The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Undervaluing Values Voters?

Remember "values voters," the 22 percent of people according to exit polls who said "moral values" were their most importance issue, 80 percent of whom voted for Bush? In this election, they're so far not feeling the love from the Republican front-runners. A group of social conservatives organized a forum that will take place Monday, Sept. 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. where candidates will take questions from conservative activists such as Phyllis Schlafly on issues like gay marriage, abortion and judicial nominees. Organizers say all the 2008 Republican candidates are coming--except, of course, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, who have cited scheduling conflicts or not yet said they would attend the event.

"We would have liked them to come, but if they have chosen not to, they have chosen that values voters are not good enough for them," said Karen Golembe, a Florida conservative activist who is leading the media outreach for the event.

The debate is unusual in that it is three hours long. But it's the subject matter itself that many candidates are avoiding discussing in public forums.

Eight years after then Governor George W. Bush declared Jesus Christ to be his favorite philosopher, the four leading Republican candidates rarely speak about their personal faith while campaigning. When Thompson was asked about his church attendance last week, he said he attends when he's home visiting his mother, but is not a regular churchgoer. Romney actually served in a leadership position in his church during the 1980's, but he doesn't focus much on his faith, possibly because many voters are not wild about Mormonism.

Romney has, however, aggressively courted religious conservatives in the early states and has a list of religious advisers and supporters on his Web site that includes Jay Sekulow, a conservative lawyer who was a liaison between conservative religious groups and the White House during the conformations process for Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Though he's skipping this Florida debate, Romney will attend a event in October organized by the Family Research Council called the Values Voters Summit. He'll have company in October: both Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback are attending both "values voters" events and have spoken often about their faith while on the campaign trail.

--Perry Bacon Jr.

Posted at 1:35 PM ET on Sep 14, 2007
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Fred's going to have some problems with values voters with his line about going to church only when visiting mom (and he doesn't seem to ever visit - bad news for the mom voters.) The Values Voters debate was far too long and sometimes cringe-inducing.

There was a lot of red meat for the Christian fundamentalist audience it was intended for - Roy Moore asking about displaying the 10 Commandments and Terry Schaivo's brother asking about laws protecting people in his sister's position, and oh yeah, a former gay - but non fundies like me weren't that thrilled.

Alan Keyes made a triumphant return and shouted the same lines he did in 2000. It was like a time warp.

The Mainstream Media will eat this up, or ignore it.

Posted by: nhpoliticalguy | September 17, 2007 11:44 PM

Its cool. I say what needs to be said on the ONLY CONSERVATIVE MUSIC CD on the

Someone had to do it!

Posted by: wondertt | September 16, 2007 5:51 PM

mythmakers all. when will the One stand up and admit that they DO NOT KNOW!?

Posted by: jett1 | September 15, 2007 2:09 PM

Southern Baptists shouldn't be skittish about supporting someone who tries to follow First Century Christianity . . Mitt Romney's church, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is often misunderstood . . Some accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . helps to clarify such misconceptions by examining early (First Century) Christianity's theology relating to baptism, the Godhead, the deity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) adheres to Early Christian theology more closely than other Christian denominations.

Posted by: bot1 | September 15, 2007 4:01 AM

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