what they like about this man — and what seems to scare other people — is his faith," said David W. Balsiger, producer of "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House." (search) "For a large segment of the voting population — probably 60 million — faith plays a very large role," Balsiger continued. "They want to know that the man will make some decision through prayer, through spiritual counsel."

Polls seem to support that assertion. The Pew Forum on Religion and the People (search) polls have repeatedly found that a majority of Americans like their political leaders to talk about their faith, a statistic that the Republican Party has seized upon in the last year.

Another statistic they have seized upon is one that has found that the more frequently voters go to religious services, the more likely they are to vote Republican.

And though the Christian conservative (search) movement is hardly marching in full force on the Republican National Convention, Republicans of faith are easily found in New York this week, and make no bones about saying that Bush is one of them.

"I think our president is a Christ-centered, Godly man and he is a leader for times such as these," said Pearl Floyd, an African-American Christian, who serves as a county commissioner in Gastonia, N.C.

Floyd has had the pleasure of meeting the president on several occasions, she told FOXNews.com at the GOPAC-sponsored "National Prayer Breakfast" Wednesday morning. "He calls me Pearl and says he's my friend," she said.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who spoke at the event, said Bush is "someone who prays every day," and people constantly approach him, here and abroad, saying they are praying for him.

"I hear it everywhere in America," he said. "That is the greatest help this president gets, it's the prayers from you."

Balsiger said he expects more than one million DVDs of his film, which documents the role of faith in the president's life and in his leadership, to be in circulation in the next few months, and he hopes it will "go head to head" with the DVD release of Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" on Oct 5.

"It ended being a great tie-in. It provides a great alternative for people who want to know what George Bush is really like," he said.

"The main mission (of this film) is to show a side of George Bush that says he is different from other contemporary presidents. He's not reluctant to talk about his faith," Balsiger said.

Aside from distributing the film through secular channels like Wal-Mart, Balsiger said it will be available at thousands of churches, religious organizations and bookstores. It will also be shown at several film festivals between now and the election.

"A lot of religious believers are asking whether their leaders are just pandering to the beliefs of people or are they really walking the talk," he added. "I think this film indicates that he does walk the talk."

But while folks like Balsiger and others, like former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts (search), who led the prayer breakfast Wednesday, say faith is key to the party, this aspect has hardly been high profile among the major events and speakers at the convention this week.

Experts suggest that convention delegates, part of Bush's loyal base, know who they are going to vote for, and much of the convention is geared toward targeting more moderate swing voters who identify with economic and national security issues rather than religious and social issues linked more closely to the conservative wing of the party.

"I think the difference is in the past, the Christian conservative base wasn't happy with the nominee, and they were dissatisfied with the party, so the party had to reach out to them," said John McLaughlin, Republican pollster.

"This president has their support and right now their objective is to register more conservatives and make sure these conservatives go and vote, and that's going to happen," he said. "They're not complaining, you're seeing them lining up and saying, what do we need to do? On the other hand, the party understands that we're battling for the middle right now."

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a life-long Roman Catholic, has said he is also a man of faith, but has contended that faith is a personal matter and that he does not want to be a spokesman for any church or faith.

At the same time, Democrats say attempts to appear centrist at the Republican convention don't disguise the true nature of the conservative right.

"Underneath a thin veneer of compassionate slogans, there's a divisive, negative agenda that is driving the Republican Party and has controlled this White House and their policies for the past four years," said Mary Beth Cahill (search), campaign manager for Kerry. "The Republican Party has miscalculated again if they thought they could keep their true extreme agenda under wraps while middle class families have been suffering from it all along."

Democrats held their own prayer reception at the Democratic National Convention, albeit a smaller one. They said faith has been "hijacked" by Republicans, and their issues of faith include opposing war and eradicating poverty.

"Our faith has been stolen and it's time to take it back," said Jim Wallis, a Christian activist who runs "Call to Renewal" in Washington, and appeared at the Democratic prayer breakfast in Boston.

"Democrats are clearly extremely frustrated by the idea that religion is equated with conservatives," said Steven Waldman, founder of BeliefNet.com, a Web site dedicated to religious issues, at the July convention. "And they're flailing around, trying to figure out what to do about it. The Democrats know they have to be more welcoming."

Gene Riccoboni, a Manhattan layer who considers himself a traditional Catholic, said his faith surely plays a role in his political support — and Bush is his man. He likes the fact that faith helps to guide Bush's decisions as a leader.

"Personally, I would prefer a man of faith," he said. He believes that most people who consider themselves religious can be found on the same side of political issues, like abortion and stem-cell research. "It's ideological," he added.