Conservatives to seek consensus Republican candidate

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire Wed Jan 4, 2012 5:55pm EST

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MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A group of social conservative leaders are to meet in Texas this weekend to try to coalesce around a Republican presidential candidate and avoid a split, sources familiar with the meeting said on Wednesday.

The meeting was prompted by conservatives' desire to avoid what happened in 2008, when former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won Iowa but quickly faltered when he was unable to unite conservatives behind him.

This year, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has risen with much support from evangelical Christians to come within eight votes of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Iowa's caucuses on Tuesday.

Many conservatives are skeptical of Romney, believing he is not authentic, but conservative activists insisted the meeting was not about trying to unite around an anti-Romney candidate.

The meeting at a ranch near Brenham, Texas, is to include such social conservative leaders as Gary Bauer, president of the conservative group American Values, and James Dobson, the evangelical Christian leader who founded the Focus on the Family activist group.

"Social conservative leaders have met several times during the nomination battle to compare notes and ideas about various candidates," Bauer said. "Some of those conservative leaders have supported Mitt Romney. Some have supported Newt Gingrich. Some have supported Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. I believe all of those candidates are exceptionally better to lead this great nation, in contrast to the failed presidency of Barack Obama."

But Bob Vander Plaats, an Iowa social conservative leader whose endorsement of Santorum buoyed him in that state, said the goal of the meeting "needs to be to come together to coalesce around Santorum."

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (2)
ThinkFirst1 wrote:
Bachmann is out, Gingrich is broke and is far from a reliable conservative (look at his wild campaign spending on luxuries – Obama-like, and his sell-out to Dems over and over – ask conservatives who served when he was Speaker to know how far back that history goes), Paul is unelectable and wrong on many issues, Santorum is Ralph Reed’s candidate and unlikely to last long (and his history is hardly as conservative as his fad-candidate rhetoric).

That leaves Perry and Romney.

Perry has 11-years of increasingly-conservative chief executive leadership in Texas, and was reelected twice, compared to 4-years for Romney in MA, no reelection, Romneycare, running for various offices for most of 17 years, and flip-flops on every major issue.

Perry has only been in the race for 4 months, Romney 5 years. Perry made unforced errors early-on (likely due to aftereffects of major back surgery) then has been alternatively pummeled or deliberately ignored by the MSM, Clearchannel (Bain Capital-controlled), Drudge, and Fox (Karl Rove, Romney operative).

Perry can compare 2008-2012 records to Obama’s and win every time.

Perry has a personal life story and faith-walk to match that of Santorum (who knows what is true about Obama), and he has led Texas based on his faith – Santorum has been out of office for many years – so all he says is campaign rhetoric (he’s never been a chief executive so neither he nor we know if he’s even capable).

Perry has a Reaganesque way to describe America, if he can avoid errors and battle past the anti-Perry media, he can win for conservatives.

Jan 04, 2012 7:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
You mean a group of religious zealots don’t like Mitt Romney, the fact that he has been married to his high school sweetheart for 42 years, raised 5 boys who each graduated, got their own careers, got married, had children, that he hasn’t had a whiff of any scandal…Mitt IS the consummate family values man AND is the only one who can beat Obama.

Jan 04, 2012 9:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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