Republicans Fight Tears at Thanksgiving Forum

Gingrich, Santorum, Cain open up about religious struggles
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2011 9:41 PM CST
Newt Gingrich speaks during the Thanksgiving Family Forum sponsored by The Family Leader as former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain looks on, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – The tears flowed today as Republican presidential candidates discussed their religious faith before an audience of social conservatives in Iowa, the AP reports. The free-flowing Thanksgiving Family Forum, sponsored by an Iowa Christian group, gave candidates a chance to open up—Newt Gingrich about his inner demons, Rick Santorum about not fully loving his disabled daughter, and Herman Cain about his cancer diagnosis in 2006. "Before my wife and I were about to get into the car, I said, 'I can do this,'" Cain said, his eyes watering. “She said, ‘We.’"

Cain covered his face, and the audience erupted into applause, reports the Huffington Post via the Des Moines Register. Asked about her Christian awakening, Michele Bachmann described the uncertainty and anguish of her parents' divorce. Rick Perry and Ron Paul were less personal when asked the same question. Santorum was the most aggressively political candidate, arguing that the president must push for Judeo-Christian values. Paul disagreed, saying that "the goal of government isn't to mold society and mold people. The goal of government is to preserve liberty."

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