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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 19, 2011
GOP candidates discuss faith, views at Family Leader forum

Republican presidential candidates, from left, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich listen to moderator Frank Luntz, right, during the Thanksgiving Family Forum sponsored by The Family Leader, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES — Rogette Huntington wanted very badly to fall for someone at church last night. But she didn’t.
Huntington, a public school teacher from West Des Moines who describes herself as “conservative across the board,” was one of an estimated 3,000 people who packed First Federated Church in Des Moines for the Family Leader’s Thanksgiving Family Forum.
They heard six GOP candidates talk about faith, same-sex marriage and abortion in a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination where much of the chatter has revolved around the economy and unemployment.
Huntington watched and listened as Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, businessman Herman Cain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota sat around a table with pollster Frank Luntz and discussed matters both earthly and divine.
The forum was a chance for the Republican aspirants to woo the Christian conservative vote that helped give Mike Huckabee an Iowa caucus win four years ago.
The night included tears from Cain and Santorum, very little bickering and quite a bit of agreement on some issues, although there were some differences in how those similarities would play out. Ron Paul, for example, said he doesn’t support abortion, but thinks it’s an issue best left to the states while the other candidates — all anti-abortion — said it could be handled at the federal level.
Paul said same-sex marriage should be handled at the local level.
Santorum and Bachmann, by contrast, said they supported a federal amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman. Santorum added that Iowans would never have same-sex marriage if it were left up to the voters, which brought applause from the crowd.
Courts — particularly the federal courts — came under withering attacks by the candidates. Gingrich said he would like to abolish the court of Judge Fred Biery for preventing a school valedictorian from praying at her high school graduation speech in Texas. Santorum one-upped him by saying he’d abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bachmann said Congress should limit the cases that courts hear.
Luntz went beyond policy questions, asking the candidates about their faith and their failings.
Perry shared the story of his upbringing in a small rural Texas town, where he dreamed about becoming a veterinarian until he ran into some tough biology classes, so he joined the Air Force. When he finished his service, Perry said, “I was lost, I could not understand what was missing out of my life. In every person’s life, there is a hole that can only be filled by Jesus.”
Cain said he became a Christian at the age of 10, but it was when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer that he felt God’s presence. He choked up a few times while he shared a story of leaving the hospital with his wife after the diagnosis.
“I said ‘I can do this.’ She said ‘we,’” Cain said.
For Huntington, no one candidate was able to knock it out of the park.
“I liked some, but really impassioned? No,” she said. “What I am really impassioned about is getting the thing that we have occupying our White House out the door.”
But for Ron Gaznow, who attended with his wife, Barb, the evening helped clarify the field in his mind.
“I’m not going to say who that is, I’ll keep it to myself,” he said. “But to hear them tonight did help.”
Just as the absence of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hurt him, Barb Gaznow said.
“I think it did,” she said.

7 Responses to GOP candidates discuss faith, views at Family Leader forum

  1. Mark Twain himself could not have created a more memorable set of comically egocentric, arrogant, falsely pious, and generally loathsome characters. Romney demonstrated excellent tactical judgement in being absent from this festival of seriously flawed personalities.

    If there is a god, she will surely direct one of these offensive clowns to run as a third-party candidate. That will split the GOP vote (presumably, semi-conventional Romney will end up as the official Republican candidate) and all but guarantee Obama’s re-election. Anybody recall H. Ross Perot?

  2. Remember Ralph Nader? Mwah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

  3. America if this is all we can muster were in trouble, a bunch of cry baby bed wetters and spoiled brats. If it was left up to me I would send them all back to day care. What a waste of tax payers money,this is the problem.

  4. A reporter once asked Mark Twain, if you could ask god one question what would be that question. Mr. Twain replied; when god was creating man kind, was he disgusted with the monkeys.

  5. “Huntington, a public school teacher from West Des Moines who describes herself as ‘conservative across the board’…”

    So much for the widely-spouted contention that only wild-eyed Communists are teaching our kids.

    I heard a sound bite from Grifter Bob this morning, crowing about how he’d started a movement.

    I wish he’d finish his movement in private, slink back to northwestern Iowa, and stay put.

    These folks are running for the Presidency of the U.S., and they apparently know nothing about either freedom of (and from) religion or civil rights. What a fiasco!

  6. Thank you Herman Cain for loving your God and your wife and your family! We are behind you all the way.

    • These, then, are among the qualifications for being President—even if Mr. Cain would have a hard time finding the US on a map with both hands and a flashlight?

      Many vicious dictators throughout history have loved their gods, their wives, and their families.

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