Saturday afternoon, six GOP candidates participated in the Thanksgiving Family Forum which focused primarily on social issues surrounding the 2012 election. The forum was sponsored by The Family Leader and took place at the First Federated Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were also invited, however, both declined to attend.
Original Event Date: Saturday, November 19, 2011
Participants: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Santorum
Here is the entire video of the forum, moderated by pollster Frank Luntz. The actual candidate forum begins at about 30 minutes in if you jump ahead.
Report from the Des Moines Register:
Six Republicans vying to be their party’s nominee for president in 2012 met across a Thanksgiving dinner table on Saturday night for an unconventional discussion of their views and policy proposals.
The Thanksgiving Family Forum, held in a Des Moines church in front of some 2,500 social and religious conservatives, was an unusually freewheeling and philosophical discussion, touching on issues of morality, liberty and personal responsibility as well as hot-button issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Forum moderator Frank Luntz, the famed Republican message guru, challenged candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum with mostly open-ended questions, and didn’t hesitate to press them on particulars.
In a question about the 10th Amendment — a GOP favorite that leaves to the states powers not specifically given to the federal government — Luntz asked whether states could “tell the federal government no” on issues of morality. He directed the question initially to Cain, who is black, and referred to state segregation laws that were dismantled only through federal action.
Was the federal government justified in imposing a morally just law — ending segregation — on the states, even if it perhaps exceeded the 10th Amendment?
For Cain, the answer was something of a qualified yes: “The states can’t say no to the federal government if they’re wrong,” he said.
But Paul, the most libertarian-leaning of the Republicans in the field, immediately jumped in to disagree.
“The states definitely have a right to be wrong,” he said. “The states are supposed to correct it. But there are limits. That’s why we have a Constitution.”
The discussion was lively at times. Overall, Luntz did a decent job moderating the discussion and posed some provocative questions.