Obama will sign prayer proclamation today

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is marking today's National Day of Prayer -- but not publicly.

The president is signing a proclamation about the day in private. There'll be no public ceremony involving prominent clerics, lawmakers or prayers, as there was when George W. Bush was in the White House.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says it's not that Obama thinks the observance was getting politicized, as some critics charge. Aides say he's merely returning to the practice that prevailed before Bush took office -- of signing and issuing a proclamation.

Gibbs says Obama is well aware of the role prayer plays in the lives of Americans -- because he begins each day in private worship.

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