You have to give it to Ron Paul . He didn't try to dance around his position on the war, and stuck with his call to bring the troops home (to "protect our borders.") That wasn't selling with the FRC crowd, which has responded enthusiastically to other speakers' calls for a victorious end to the war. It's one of those -- er, sanctity of life issues. --Sarah Posner
Duncan Hunter just roused the crowd with a pledge not to make Israel "give one inch" of land, just after endorsing a preemptive strike by the U.S. against Iran. People in the audience started waving Israeli flags. Perhaps they had followed Hunter here from the last Christians United for Israel Night to Honor Israel that Hunter attended. -- Sarah Posner
James Dobson is right about one thing: Fred Thompson can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail. This was Thompson's grand opportunity to show this audience more than his Senate record, more than his affection for John Roberts or Tom Coburn , more than his dedication to the institution of marriage (twice), and more than his moment of awe when he saw his daughter's sonogram. That's baseline stuff for this crowd; they're looking for catchy phrases drawn on scripture and rhetorical venom for perceived enemies. Thompson delivered none of that. He doesn't know what he'd do in his first hundred days, he said, but knows that in his first hour, he "would go into oval office, close door and pray for the wisdom to do what is right." He might think that's a sufficient blueprint for a presidency, but even this audience appeared unmoved, and gave him only polite applause. --Sarah Posner
The world according to Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Jean Schmidt (panelists for "The 'Right' Women of the House"): Good: abstinence education. Bad: Gardisil. Good: Cord blood. Bad: Embryonic stem cell research. Good: Family Research Council. Bad: Emily's List. Good: Us. Bad: Nancy Pelosi. Really. There's not much more to it than that. -- Sarah Posner
Expected to drop out of the race later today in his native Kansas, Sam Brownback came to the Values Voters Summit this morning to give not a stump speech but a call to action. Without a mention of his expected withdrawal -- or the presidential race at all -- Brownback was a striking counterpoint to John McCain, who preceded him with a lackluster, passionless speech. McCain, who got a stony reception for his inclusion of war on terror detainees in his call to treat all life as sacred, seemed uninspired and even bored with his own overtold stories of being tortured as a POW. Brownback, who has been criticized by movement insiders for his own lack of passion on the campaign trail, was full of emotion on the stock anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage rhetoric and the comparison -- standard fare by now -- of "Islamo-fascism" to "atheistic communism." But it was his closing call to action that was intended to get his followers to vote -- even if not for him. “Thi s is our time. This is our...