Sunday, November 20, 2011

Iowa Christian Presidential Forum Riles Media

Six non-Romney presidential candidates spoke Saturday at the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa about many family issues including the sanctity of life and same-sex "marriage." The hours-long event was overtly Christian, which has caused the mainstream media to either hide the forum from the public, or to attack it, and its backers, as an affront to "the separation of church and state."

For background, read 2012: Obama vs. an Evangelical, or vs. a Mormon? and also read Presidential Candidates Address Christians in D.C. as well as Presidential Candidates: Abortion & Marriage Top Issues and take note that Media Prepare Anti-Christian Campaign for 2012

To see the full video of this most profound forum of the campaign to date, scroll down.

UPDATE 11/23/11: Iowa pro-family/pro-life leaders meet to anoint a non-Romney consensus candidate

-- From "Family Leader forum: Values, confessions in Iowa" by Maggie Haberman, Politico 11/19/11

The event, sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Leader — a group led by a longtime activist who played a key role in organizing for caucuses winner Mike Huckabee four years ago — marked an accelerated pitch to a pivotal caucus voting bloc. In addition to Gingrich, Cain and Perry, the table included Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

But missing was Mitt Romney . . .

Family Leader head Bob Vander Plaats, who last week said Romney was “dissing” the conservative base and predicted it could cost him the nomination . . .

Moderator Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster who was clearly pleased the candidates didn’t lob shots at one another as they have in the other televised debates, said he felt “like Dr. Phil” as he tried to draw confessions about regrets and personal failings out of the candidates at the subdued affair.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Well-choreographed Family Forum boasts several unscripted moments" by Shannon Travis, CNN Political Reporter 11/20/11

A gathering of six Republican presidential candidates and some 3,000 conservatives - most of them Christians - was marked as much by politeness and political posturing as by cheers, tears and jeers.

[The candidates] spoke about their values, ideas, sense of morality and the proper roles for religion and government in society.

Common themes were criticisms of government intrusion into family lives, an emphasis on individual liberties, a calling out of judicial "activism," and the need for greater economic freedoms.

[Moderator Frank] Luntz asked the candidates to describe a personal or professional experience that helped shape their faith and spirituality.

One by one the candidates articulated stories rarely heard on the campaign trail . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Republicans woo social conservatives in Iowa" by Thomas Beaumont, The Associated Press 11/20/11

At an event sponsored by an Iowa Christian group, the candidates tried at times to gain a political edge with potent Iowa conservatives. But some of the discussion turned uncharacteristically personal, with the would-be presidents tearfully revealing formative chapters that shaped their faith.

The format was a sharp departure from the 10 GOP debates that have already been held in the 2012 campaign. Instead of the rapid questions and timed answers of the televised debates, Saturday's forum was held around a large dining table on a stage with fall-themed decorations, aimed at resembling a family Thanksgiving dinner scene. Pollster Frank Luntz moderated the two-hour event, which often flowed conversationally.

Texas' two candidates, Rep. Ron Paul and Gov. Rick Perry, did not offer revealing chapters from their lives as the others did. Paul described his early life during the Depression in Pennsylvania, and Perry, his upbringing in rural west Texas. Perry also described feeling lost upon his discharge from the Air Force at age 27.

Santorum was the most aggressive in trying to establish political edge during the event, arguing that the president must be a cultural warrior pushing for social change that reflects the nation's Judeo-Christian heritage.

Despite the religious theme, the discussion nevertheless revealed deep divisions about the role of government in shaping the nation's culture, illustrated by the libertarian-leaning Paul's rejection of an activist presidency.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Republicans to court Iowa conservatives at Family Leader forum" by Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times 11/19/11

Saturday's Thanksgiving Family Forum is organized by a leading Iowa conservative, Bob Vander Plaats, and his group, the Family Leader.

Vander Plaats, a three-time gubernatorial candidate, founded Family Leader to be a galvanizing force for social conservatives ahead of the state's lead-off nominating caucuses. He also has his critics . . .

"In a lot of ways they’re not attacking Bob Vander Plaats, they’re attacking the one I serve," he said, according to the [Des Moines Register].

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Controversial conservative Bob Vander Plaats and his organization The Family Leader" by Dave Price, WHO-TV13 (Des Moines) 11/18/11

Last year, Vander Plaats helped oust three state Supreme Court justices after the ruling allowing same sex marriages. But earlier this month his group's efforts to help a Republican candidate win a special election Senate race this month in eastern Iowa ended in a lopsided loss.

[Vander Plaats says] "This organization is not a Republican subsidiary. We're very focused on issues that affect the family."

Vander Plaats wants this forum and his group to be the voice for Iowans who believe in lifelong heterosexual marriage, no more abortions and no more homosexuality which the Family Leader labels "distorted sexual behavior".

Figuring out who's paying to keep the doors open and lights for the group is really tough. You can find a list of some of the donors but the way this is all structured, to find everybody is impossible. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure records show a wide range of donations from $5,000 from the Family Research Council and $5 from a woman, Kathleen Hedger, in Fort Madison, along with donations from hundreds of others with amounts in between. Vander Plaats said, "It's people who believe in our issues, believe in our cause, are motivated to cut the checks."

Those checks totaled more than a million dollars in contributions last year.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Vander Plaats' Culture War Pledge Asked of Presidential Candidates

Full video of Forum:

UPDATE 11/20/11 Video of NBC News reporting zero on the issues content of the forum, instead focusing solely on "crying candidates:"

UPDATE 12/4/11 - Mike Huckabee (FOX News) Presidential Forum, Complete Video: