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The weekend before thanksgiving, Colorado Springs-based evangelical group Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage will host a Republican presidential candidate forum in Des Moines centered on social issues. Focus on the Family staffer Tom Minnery said the hosts of the event don't plan to "get into theology as such" because there wouldn't be enough time for the candidates to "solve theological questions." Primary campaign frontrunner Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, has yet to commit to the event.
Members of the media refer to him as a "stunt candidate." He didn't appear on stage in South Carolina last week for the Republican presidential debate because he failed to hit the required support threshold-- 1 percent in five national polls. He won't pull down financial backing from the conservative oil billionaire Koch brothers, nor win over the far-right readers at the RedState blog. Yet, set against the uninspiring candidacies likely to be waged by the men so far lined up to challenge Barack Obama for the White House, Fred Karger's candidacy could be the most influential, if he stays with it. A moderate conservative former Reagan aide, longtime political consultant and civil rights activist, he is also unabashedly gay-- the first ever openly gay GOP candidate for president.
Conservative celebrity Sarah Palin and right-wing blogger Erick Erickson are just two of the high profile far-right leaders disparaging Speaker of the House John Boehner for the budget deal he hammered out with President Obama and Democratic Senate leaders last week. Colorado "liberty movement" talk radio hosts are unhappy. Colorado Tea Party freshmen Congressmen Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner as well as Colorado Springs conservative Doug Lamborn broke with the Speaker and voted against the budget. But Boehner can't go back on the deal and he won't likely win over the Tiptons and Palins and Ericksons with a lecture on the delayed gratification of budget cutting and the difference between outlays and spending. On the contrary, it would just make him seem more establishment. So instead, Boehner followed the lead of GOP presidential hopefuls and took a provocative and distracting stand against gay rights.