From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic and John Bentley:
Both Barack Obama and John McCain held separate meetings with various religious leaders today - Obama with with evangelical, Protestant, and Catholic leaders; McCain with Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios.
Obama's campaign said his closed door meeting in Chicago this afternoon is part of an ongoing faith outreach program. The press was not invited to the small meeting of approximately 30 participants. According to one campaign aide, some participants are not supporters and would not be meet with Obama if the media were present.
The meeting, which the campaign says has been planned for weeks now, includes Bishop Phillip Cousin, Rev. Stephen Thurston, and Dr. T Dewitt Smith. The participants include those from Chicago and outside of Chicago.
The meeting is intended to brief religious leaders on the state of the campaign as well as address concerns from the community. "This is not part of the church selection process," Campaign Strategist, David Axelrod said referring to Obama's recent departure from Trinity United Church of Christ.
Earlier today, John McCain met with Archbishop Demetrios today, the current archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which makes him the highest ranking Orthodox Christian prelate in the western hemisphere. They met at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in New York City.
The archbishop does not endorse political candidates, but he and McCain spoke about religious freedom, social justice, and the importance of voting, according to Father Mark Airey.
After their meeting, McCain was asked about not signing a letter asking for the release of a political prisoner in Turkey. He didn't answer directly, but said he was "in favor of religious freedom all over world." Archbishop Demetrios also chimed in, explaining that he did not bring up the issue of the political prisoner, that McCain did, and that McCain was "very much interested in religious freedom."