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Second-tier Republican candidates will gather in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monday evening to discuss an issue for which their party has been under scrutiny in light of recent scandals: so-called values. The six participating candidates for the Values Voter debate had combined support from only 4% of Florida Republicans, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Front-runners Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney will not participate in the event. Giuliani will be in Fort Lauderdale Monday afternoon but will skip the debate. His camp announced that he will appear only at candidate forums that are organized by major television networks. Thompson also said he was limiting the number of debates he appears in because he didn't want to stand onstage like "a trained seal" with a line of other candidates.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas representative Ron Paul, Kansas senator Sam Brownback, Illinois politician and businessman John Cox, Colorado representative Tom Tancredo, and California representative Duncan Hunter have signed on to the event.
Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly will pitch questions on same-sex marriage, abortion, and judicial nominees, according to TheWashington Post.
A coalition of groups coordinated the event, including Schlafly's Eagle Forum, the American Family Association, the Free Congress Foundation, and Faith 2 Action.
"I predict the candidates who choose not to attend will regret the decision to snub us because they will not win without the values voting bloc," Janet Folger of Faith 2 Action said in the Palm Beach Post. (The Advocate)
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