Potential GOP presidential candidates visit Iowa

by
March 8, 2011

BY MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) – Several Republicans mulling 2012 presidential bids descended on Iowa Monday to test their strength among social conservatives who hold the key to the state’s lead-off caucuses.

Whether any of them manages to stand out from the crowd hints at how a scattered and as-yet undeclared GOP field will eventually shake out. Five of the potential candidates took the stage for a forum at a church in the Des Moines suburb of Waukee, hoping to set themselves apart.

“I do believe we have an extraordinarily fundamental choice to make in this election,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, one of those who participated. “We are at a crossroads that we cannot hide from: What kind of country do we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?”

The forum hosted by The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition also included former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer.

They made their case to hundreds of activists starting to look at potential contenders for the 2012 election cycle. All five argued that they can be best trusted to follow the conservative path, and they went out of their way to talk about religion in a state where social and religious conservatives play a heavy role in GOP politics.

“The American dream is under attack, that’s the bad news,” Cain said. “The good news is we are on the attack. We have got to lead this nation from an entitlement society to an empowerment society. We must defend those principles this nation was founded on.”

Cain said he had no plans to run for president, but “was compelled” because the nation was on the wrong track.

Meanwhile, Gingrich said he’s “in the process of exploring” a presidential bid. “We’re all going to have to be on the same team after this is over,” he said.

Steve Scheffler, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said the event was just the beginning of the 2012 caucus campaign and few would be making commitments on candidates quickly.

“No one is going to make up their mind after tonight,” Scheffler said. “Most of them are coming from pretty similar positions.”

Activists likely are looking for a candidate who they think will actually carry out campaign promises after elected, he said.

“We’re looking for somebody with some backbone, who has a little iron in his spine,” Scheffler said.

Earlier Monday, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who sought the GOP nomination in 2008, spoke at three events scattered throughout Iowa and sponsored by The Family Leader.

To read more, visit: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9LQOTS01&show_article=1

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