Seven Presidential Candidates Participated in the Values Voter Debate

The Values Voter Debate took place last night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and included seven of the eleven Republicans now seeking the nomination for President of the United States: former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee; Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas; Representative Duncan Hunter of California; Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado; Representative Ron Paul of Texas; Chicago businessman John H. Cox, who was making his first debate appearance; and former UN ambassador Alan Keyes, who just got into the race last week.

The four Republican candidates not attending were Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, and their absence was quite noticeable — and made all the more conspicuous by the fact that podiums were set up for them on the stage even though the organizers knew the four “top-tier” hopefuls would not be at the event. Even worse (that is, more idiotic), questions were posed to the missing candidates followed by a long, awkward silence.

I think that having a debate focused exclusively on family values was a great idea, but ridiculing those who did not attend seemed to me to be in incredibly poor taste, especially since those values being put forth during the event were Christian ones. The feelings of resentment and hostility directed at the absent candidates will probably work against the ValuesVoter group as it will make those who did not attend the forum even less likely to participate in any future events put on by that organization.

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